|The flag consists of 13 equal horizontal stripes of red (top and bottom)
alternating with white, with a blue rectangle in the canton bearing 50
small, white, five-pointed stars arranged in nine offset horizontal rows of
six stars (top and bottom) alternating with rows of five stars. The 50 stars
on the flag represent the 50 U.S. states and the 13 stripes represent the
original Thirteen Colonies that rebelled against the British crown and
became the first states in the Union. Nicknames for the flag include ""
and "", with the latter nickname coined by Captain William Driver, a
nineteenth century shipmaster.
Because of its symbolism, the starred blue canton is called the "union".
This part of the national flag can stand alone as a maritime flag called
the which served as the U.S. jack on warships from 1777 until 2002. It
continues to be used as a jack by various federally-owned vessels,
including those of the Coast Guard, Military Sealift Command, and
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
The United States flag is among the nation's very wide recognized and
used symbols. Within the U.S. it's frequently displayed, not only on public
buildings, but on private residences, as well as iconically in forms such
as decals for car windows, and clothing ornaments such as badges and
lapel pins. Throughout the world it's used in public discourse to refer to
the U.S., both as a nation state, government, and set of policies, but
also as an ideology and set of ideals. Many understand the flag to
represent the freedoms and rights guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution
and its Bill of Rights and perhaps most of all to be a symbol of individual
and personal liberty as set forth in the Declaration of Independence.
Through the Pledge of Allegiance and other political uses the flag has
also come to be associated with U.S. nationalism, patriotism, and even
militarism. The flag is a complex and contentious symbol, around which
emotions run high.
In terms of the symbolism of the design itself, a book about the flag
published by the Congress in 1977 states:
"The star is a symbol of the heavens and the divine goal to which man
has aspired from time immemorial; the stripe is symbolic of the rays of
light emanating from the sun." George Washington is credited for saying:
"We take the stars from Heaven, the red from our mother country,
separating it by white stripes, thus showing that we've separated from her,
and the white stripes shall go down to posterity representing Liberty."
Many people also take the red and white to stand for the blood of
those who gave their lives for freedom, and the presumed purity of the
freedom ideal, respectively.
|ST AIDENS - SOUTH AFRICA
Flag Day - USA
In the United States, is celebrated on June 14. It commemorates
the adoption of the flag of the United States, which happened that
day by resolution of the Second Continental Congress in 1777.
In 1916, Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation that officially
established June 14 as Flag Day; in August 1949, National Flag Day
was established by an Act of Congress.
Flag Day isn't an official federal holiday, though on June 14, 1937,
Pennsylvania became the first (and only) U.S. state to celebrate
Flag Day as a state holiday. Title 36 Sec. 110 of the US Code is the
official statute on Flag Day, however it's at the President's discretion
to proclaim officially the observance.
The largest Flag Day parade is held annually in Troy, NY. (Link)
Framingham, MA also holds a yearly Flag Day parade, as do many
other towns and cities, although in recent years a shrinking turnout
has prompted the town to consider eliminating the event.