America’s Flag Day marks the Second Continental Congress’ adoption of the first U.S. national flag on June 14, 1777. The first flag, thanks to Betsy Ross’ sewing prowess, featured the same 13 red and white stripes we see today. The number and arrangement of stars, however, has changed as the number of states have increased over the centuries. The current flag has remained the same since 1960. Will we ever go from 50 to 51? Read on for a look at some possible statehood candidates. And consider this a warmup for Independence Day — in just 20 days.
Flag Day timeline
- July 20, 1969
The U.S. flag sees the moon
There are now six U.S. flags present on the moon, but the first was placed by Neil Armstrong in 1969.
- July 4, 1960
The current U.S. flag is completed
The 50th star, representing Hawaii (not Alaska), created the flag flown in the U.S. today.
President Woodrow Wilson recognizes Flag Day
Celebrating the selection of the first American flag back in 1777, President Wilson signed off on establishing June 14 of each year as Flag Day.
- June 1776
First American Flag created
Betsy Ross gets the credit. A small committee which included George Washington, American statesman Robert Morris, and relative George Ross (she married his nephew), selected her for the job.
Flag Day Activities
Plan a costume contest as part of a BBQ
The stars and stripes aren't just for flags anymore. Take the opportunity on Flag Day to sport the red, white and blue on socks, bathing suits, and hairstyles. It's a perfect day to celebrate your patriotism with a fun twist.
Teach your kids or less informed friends a history lesson
An American flag trivia game is a quick and easy way to learn a few tidbits. Most people know that each star represents a state, but do they know that a new star only appears on the July 4 following a state's admission to the Union? Trivia - bam!
Make a healthy patriotic snack
Strawberries, blueberries, marshmallows, OH MY! Some of our favorite fruits lend themselves very well to creating flag-themed cakes, so roll with it. Fine, marshmallows aren't a fruit, but they're basically a summer necessity, so we'll let it slide.
5 American Flags — By The Numbers
50 — and counting
We've been at 50 for nearly 60 years. Possible candidates for the 51st star? Puerto Rico, Guam, and Washington, DC.
Seven times seven? A perfect square. There's just so much luck in this flag, we need to thank Alaska (January 1959) for joining us. This one had a short reign. Hawaii (August 1959) would soon make it 50.
It featured such beautiful symmetry with the addition of New Mexico and Arizona in 1912 and flew proudly for 47 years.
The number 31 doesn't easily lend itself to neat patterns. If we didn't actually love California (added in 1850) so much, we'd probably have made it secede after seeing the lack of symmetry. (This flag lasted seven years!)
America's original flag, it's the only one that dared defy the straight line pattern of all its successors. If you ask us, the 13 stars in a circle better represent the unity of the, uhhhh, union.
Why We Love Flag Day
A chance to show patriotism
It's easy to get so caught up in our day-to-day lives that we sometimes forget to be thankful for the bigger picture. Flag Day reminds us that we are one country — united — despite our disagreements.
Americans love to have parades for many events and holidays. Mid-June is the perfect time to set up that camping chair on the street corner and watch the local firefighters, school bands and dance troupes strut their stuff.
It reminds us summer is near
The weather is starting to behave, kids are wrapping up school and BBQ season is upon us. Flag Day gives us another reason to celebrate outside and enjoy the sunshine.