Explaining 'Flag Day' in the U.S.


Today is Flag Day, one of 20 days Congress says the American flag should be flown.

The celebration traces its birth to the Second Continental Congress, which, on June 14, 1777, passed a resolution that the flag of these United States "be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white" and "the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation."

Various states celebrated a Flag Day, but it wasn't until 1916 that President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed a national Flag Day. And it wasn't until 1949 that President Harry Truman set aside June 14 as the Flag Day.

For many, this is a day for the perfect image of the flag, one gently rippling in the breeze with broad stripes and bright stars. It is the flag once made by the thousands at the former Rock Hill Printing & Finishing Co. and after Sept. 11, 2001, at Tico Industries in Lancaster.

It is an image of majesty, an image of a grand old flag.

But the imperfect images, what country singer Johnny Cash called the ragged banner, are why we celebrate Flag Day.

These imperfect images are often captured during times of conflict, showing America at its best and its worst.

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