All Americans celebrate the birth of our country on the Fourth of July, but did you know that the flag has a special day of its own? June 14th was officially declared by President Woodrow Wilson in 1916. While not an official federal holiday, the date was confirmed by an Act of Congress in August of 1949. June 14th was chosen to commemorate the adoption of the flag as the Flag of the United States which took place on that date in 1777.
One of the oldest continuing Flag Day parade takes place each year in Fairfield, Washington. Fairfield has been celebrating with its annual parade since 1910. Quincy, Massachusetts is another popular location to view a Flag Day parade, celebrating its 65th annual parade this year. The largest parade, however, takes place each year in Troy, New York, with over 50,000 people on hand to enjoy the festivities.
- Each color of the flag has meaning. Red stands for courage, blue means vigilance and justice, and white represents innocence and purity.
- There are thirteen stripes which represent the thirteen original colonies which fought for freedom from British rule.
- There is one star for each state in the United States, so the flag has changed over the years as new states joined the Union. To date there have been 26 different versions of the U.S. flag.
- Flag design changes take place on the Fourth of July following the admission of a new state to the Union.
- Most people believe that the Betsy Ross design of thirteen stars in a circle was the first official flag, but it was actually a staggered pattern and was adopted in 1777.
- There are rules for displaying and caring for the flag. The flag must never touch the ground and if it’s displayed at night, it must be illuminated.
- No flag pattern becomes obsolete and all flag designs are legal and can be flown.
- There are six American flags planted on the surface of the moon.
- Flying the flag upside down is a sign of distress.
Patriotic Americans all over the country display the flag on their property. While this shouldn’t be controversial, there are actually home owners’ associations which ban this practice. This is extreme, but most associations do have rules and regulations about how the U.S. Flag can be displayed by home owners. It’s important that you understand the rules in your community so that you can fly the colors with pride.
Flying the flag can add interest to your property if you are selling your house. A tasteful display can allow you to stand out from the competition. The manner in which you choose to show your patriotism will vary based on your property, home and location.
Displaying the red, white and blue does not necessarily require the flag itself. Banners and other decorative additions can provide a celebratory look which is especially attractive around national holidays. Place banners and colorful circles under windows and around porches to showcase the architectural interest of the property and show your national spirit.
The flag can also be attached directly to the home by suspending it above the door or off of an upstairs deck.
Erecting a flagpole in your front yard should be considered carefully. The best application would be a location on a large piece of property. The flag should be taken down at night unless you have outdoor lighting which highlights the flag.
If you do want to display the American Flag on your home, be prepared to do it correctly. There are a few rules to help guide you. You certainly do not want to disrespect the flag by displaying it incorrectly.
- Remove the flag during inclement weather and at night, unless illuminated.
- If you can lower the flag to half-staff, do so when appropriate. Other than national orders, Memorial Day, September 11th and December 7th (Pearl Harbor Day) are recommended days for half-staff.
- When displaying the U.S. Flag with other flags, it should be flown to the observer’s left.
- When suspending the flag, the blue section should be in the upper left.
The United States has flown as the Stars and Stripes since 1777. It has sailed aboard ships all over the world and been erected on the moon. It has flown into battle and presided over national mourning. Flying the United States Flag on your property is one way to show your patriotism. Finding the appropriate method is personal taste, but this year celebrate Flag Day on June 14th by displaying Old Glory.