Happy Flag Day! Today is basically the birthday for Old Glory. The magnificent red, white, and blue.
When the American Revolution broke out in 1775, the colonists weren’t fighting united under a single flag. In June of 1775, the Second Continental Congress met in Philadelphia to create the Continental Army—a unified colonial fighting force—with the hopes of more organized battle against its colonial oppressors.
Realizing that flying a flag similar to the British flag was demoralizing, George Washington turned his efforts towards creating a new symbol of freedom for the soon-to-be fledgling nation. On June 14, 1777, the Second Continental Congress took a break from writing the Articles of Confederation and passed a resolution stating that “the flag of the United States be 13 stripes, alternate red and white,” and that “the union be 13 stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation.”
It is widely believed that Betsy Ross, who assisted the Revolutionary War effort by repairing uniforms and sewing tents, made and helped design the first American flag. However, there is no historical evidence showing she contributed to Old Glory’s creation. It was not until her grandson William Canby held an 1870 press conference to recount the story of her contribution that the American public learned of her possible role.
In 1885, Bernard Cigrand, a small-town Wisconsin teacher, originated the idea for an annual flag day, to be celebrated across the country every June 14. That year, he led his school in the first formal observance of the holiday. Cigrand, who later changed careers and practiced dentistry in Illinois, continued to promote his concept and advocate respect for the flag throughout his life.
In 1916, well over a century after the flag was created, President Woodrow Wilson marked the anniversary of the flag's decree by officially establishing June 14 as Flag Day.