Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Flags of Our Fathers: Flag Day Is This Friday !

Our First Official Flag

Flag Day is celebrated on June 14 of each year. It commemorates the adoption of the flag of the United States, which happened on that date in 1777 by resolution of the Second Continental Congress. John Adams, one of our nation’s Founding Fathers, is credited with proposing, and getting passed, a resolution designating the flag at the left as our first official national flag.

Since 1818, a star for each new state has been added to the flag on the Fourth of July immediately following each state's admission to the union. In years in which multiple states were admitted, the number of stars on the flag has jumped correspondingly; the most pronounced example of this is 1890, when five states were admitted within the span of a single year. This change has typically been the only change made with each revision of the flag since 1777, with the exception of changes in 1795 and 1818, which increased the number of stripes to 15 and then returned it to 13, respectively.

The exact pattern of the stars was not specified for our flag prior to 1912. On June 24, 1912 President William Howard Taft signed an Executive Order which established the proportions of the flag and specified the arrangement and orientation of the stars. It designated that there should be six horizontal rows of eight stars each, with one point of each star pointing upward.

June 14 as the official day for celebrating our flag wasn’t recognized until four years later. In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation that established June 14 as Flag Day.

On June 22, 1942, President Franklin Roosevelt approved the Federal Flag Code, which provided for uniform guidelines for the display and respect shown to the flag. The Flag Code does not prescribe any penalties for non-compliance nor does it include any enforcement provisions, rather it functions simply as a guide for voluntary civilian compliance. On August 2, 1949, his successor, President Harry Truman, finally signed into law a bill passed by Congress calling for Flag Day to be observed each year on June 14.

Our flag has undergone a variety of configurations since it was initially adopted. Below you can see each of these official flags of the United Statesthrough the years, going from our current flag back to that very first flag as proposed by John Adams.

And just a quick "Did You Know?" - While most American flags are manufactured in this country (according to the National Independent Flag Dealers Association between $50 and $60 million worth of American flags are manufactured in the USA) did you know that the foreign country that sells the most American flags in the US is China? Using data from its Foreign Trade Division, the Census Bureau reported that $3.6 million worth of American flags were imported into the U.S. last year. The vast majority of that amount ($3.3 million) was for U.S. flags made in China according to the numbers. Of foreign made US flags, China is responsible for more than 90% of those flags imported to our country.

American Flags Imported From Other Countries
Mexico was the leading importer of American flags from US manufacturers, by the way, buying about $200,000 worth of our flags out of the roughly $600,000 worth of American made US flags exported to other countries.