Each year on National Flag Day (June 14th) our country celebrates the history and symbolism of our flag. With Memorial Day just behind us, and Independence Day just around the corner, all the picnics, parades, flags and fireworks blend into one big American summertime celebration. To add to your festivities, here are my site recommendations.
Betsy Ross would often tell her children, grandchildren and friends of the fateful day in May, 1776 when a secret committee from the Continental Congress asked her to sew the first flag. Today the historical accuracy of her story is debated point-counterpoint on her very own web site. Also included in this fun site is how to cut a five-pointed star with a single scissor snip, flag trivia, flag etiquette, and the opportunity to contribute your own thoughts about the American flag.
Created at the University of Oklahoma College of Law, this site is a collection of stars and stripes from Betsy Ross to present day. Best of all, permission is granted to use these graphics for personal, non-profit purposes (such as a school report.) See the Flag FAQ for details. The collection also includes flags of the American Revolution, Confederate flags, and flags of all fifty states.
"The Star-Spangled Banner Preservation Project is saving an American treasure -- the flag that inspired our national anthem. At the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History, we are engaged in a significant effort to preserve this icon, which has been endangered by time, and exposure to pollution and the elements. In this Web site, you may learn the Star-Spangled Banner's origins and history, consider the flag's symbolism, track the conservation team's progress, and explore our educational offerings."
"Until the Executive Order of June 24, 1912, neither the order of the stars nor the proportions of the flag was prescribed. Consequently, flags dating before this period sometimes show unusual arrangements of the stars and odd proportions, these features being left to the discretion of the flag maker." It was President Taft who signed the first Executive Order establishing proportions for the flag (a width of 1.0 and length of 1.9) and detailed the arrangement of the stars in six horizontal rows of eight each, with a single point of each star to be pointing upward.