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Five Facts About Flag Day and the American Flag

Five things to know on June 14, 2011.

In honor of flag day, what does the American flag mean to you?

To read more about the origins of Flag Day, visit USFlag.org.

Flag Facts

  1. Flag Day most likely started June 14, 1885, according to USFlag.org, when B.J. Cigrand, a teacher in Wisconsin, arranged for his students to celebrate the "Flag Birthday." George Balch, a New York teacher, organized Flag Day ceremonies for his students on June 14, 1889, which was later adopted by the State Board of Education of New York. In 1891, the Betsy Ross House in Philadelphia, PA also celebrated Flag Day on June 14, and after decades of other celebrations, President Woodrow Wilson officially proclaimed Flag Day a national American holiday on May 30, 1916.
  2. Capt. William Driver, of Salem MA, first called the flag "Old Glory," in 1831 after he was given a 24-star version before leaving on one of his voyages.
  3. , Patch associate regional editor, previously prepared an article about flag etiquette that is worth re-reading.
  4. The U.S flag appears backward on the right sleeve of U.S. Army uniforms because, based on Army Regulation 670-1, "Wear and Appearances of Army Uniforms and Insignia," the full-color flag replica "is worn so that the star field faces forward, or to the flag’s own right. When worn in this manner, the flag is facing to the observer’s right, and gives the effect of the flag flying in the breeze as the wearer moves forward."
  5. Our Flag, which was published in 1989 by the U.S. House of Representatives, quotes Charles Thompson, past secretary of the Continental Congress, saying the following about the flag in the "Great Seal" of the United States: "The colors of the pales (the vertical stripes) are those used in the flag of the United States of America; white signifies purity and innocence, red, hardiness and valor, and blue, the color of the chief (the broad band above the stripes), signifies vigilance, perseverance and justice."

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