The Second Continental Congress adopted the first United States national flag on June 14, 1777. The flag had 13 stars in a field of blue, seven red stripes and six white stripes.
As new states joined the Union, an additional star and an additional stripe was added to the flag.
In 1818 Congress passed the Flag Act that limited the number of stripes on the flag to seven red stripes and six white stripes. This “7-6” arrangement could be used to remind citizens that the country was founded in 1776.
If a new state joined the Union, then a new star would be added and the new flag would be officially presented on Independence Day, July 4. Alaska was recognized as the 49th state in 1959 and Hawaii was recognized as the 50th state in 1960.
In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson declared that June 14 would be National Flag Day.
In 1941, President Harry Truman signed legislation to officially designate June 14 as Flag Day. This legislation did not make the day a federal holiday. But all Americans are encouraged to fly the flag on June 14. (Wilson also proclaimed the Star Spangled Banner as the national anthem in 1916, but Congress did not designate it as the national anthem until 1931.)
When I was growing up in Illinois, I was told that the United States flag always flew higher than any other flag. When I moved to Texas, I noticed that the Texas flag was flown at the same height as the federal flag. One of my grandchildren explained that Texas is different than the other states because it was not a territory that became a state. Texas was a republic that joined the United States, so its flag flies at the same height. He learned this fact in the Texas history class that is taught to all students in Texas junior high schools. This history class and the knowledge of the state’s history might explain why so many citizens are proud to be called Texans.
One more thing… When Jenny Dawley went to Casey’s recently, the butcher congratulated her on her retirement. She asked how he knew she’d retired. He said he’d read about it in Positively Naperville. She knew it had to be my May column, so thanks for reading and for congratulating Jenny. She loved the warm wishes she’s received from so many people.