By: Jeffrey Lapin

2013's Flag DayToday, June 14, 2013, is Flag Day, a day to remember and celebrate our national Flag. It was on June 14, 1777, that our first official flag, “Stars and Stripes,” was designated. Flag Day is not an official federal holiday but has recognized by Act of Congress and Presidential Proclamation since 1949. Flag Day celebrates a birthday with the United States Army, which was officially formed two years earlier in 1775. Celebrate Flag Day by displaying your flag, reciting the Pledge of Allegiance and singing the Star Spangled Banner.


On June 14, 1777, the Second Continental Congress set forth the fundamental design of the United States Flag. The entry in the journal of the Continental Congress 1774-1789 Vol. Vlll 1777 reads:

Resolved that the flag of the thirteen United States be Thirteen stripes alternate red and white: that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation.

While the red and white are designated, there is nothing in the resolution about how to lay out the blue or the stars. The common belief is that Betsy Ross actually sewed the first flag. This only verification of this comes from her grandson in 1870. Scholars cannot find any definitive proof of who actually designed the first flag.

Our current flag was designed by Robert G. Heft, who was 17 years old at the time and did as a history project. His teacher gave him a “B-” for the project. However, this was changed to an “A” when President Eisenhower signed Executive Order No. 10834 on Aug. 21, 1959,, adopting Heft’s design as the new American Flag.

U.S. Flag

There are both statutes and executive orders that govern the colors, size, decoration, how it is to be displayed, destroyed as well as Flag etiquette for United States Flags.



Several people played instrumental roles in the establishment of Flag Day. Bernard J. Cigrand is generally recognized as the “Father of Flag Day.” In 1885, he held the first recognized formal observance of Flag Day at the school he taught at in Waubeka, Wisconsin.

In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson issued a presidential proclamation calling for a June 14 Flag Day commemoration. However, it was not until 1949, that Congress and the President signed legislation about Flag Day. The current statute, 36 USC 110, reads:

(a) Designation.-June 14 is Flag Day.
(b) Proclamation.-The President is requested to issue each year a proclamation-

(1) calling on United States Government officials to display the flag of the United States on all Government buildings on Flag Day; and
(2) urging the people of the United States to observe Flag Day as the anniversary of the adoption on June 14, 1777, by the Continental Congress of the Stars and Stripes as the official flag of the United States.

Although Flag Day is celebrated nationally, it is not a federal holiday. Only one state, Pennslyvania, recognizes Flag Day as an official holiday.

Source: Frederick N. Rasmussen/ The Baltimore Son: A half-century ago, new 50-star American flag debuted in Baltimore 


Since 1949, every President has issued the Proclamation declaring June 14 as Flag Day. In his Proclamation  this year, President Obama stated, in part:

When proud patriots took up the fight for independence, they came together under a standard that showed their common cause. When the wounds of civil war were still fresh and our country walked the long road to reconstruction, our people found hope in a banner that testified to the strength of our Union. Wherever our American journey has taken us, whether on that unending path to the mountaintop or high above into the reaches of space, Old Glory has followed, reminding us of the rights and responsibilities we share as citizens …

Read the full Proclamation: Flag Day and National Flag Week, 2013


Here are some facts that you may not have known about our flag or Flag Day:

  • The flag’s original design remained the same from 1777 to 1795.
  • The only casualties at Fort Sumter were flag-related.
  • The U.S Flag is the third oldest original flag still in use.
  • There are six flags on the moon.
  • The Nickname, “Old Glory,” refers to a specific flag owned by Captain William Driver.



There are no official ways to recognize Flag Day. If you have a flag, display outside your home. There are two things that most Americans know that specifically refer to our Flag: The Pledge of Allegiance and The Star Spangled Banner. It would be appropriate to recite the Pledge and sang our national anthem this Flag Day 2013.

Pledge of Allegiance

I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the
United States of America,
and to the Republic for which it stands,
one Nation under God, indivisible,
with liberty and justice for all.

Star Spangled Banner

Oh, say can you see by the dawn’s early light
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars thru the perilous fight,
O’er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore, dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe’s haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o’er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning’s first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines in the stream:
‘Tis the star-spangled banner! Oh long may it wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion,
A home and a country should leave us no more!
Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps’ pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave:
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war’s desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav’n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: “In God is our trust.”
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!


The Army recognizes its birthday on June 14, 1775, when, by act of the Second Continental Congress, it was “officially” formed.

The Birthday of the U.S. Army: June 14



We at Lapin Law Offices are proud to be Americans and we salute our flag this Flag Day 2013. We also wish a very happy birthday to the U.S. Army, which has protected us for over two centuries. 

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