Join us as we discover some fun flag day facts for kids!
Flag Day is a holiday in the United States on June 14th each year. It commemorates the adoption of the national flag of the United States, which happened on June 14, 1777. The flag, often referred to as the “Stars and Stripes,” represents the unity and identity of the nation.
The idea of establishing a national Flag Day was initially proposed by a schoolteacher named Bernard J. Cigrand. Over time, his efforts gained support. President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation in 1916 officially establishing June 14th as Flag Day. However, it wasn’t until 1949 that Congress passed legislation designating Flag Day as a national observance.
History of The American Flag and Flag Day
1. 1776- Design of the Flag
This timeline of events begins with Betsy Ross, a seamstress who lived during the American Revolution. Many stories share that George Washington visited Betsy Ross and asked her to design the first American Flag.
2. June 14, 1777 – The American Flag Becomes Official
The Continental Congress adopted the “stars and stripes” as the official flag of the USA on June 14th, 1777. The day we celebrate Flag Day each year commemorates this pivotal moment in history!
3. 1795 – Two New Stars and Stripes
The American Flag adds two stars and two stripes to celebrate the addition of Vermont and Kentucky as states in the Union.
4. Sept. 14, 1814 – The Star Spangled Banner
During the War of 1812 between the United States and Britain, Francis Scott Key wrote a poem about the flag that would become our national anthem.
Francis Scott Key watched the Americans firing at Fort McHenry while held on a British ship for a night. In the morning, he saw the American flag still flying over the fort and was so moved by the sight that he wrote a poem called “The Defence of Fort McHenry.”
Later, his poem became The Star Spangled Banner’s lyrics and officially declared the national anthem in 1931.
5. April 4, 1818 – One Star for Each State
Congress passed a law stating that the flag should have 13 stripes and one star to represent each state in the union.
6. June 14, 1885 – The First Unofficial Flag Day Celebration
Twenty years after the Civil War, a schoolteacher in Wisconsin began a tradition of celebrating June 14th as “Flag Birthday” or “Flag Day” with his students. Other flag day celebrations would soon follow throughout the country in the following years.
7. October 21, 1892 – The First Pledge of Allegiance in Schools
The Pledge of Allegiance was written in 1892 by Francis Bellamy, a socialist minister. In October of that same year, children at schools across the country began pledging the newly installed flag in their classrooms.
8. June 24, 1912 – An Executive Order on the Flag’s Design
With more states joining the union, the new stars needed organization on the field of blue. President Taft established the proportions for the flag and ensured the arrangement of the stars would be neat and uniform. He proclaimed that each star must have one point upward.
9. May 10, 1916 – Flag Day Becomes an Official Holiday
President Woodrow Wilson issues a proclamation officially recognizing June 14th as Flag Day.
10. August 3, 1949 – Flag Day is Signed into Law
President Harry S. Truman signed an act of Congress designating June 14th as National Flag Day. Americans display the flag on this day each year.
11. July 4, 1960 – The Flag We Fly Today
Finally, with Alaska and Hawaii added to the union in 1959, the American flag design of 50 stars and 13 stripes that we know and honor today was raised for the first time on July 4, 1960, by President Eisenhower.
American Flag Facts for Kids
- Did you know there’s a debate over whether Betsy Ross truly designed the first American flag? Some historians believe that her story is just a legend and that the first flag’s design is credit to Congressman Francis Hopkinson.
- The American flag has 50 stars and 13 red or white stripes representing the 50 states and the 13 original colonies.
- The American flag should be held in respect and never touch the ground and be treated respectfully.
- The colors of the American flag are red, white, and blue. Red symbolizes valor and hardiness, white symbolizes purity and innocence, and blue symbolizes vigilance, perseverance, and justice.
- The American flag is also known as Old Glory, The Stars and Stripes, The Red, White, and Blue, and The Star-Spangled Banner.
- The American flag was flown on the moon during the Apollo 11 mission in 1969 by Neil Armstrong.
- The American flag has been modified 27 times since it was first adopted in 1777.
- A high school student, Bob Heft, designed the flag’s final version when he was seventeen years old. Heft used his mother’s sewing machine to reconstruct the 48-star flag into a proportional 50-star pattern for a school project. His flag design reached President Eisenhower, who chose it over 1,500 other submissions as the flag we raise and fly today.
Finally, we hope you’ve enjoyed our list of flag day facts for kids! If you’d like to teach your kids more about history, Learn Bright has tons of great lesson plans for your little learners. Additionally, check out our YouTube Channel for more inspiration and educational ideas!