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Celebrate the Flag

Photo of the American flag by Bin Lee

Image description: The sun shining through the American flag. Photographed by Bin Lee.

On June 14, 1777, the Continental Congress approved the design of a national flag. In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation declaring June 14th National Flag Day. In 1949, Congress officially declared June 14th as National Flag Day, acknowledging President Wilson’s proclamation.

American Memory from the Library of Congress explains the history of the flag design:

According to legend, in 1776, George Washington commissioned Philadelphia seamstress Betsy Ross to create a flag for the new nation. Scholars debate this legend, but agree that Mrs. Ross most likely knew Washington and sewed flags. To date, there have been twenty-seven official versions of the flag, but the arrangement of the stars varied according to the flag-makers’ preferences until 1912 when President Taft standardized the then-new flag’s forty-eight stars into six rows of eight. The forty-nine-star flag (1959-60), as well as the fifty-star flag, also have standardized star patterns. The current version of the flag dates to July 4, 1960, after Hawaii became the fiftieth state on August 21, 1959.

Learn more about the American flag and the protocol for flying the flag.