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Why is Flag Day celebrated?

June 14th is Flag Day, a holiday to celebrate the adoption of the first American flag. We took a look at why the holiday is celebrated in the US.

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Why is Flag Day celebrated?
Carmen Mandato AFP

Those around the US may be curious where the origins of Flag Day stem from.

During the American Revolutionary War, the Second Continental Congress passed a motion determining the first flag that would be used to represent the new nation. The decision was made on 14 June 1777 and in 1916, President Woodrow Willson established the date as Flag Day.

A few decades later the US Congress passed a law that allows US presidents to proclaim an observance of the holiday. Cities and towns across the United States have planned parades and other celebrations for most of the twentieth century.

Quincy, Massachusetts, which has held a parade on Flag Day since 1952, continued the tradition this year. On 12 June, the small New England town hosted the 70th Annual parade which featured “bands, floats, color guards, specialty units and plenty of flag-waving kids.”

Will Joe Biden declare the observance of Flag Day?

Yes. On 11 June, the White House released a presidential decree declaring the week of 14 June as Flag Week, with events planned to celebrate. The White House called on leaders of all federal buildings and citizens to display the flag to commemorate the holiday.

President Biden reminded those in the US of all the places the flag has been flown in the quest for the US to live up to its founding creed of creating a more perfect Union. From the Moon to Mars, from Gettysburg to civil rights protests, the flag “serves as a reminder to us, and to the world, that America stands for and strives for the promise of freedom, justice, and equality for all.”

The First US Flag

Some may recall from their grade school years that the first US flag was designed by seamstress Betsy Ross. Out of more than seventeen submissions, Ross’ flag was chosen for how its simple design was able to capture the spirit of the revolution. The simple design looks very similar to the one used today with one notable exception -- the number of stars. At the time of its creation, thirteen stars were used to represent each of the founding colonies that fought in the Revolutionary War.

As more states were added to the Union, so was a star. The most recent star to be added represents Hawaii, which became a state in 1959.