On June 14, 1777, the Second Continental Congress, while also writing the Articles of Confederation, passed a resolution that gave the United States its first American flag.
The resolution stated that “the flag of the United States be 13 stripes, alternate red and white,” and that “the union be 13 stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation,” according to History Channel.
It wasn’t until 1916 that President Woodrow Wilson officially established June 14 as Flag Day. Then in 1949 President Harry Truman signed an Act of Congress designating June 14 of each year as National Flag Day, according to USFlag.org.
The idea to celebrate Flag Day is believed to have come from a small-town Wisconsin teacher, BJ Cigrand, in 1885, according to USFlag.org. He encouraged his students to celebrate “Flag Birthday” on the 108th anniversary of the official adoption of The Stars and Stripes.
As time went on the practice grew in popularity and became what it is today.
As you celebrate Flag Day, here are some fun facts about the Flag Code, according to History Channel:
• Unlike setting an intact flag on fire, flying one upside-down is not always intended as an act of protest. According to the Flag Code, it can also be an official distress signal.
• Despite the preponderance of “patriotic” gear ranging from tee shirts to swimsuits to boxer shorts, the Flag Code stipulates that the Stars and Stripes should not appear on apparel, bedding or decorative items.
• The practice of draping coffins in the American flag is not reserved for military veterans and government officials. On the contrary, any burial may incorporate this tradition.
• Etiquette calls for American flags to be illuminated by sunlight or another light source while on display.
• The American flag should always be kept aloft, meaning that rugs and carpets featuring the Stars and Stripes are barred by the Flag Code.
• The Flag Code strictly prohibits adding an insignia, drawing or other markings to the Stars and Stripes. Some American politicians have been known to defy this regulation by signing copies of the U.S. flag for their supporters.