The Second Continental Congress determined the design of the American flag on Saturday, June 14, 1777. Within the Papers of the Continental Congress on Fold3, we can view the resolution in both the rough journal entry and the transcript journal entry. The latter reads:
Resolved that the flag of the thirteen united states be 13 stripes alternate red and white, that the union be 13 stars white in a blue field representing a new constellation.
Thus was born the famous Stars and Stripes, a flag design that evolved over time as more states joined the Union. There are now 50 stars where there were once 13, and the nation has witnessed 236 years of a unique history. Much of that history is documented in the military records on Fold3, a site which incorporates the U.S. flag into its logo.*
Flag Day is now recognized on June 14, the “birthday” of the Stars and Stripes, as a result of the efforts of a Wisconsin teacher, Bernard John Cigrand. The National Flag Day Foundation explains on its website:
In Waubeka, Wisconsin, in 1885, Bernard John Cigrand a nineteen-year-old school teacher in a one-room school placed a 10″” 38-star flag in an inkwell and had his students write essays on what the flag meant to them. He called June 14th the flag’s birthday. Stony Hill School is now a historical site. From that day on Bernard J. Cigrand dedicated himself to inspire not only his students but also all Americans in the real meaning and majesty of our flag.
As a result of Cigrand’s efforts, Flag Day was officially proclaimed by President Wilson in 1916 to be celebrated on the anniversary of the Flag Resolution of 1777. It was President Truman, however, who signed an Act of Congress on August 3, 1949, establishing June 14 as Flag Day in the United States.
*Fold3’s name and logo were created in honor of our military heroes. Traditionally, the third fold in a flag-folding ceremony honors and remembers veterans for their sacrifice in defending their country and promoting peace in the world.