Saturday, June 14th, is Flag Day. This day is meant to reflect on the true meaning and history of the American flag. Our forefathers stood up for freedom and liberty, creating the United States of America. The flag represents this struggle for independence. Our American flag has long exemplified the spirit of those who lost their lives in battle, as well as those who fought valiantly and survived. As a former teacher and a history enthusiast, Senator Farley would like to share a few Flag Day and flag facts.
Legend states our first flag was sewn by Betsy Ross after meeting with Continental Congress members George Washington, Robert Morris and George Ross. The Continental Congress, in 1777, decided the new nation should have its own flag instead of using the British Union Jack. The flag had 13 stripes and stars to represent the 13 colonies. Over the years, the stars represented states and as more states were added to the Nation, the flag had to be updated. Incidentally, in 1812 the flag had 15 stars and 15 stripes to represent the original states plus the new states of Kentucky and Vermont -- this was the flag that inspired Francis Scott Key to write the “Star Spangled Banner” poem during the War of 1812 with the British. The poem was put to music to become America’s national anthem. Today, there are 13 stripes for the original colonies and 50 stars for all of our great states.
There were some public ceremonies honoring the flag, but it wasn't until 1877 that the national flag was honored by the requirement that it be flown at government buildings. In 1890, North Dakota and New Jersey required their schools to fly the flag daily. The first official Flag Day was observed in Philadelphia in 1893 and New York followed suit by proclaiming June 14th as Flag Day in 1897. In August 1949, President Harry S. Truman signed an Act of Congress declaring June 14th as Flag Day.
Senator Farley has paper American Flags available for constituents to obtain for the holiday. For information, call his office at 455-2181.