On June 14, 1777, the Continental Congress adopted a resolution stating that "the flag of the Thirteen United States shall be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white," and that "the Union be thirteen stars, white on a blue field, representing a new constellation."
To date, there have been twenty-seven official versions of the flag. As states have entered the Union, additional stars have been added. The current version of the American flag was last revised July 4, 1960, when Hawaii became the 50th state.
Flag day is not an official federal holiday, but it is nationally recognized. In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation which officially established June 14th as Flag Day. However, it wasn't until August 3, 1949, that President Harry Truman signed an Act of Congress permanently designating June 14th as National Flag Day.
The Flag is the most recognized symbol of the United States, and it represents freedom, pride, and justice. One of my favorite poems is “I am the Flag of the United States of America” by Howard Schnauber. When I attend naturalization ceremonies, I often speak to the new citizens about their right to vote and responsibility to engage in the Democratic process, and share this poem with them. I love this country, and as a patriot and Veteran of the United States Air Force, this poem is very meaningful to me. Every time I share it with others, it is an emotional experience. When you read the poem, I hope you will feel the same as I do.
I am the Flag of the United States of America
by Howard Schnauber
I am the flag of the United States of America.
My name is Old Glory.
I fly atop the world's tallest buildings.
I stand watch in America's halls of justice.
I fly majestically over great institutes of learning.
I stand guard with the greatest military power in the world.
Look up! And see me!
I stand for peace - honor - truth and justice.
I stand for freedom
I am confident - I am arrogant
I am proud.
When I am flown with my fellow banners
My head is a little higher
My colors a little truer.
I bow to no one.
I am recognized all over the world.
I am worshipped - I am saluted - I am respected
I am revered - I am loved, and I am feared.
I have fought every battle of every war for more than 200 years:
Gettysburg, Shilo, Appomatox, San Juan Hill, the trenches of France,
the Argonne Forest, Anzio, Rome, the beaches of Normandy,
the deserts of Africa, the cane fields of the Philippines,
the rice paddies and jungles of Guam, Okinawa, Japan, Korea, Vietnam,
Guadalcanal New Britain, Peleliu, and many more islands.
And a score of places long forgotten by all but those who were with me.
I was there.
I led my soldiers - I followed them.
I watched over them.
They loved me.
I was on a small hill in Iwo Jima.
I was dirty, battle-worn and tired, but my soldiers cheered me, and I was proud.
I have been soiled, burned, torn and trampled on the streets of
countries I have helped set free.
It does not hurt, for I am invincible.
I have been soiled, burned, torn and trampled on the streets of my country,
and when it is by those with whom I have served in battle - it hurts.
But I shall overcome - for I am strong.
I have slipped the bonds of Earth and stand watch over the
uncharted new frontiers of space
from my vantage point on the moon.
I have been a silent witness to all of America's finest hours.
But my finest hour comes when I am torn into strips to
be used for bandages for my wounded comrades on the field of battle,
When I fly at half-mast to honor my soldiers,
And when I lie in the trembling arms of a grieving
mother at the graveside of her fallen son.
I am proud.
My name is Old Glory.
Dear God - Long may I wave.