Monday, June 14, 2021, is Flag Day, an annual holiday that celebrates the history and symbolism of our American flag. The official American flag was adopted by the Continental Congress on June 14, 1777, in the midst of the Revolutionary War. The Declaration of Independence required the adoption of an American flag because each colony or special interest had its own flag prior to that time.
The origins of the Stars and Stripes are part of American folklore. Many believe that Betsy Ross was the actual designer and personally sewed the first flag, but there is no definitive proof of that. Other folklore reflects that the flag was first flown in battle during the Revolutionary War at the Battle of Cooch’s Bridge in 1777. The first American flag was designed to represent the 13 original colonies with 13 white stars on a blue field and 13 alternating red and white stripes. The colors used in the flag represents hardiness and valor (red); white for hope, purity, and innocence; and blue for the color of heaven. The 13 stars aligned in a circle represent equality among the colonies, and the blue rectangle symbolizes unity.
The U.S. Flag Code is an official set of guidelines (not laws) that dictates how a flag should be flown in order to show it the respect and honor it deserves. Here a few examples of those guidelines: When the flag is hung vertically on a wall, window or door, the blue section should be to the observer’s left. In a procession, the flag should be to the right of any other flag, or in a line of other flags, in front of the center of that line. The flag should be hoisted briskly and lowered ceremoniously. The flag must be folded in the correct manner, and there is a six-step process that is strongly recommended.
Flag Day provides all Americans an opportunity to appreciate this special and unique nation that we call home. Showing respect for our flag ensures an “esprit de corps” or common spirit or feeling of pride inspiring enthusiasm, devotion and strong regard for our great nation.