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The Madera Tribune

Happy birthday to our flag

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webmaster | 06/14/12

Unless you’re a Boy Scout, Girl Scout, or a member of the armed forces, chances are you are not celebrating today. It’s not a national holiday, although some states recognize it as such. It is indicated on most calendars. Actually, today is sort of a symbolic celebration of the birth of the flag of the United States.

On June 14, 1777, the Second Continental Congress formally adopted the red, white, and blue as the official flag of our country. The motion read, “Resolved, That the flag of the United States be made of thirteen stripes, alternate red and white, that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new Constellation.”

No one knows for certain who originally designed the flag or who manufactured it. Most historians believe that Congressman Francis Hopkinson, an amateur author, songwriter, lawyer, signer of the Declaration of Independence, and harpsichord musician, may have had his design selected over perhaps a dozen others. His flag had the stars arranged in staggered rows, three rows of three stars with a row of two stars between each of the longer rows. Of course, the design that is most familiar to people is the circle of stars that was supposedly sewn by Betsy Ross.

When two more states joined the Union, the flag was changed to 15 stripes and 15 stars, and that became the official U.S. flag after 1795. In 1818, it reverted to the 13 stripes, representing the original 13 colonies, but the number of stars changed according to the number of states that comprised the nation. Since the beginning of the 20th century, the number and arrangement of stars has been by executive order of the president...


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