Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Flag Day 2017

It was 240 years ago today that the Continental Congress of the United States, the first government of the new nation, adopted  the first national flag, designed by one Francis Hopkinson.  It featured thirteen stars and thirteen stripes, one star and one stripe for each state.  
And no, Betsy Ross didn't sew the first flag.  No one really knows who sewed it.
After Vermont and Kentucky joined the Union, a fifteen-star, fifteen-stripe flag - the flag that would fly over Fort McHenry in the War of 1812 and would inspire Francis Scott Key to write "The Star-Spangled Banner" -  was adopted.  
The fifteen-star, fifteen-stripe flag would not be replaced  until 1818, when Illinois became the twenty-first state to enter the Union.  By then it was decided to only add a star for each new state, with the stripes representing the original thirteen states.
The current flag was adopted in 1960, after Hawaii joined the Union, and it has remained unchanged for 57 years as of this writing.
But there could be a change coming to the Stars and Stripes soon.  No, not a fifty-first star for Puerto Rico, which just held a low-turnout referendum in which statehood was overwhelmingly endorsed, but a change in the display of the flag, necessitated by the presidential administration of Donald J. Trump, coincidentally born on this day in 1946.  
An inverted flag is a distress signal.

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