First official flag of the United States.

June 14, 2012, marks a signal, but little noticed anniversary in the history of our Republic: In Philadelphia, on 14 June, 1777, the Continental Congress passed a resolution that the official flag of the new nation that, in time, would come to be known as the United States of America should display thirteen stars and thirteen stripes; in addition, the same resolution also declared that the colors of the new flag should be red (for strength and courage), white (for purity), and blue (for steadfastness, vigilance and justice). While the look of the American flag has changed as additional states joined the Union, our flag's instantly recognizeable design (along with its core symbolism) has remained largely unchanged over the wide span of years that now separate the struggling nation of 1777 from the continent-wide world power that the United States is today.

The survival and expansion of the United States, and the system of government that it continues to represent, has come at a sometimes fearful price in blood and treasure. And for this reason, the flag of the United States, nicknamed "Old Glory", has come to occupy a special place in the hearts of many of America's citizenry. As evidence of the flag's special place in American life, it is only necessary to look back on the nation's near and distant past.

In the decades following the American Revolution, a small but gradually increasing number of communities began to commemorate the date of the resolution with locally-mounted ‘Flag Day’ ceremonies. On 30 May, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson declared June 14th officially to be ‘Flag Day’ throughout the United States. Finally, in 1949, 172 years after the Continental Congress first debated and approved its flag resolution, Congress passed and President Harry S. Truman signed the Act of Congress that legally designated June 14th as ‘Flag Day’.


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