Today is Flag Day, which commemorates the adoption of the flag of the United States by the Second Continental Congress in 1777.
The day has an interesting history. President Woodrow Wilson issued the proclamation that officially established June 14th as Flag Day in 1916. In 1949, National Flag Day was established by an Act of Congress. I was surprised to learn that the day is not an official government holiday, but must be proclaimed by the president each year. Can you imagine the political fallout if it wasn't?
In honor of the day, here's some flag trivia:
Why were the stars displayed in a circle on the first U.S. flag? So no one state would be above another.
What residence flies a new American flag every day? The White House
A vexillologist is an expert in what? The history of flags
Who cut the American flag into pieces and was honored for doing it? Robert Peary, who left pieces of the flag scattered along the way on his trip to the North Pole He also placed a flag sewn by his wife AT the North Pole.
In 1777, what European nation was the first to officially recognize the new American flag? France, which had done everything possible to encourage American independence from England.
Is it ever appropriate to fly the flag upside down? Yes, but only in an emergency. It's considered a sign of distress.
When draped over a casket, where should the American flag's stars be? Over the body's left shoulder.
Where was the first fifty-star American flag raised in 1960? Over Fort McHenry in Baltimore, site of Francis Scott Key's writing of "The Star Spangled Banner".
Who "flew" the American flag in space? Neil Armstrong placed it on the moon in July 1969.
The American flag first flew over a foreign fort in what country? In 1805, over Fort Derne in Libya, on the shores of Tripoli.