On June 14, 1777, the United States adopted its first flag. Today Americans honor the U.S. flag each year on June 14. Flag Day is a national commemorative day. It is not a holiday from work. Many people fly the flag outside their homes and businesses on this day.
The American flag has different names. One name is "The Red, White, and Blue." This name is for the colors of the flag. Another name is "The Stars and Stripes." This name is for the 50 stars and 13 stripes.
The flag did not always have 50 stars and 13 stripes. In 1777, the original flag had 13 stars and 13 stripes for the 13 colonies. The 13 colonies became the first 13 states. Then more states joined the United States. In 1794, the flag had 15 stars and 15 stripes. Then more states joined. This created a problem for the flag makers. The flag was getting too big! So in 1818, Congress decided to have only 13 stripes on the flag. They decided to add one star for each new state.
The number of stars changed many times. From 1912 to 1959, there were 48 stars. Then in 1959, Alaska and Hawaii joined the United States. So now there are 50 stars on the flag.
The national anthem of the United States is about the flag. It is the "The Star-Spangled Banner." Francis Scott Key wrote this song in 1814. People sing it at baseball games and other public events.
There are many rules about how to fly the flag, but the rules don't say anything about the size of the flag. In 1923, a store in Detroit, Michigan, made a huge U.S. flag. It was 270 feet wide and 90 feet high (about 82 meters wide and 27 meters high). Wow!
Mother's Day and Father's Day
(Source: Holidays in the U.S.A.
- An Interactive ESL Reader by Carole Cross, Elizabeth Minicz, Catherine Porter)