For June, we thought it would be fun to give you some interesting facts about our very own Stars and Stripes!
- Congress adopted the Stars and Stripes as the American flag on June 14, 1777. The first official version of the flag (1777) displayed 13 stripes and 13 stars, for the 13 original colonies.
- For a while, the U.S. added stripes and stars to the flag when welcoming new states. When Kentucky and Vermont joined the union, the flag took on two more stars from the original, so that from 1795 to 1818, 15 stripes and 15 stars graced the flag. Anticipating a crowded field of stripes, lawmakers decided to honor each new state with a star, and leave the stripes at the original 13, after 1818.
- The current flag, with 50 stars and 13 stripes, was designed in 1958 by a 17-year-old high school student, Robert G. Heft, of Lancaster, Ohio. President Dwight D. Eisenhower chose his design out of 1,500 entries.
- The colors of the flag have important meanings. Red symbolizes hardiness and valor, white symbolizes purity and innocence, and blue represents vigilance, perseverance, and justice.
- In July 1969, Neil Armstrong placed the first U.S. flag on the moon, as part of the Apollo 11 mission, the first manned landing. Five more Apollo moon landings—from missions 12, 14, 15, 16, and 17—resulted in five more flags being planted on the surface of the moon.
- “Old Glory” was the nickname of a specific U.S. Flag — that owned by sea captain William Driver. He was given the flag by his mother and other women in his hometown of Salem, Massachusetts. He named it “Old Glory” upon seeing it flying on his ship’s mast in 1831 and continued to display it outside his home. The name later went on to become synonymous with any American flag.
- On May 30, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson issued a presidential proclamation establishing Flag Day as the anniversary of the Flag Resolution. On August 3, 1949, President Truman signed an Act of Congress that designated June 14 of each year as National Flag Day.