On June 14, Americans celebrate the adoption of the first national flag. Also known as the “Stars and Stripes” or “Old Glory,” the first American flag was approved by the Continental Congress on June 14, 1777. In 1818, after 5 more states joined the Union, Congress passed legislation fixing the number of stripes at 13 and requiring that the number of stars equal the number of states.
In 1983, President Ronald Reagan proclaimed Flag Day with these words:
Two years after the Battle of Bunker Hill, the Continental Congress chose a flag which, tellingly, expressed the unity and resolve of the patriots who had banded together to seek independence. The delegates voted “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.”
Two centuries later, with the addition of thirty-seven stars, this flag still symbolizes our shared commitment to freedom and equality. It carriers a message of hope to the downtrodden, opportunity to the oppressed, and peace to all mankind.
As challenges face our Nation today, the “Stars and Stripes” continues to remind each of us of the sacrifices and determination which built this Nation. It signals the great land of opportunity that our forefathers carved out of the wilderness and gave their lives to make free so many years ago.
Now it is our responsibility to remember the great price that has been paid to keep our flag flying free today and our privilege to ensure that it will keep flying free for future generations.