Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Facts About the United States Flag on Flag Day, 2011; Two Teachers Lead the Way; Old Glory 'Goes to the Mattress'!

Flag Timeline
1885: A Wisconsin schoolteacher named BJ Cigrand, had the idea of an annual day to celebrate the United States flag. The Fredonia Public School, District 6 chose June 14 which was the 108th anniversary of the official adoption of The Stars and Stripes, as 'Flag Birthday'. The teacher promoted the observance of the day throughout his life.

1889: A New York City kindergarten teacher named George Balch, planned 'flag day' ceremonies for his students and his ideas were later adopted by the State Board of Education of New York.

June 14, 1891: The Betsy Ross House in Philadelphia held its first Flag Day celebration.

June 14, 1892: The New York Society of the Sons of the Revolution, celebrated Flag Day.

April 25, 1893: Colonel J Granville Leach, historian of the Pennsylvania Society of the Sons of the Revolution, suggested that the Pennsylvania Society of Colonial Dames of America, adopt a resolution requesting the mayor of Philadelphia, others in authority and all private citizens to display the Flag on June 14th. Leach went on to recommend that thereafter the day be known as 'Flag Day'.

May 8th, 1893: The Board of Managers of the Pennsylvania Society of Sons of the Revolution unanimously endorsed the action of the Pennsylvania Society of Colonial Dames.

1894: The governor of New York directed that on June 14 the Flag be displayed on all public buildings. With BJ Cigrand and Leroy Van Horn as the moving spirits, the Illinois organization, known as the American Flag Day Association, was organized for the purpose of promoting the holding of Flag Day exercises.

May 30th, 1916: Inspired by these three decades of state and local celebrations, Flag Day was officially established by the Proclamation of President Woodrow Wilson.

August 3rd, 1949: President Truman signed an Act of Congress designating June 14th of each year as National Flag Day.

Betsy Ross and the Flag
According to sworn affidavits from Betsy Ross' grandson and other family members:  In 1777, Betsy Ross (formerly Elizabeth Griscom), a widower and an upholster, was visited by three men: George Washington, Robert Morris, and George Ross (an uncle of her late husband). Washington had a folded piece of paper in his inside coat pocket which was a sketch of a flag with thirteen red and white stripes and thirteen six pointed stars. Washington asked if Betsy could make a flag from the design. Betsy responded: "I do not know, but I will try."

The Betsy Ross flag. 
As the story goes, Betsy suggested changing the stars to five points rather than six. She showed them how to do it with just one snip of her scissors. They all agreed to change the design to have stars with five points. The flag was probably made within the year.

On May 29, 1777, she was paid a large sum of money from the Pennsylvania State Navy Board for making flags.

On June 14, 1777, Congress adopted the Stars and Stripes as our official national flag.

Flag Trivia
Old Glory:  Was a specific flag owned by Captain William Driver made with 24 stars and 13 red and white stripes representing the original 13 colonies: Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Georgia, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maryland, South Carolina, New Hampshire, Virginia, New York, North Carolina and Rhode Island. Old Glory traveled with Driver on his ship and circled the globe twice before retiring with Driver in Nashville. The flag was hidden away inside Driver’s bedspread in Nashville, when Tennessee seceded from the Union. When the war was over, Driver joyously ripped open his bedding to an astonished group of patriots to be proudly displayed for all to see. Sadly, due its fragile state and incredible historical and sentimental value, Old Glory’s last show was at the Tennessee State Museum in 2006. It now lives in the Smithsonian.

Official Colors: Thanks to our friends at Pantone, the red, white and blue stripes are strictly defined as Dark Red (Pantone 193 C), White (Pantone safe), and Navy Blue (281 C).

Current Design: Robert Heft, an 18 year old high school student, designed the flag we know today and was  given a “B-“ for his efforts. The chagrined student challenged his teacher to give him a better grade (an "A")  if his design proposal was accepted by Congress. A presidential proclamation in 1958 officially adopted Heft's design and so he earned the higher grade!

Flag Protocols
  • Our flag should never be “dipped” to any person or thing, except in the case of a naval ship signaling to a foreign country’s ship. 
  • If our flag is harmed in any way, it must be disposed of by burning. 
  • The flag must not touch the ground, but need not be disposed of if dropped by accident. 
  • At night, the flag must be illuminated. 
  • The US flag must not be used on any item designed to be disposable. 
  • There are 6 US flags currently stationed on the moon and were placed there by Apollo 11, 12, 14, 15, 16 and 17. 
  • When folded properly, the US flag is shaped like a triangle with only the stars showing. 
  • It takes 13 folds to fold the flag, the same number of original colonies.
Different flags through the years
  • The original flag had 13 red and white stripes with a Union Jack in the upper left corner. 
  • There was, for a brief time, a US flag with 15 stars and 15 stripes, made to welcome Kentucky and Vermont. This 15 stars and stripes version, however, inspired Francis Scott Key to write “The Star Spangled Banner” in 1814.
  • The US government reverted to the 13 stripe model as the new version of the flag looked too cluttered. 

No comments:

Post a Comment