Don't Know Much

Don’t Know Much About® Flag Day (DKMAM #20)

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FLAG DAY is celebrated on June 14 in honor of the adoption of the American flag by the Second Continental Congress in 1777.

In 1877, Congress ordered the flag to be flown from every government building on June 14 to commemorate the one hundredth anniversary of the official birth of the American flag. With its thirteen red and white stripes in honor of the original states, the U.S. flag has has changed a lot since 1777, with 50 stars now representing the states. But the familiar symbol of America has a surprisingly obscure history. How much do you know about the “stars and stripes”?

True or False? (Answers below)
1. The original design, with 13 stars in a circle, was the handiwork of seamstress Betsy Ross.
2. The American flag is never lowered to honor visiting heads of state.
3. The Pledge of Allegiance to the flag, composed in 1776, always included the words “one nation under God.”
4. It is legal to burn the flag as a form of protest.

You can find a good source of flag history and tradition at this website, US Flag.org:
http://www.usflag.org/history/flagevolution.html

You can also find more information about the National Anthem and the flag that inspired it in this videoblog:

http://www.dontknowmuch.com/2010/03/today-in-history-birth-of-an-anthem/

Answers
1. False, probably. The Betsy Ross legend has largely been discredited. The likely father of the flag design was Francis Hopkinson, a signer of the Declaration from Pennsylvania and a member of the Continental Navy Board.
2. True. In a long-standing tradition, the flag is never dipped to any other nation’s, including during the Olympics.
3. Double False. The Pledge was composed in 1892 and the words “under God” were added in 1953.
4. True. The Supreme Court has ruled that burning the flag in protest is speech protected under the Fifth Amendment.

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