Important Dates in the
History of the American Flag

  • Recipe: Flag Cake
  • 1777 On June 14, John Adams introduced a resolution to the Continental Congress in Philadelphia stating the flag of the United States should contain thirteen alternating red and white stripes and thirteen white stars on a blue field.
  • 1783 The Stars and Stripes became the official flag of the United States.
  • 1794 After Kentucky and Vermont joined the Union, two stars and two stripes were added.
  • 1814 Francis Scott Key, seeing the flag fly over Fort McHenry after a battle during the War of 1812, was inspired to pen "The Star-Spangled Banner."
  • 1818 Congressional resolution reduced the number of stripes to 13, and proclaimed only a star would be added to the flag as future states join the Union.
  • 1861 First Flag Day celebration was held in Hartford, Connecticut during the early days of the Civil War, as a group of citizens joined together to express support for the Union.
  • 1912 President William Howard Taft established uniform dimensions of the flag, the proportional width of the stripes and the diameter of the stars.
  • 1916 President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed June 14 as Flag Day.
  • 1949 President Harry S. Truman officially designated June 14 as Flag Day.
  • 1960 50th star added to the flag after Hawaii becomes a state.

Flag Facts and Trivia

  • The colonists didn't create a national flag until almost a year after they declared independence.
  • Flag Day recognizes the day in 1777 when John Adams introduced a resolution to the Continental Congress in Philadelphia stating the flag of the United States should contain thirteen alternating red and white stripes and thirteen white stars on a blue field.
  • From 1794 to 1818, the flag had 15 stripes—the additional stripes represented Kentucky and Vermont, which were the 14th and 15th states. After 1818, the number of stripes was reduced back to thirteen and only stars were added when new states joined the Union.
  • Francis Scott Key received his inspiration for "The Star-Spangled Banner" in 1814, when he saw the flag flying over Fort McHenry after a battle during the War of 1812.
  • The nickname "Old Glory" dates back to 1824.
  • The first known Flag Day celebration was held in Hartford, Connecticut in 1861 as an expression of support for the Union during the early weeks of the Civil War.
  • Prior to 1912, flag makers had a lot of leeway on how a finished flag looked since there were no official specifications regarding the placement and proportions of the stars and stripes on the flag. President William Howard Taft issued two executive orders in 1912 that established the proportions of the height and width of the flag and its canton (the blue field), and the proportionate width of each stripe and diameter of each star. The government also standardized the arrangement of the stars on the flag's canton.
  • President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation in 1916 asking the nation to observe June 14 as Flag Day, but it was President Harry S. Truman who officially designated the day in 1949.
  • The 50th star was added in 1960 after Hawaii became a state.
  • The United States flag was planted in the Sea of Tranquillity on the moon on July 20, 1969.
  • To follow proper etiquette, the flag should be raised at sunrise and lowered at sunset. If it remains up all night, it should be illuminated.
  • Old flags should be disposed of by burning them in a dignified manner.
  • A flag that is raised only halfway up a pole is at "half-staff"—many people incorrectly say it is at "half-mast." The term "half-mast" is reserved only for flags raised halfway up a pole on naval ships and stations ashore.

By Executive Order, the following sites fly the flag 24 hours a day:

  • Betsy Ross House, Philadelphia, Pa.
  • White House, Washington, D.C.
  • U.S. Capitol, Washington, D.C.
  • Washington Monument, Washington, D.C.
  • Iwo Jima Memorial to U.S. Marines, Arlington, Va.
  • Battleground in Lexington, Mass. (site of first shots in the Revolutionary War)
  • Winter encampment cabins, Valley Forge, Pa.
  • Fort McHenry, Baltimore, Md. (a flag flying over Fort McHenry after a battle during the War of 1812 provided the inspiration for "The Star-Spangled Banner")
  • The Star-Spangled Banner Flag House, Baltimore, Md. (site where the famed flag over Fort McHenry was sewn)
  • Jenny Wade House in Gettysburg, Pa. (Jenny Wade was the only civilian killed at the battle of Gettysburg)
  • U.S.S. Arizona Memorial, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii
  • All custom points and points of entry into the United States

Flag Cake

  • 1 package (10.75 ounces) frozen pound cake, thawed, cut into 10 slices
  • 1 can (21 ounces) blueberry or strawberry pie filling
  • 1 tub (12 ounces) frozen whipped topping, thawed
  • 2 pints fresh strawberries, halved
  • 1/3 cup fresh blueberries, divided


Line bottom of 12x8-inch baking dish with cake slices. Top with pie filling and whipped topping.

Place strawberry halves and fresh blueberries on whipped topping to create a flag design.

Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Makes 15 servings.

Provided by Kraft

This page originally published as a FoodDay article in 1997.

Copyright © 2007, Forkmedia LLC. All rights reserved.

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This page modified June 2007

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