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History of Flag Day Nohely Mendoza | Sat, Jun 16 2012 12:00 PM

The very first American flag was hand stitched in 1776 by a woman named Betsy Ross and throughout the years has grown into the icon it is today.

On June 14, 1777, a resolution of the Second Continental Congress resulted in the adoption of the flag of the United States. One hundred thirty-nine years later President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation that officially establishedJune 14 as Flag Day. In August 1949, an act of Congress established National Flag Day.

The American flag consists of 13 equal horizontal stripes alternating red and white, which represent the 13 British colonies that declared independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain and became the first states in the union. The flag has a blue rectangle in the canton referred to as the union, bearing 50 small white stars which represent the 50 states of the United States.

The flag had served mostly as a military marking of American territory and was flown from forts, embassies and ships.

That is until December 1860 when Maj. Robert Anderson acted without orders and moved the U.S. garrison from Fort Moultrie to Fort Sumter in defiance of the power of the new Confederate States of America. That was the opening move for the American Civil War. The flag then was used throughout the North to symbolize American nationalism and rejection of secessionism.

Although Flag Day is not a federal holiday, it is celebrated all over America. U.S. citizens display the flag in front of homes, businesses and government buildings for the duration of the week.

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