DoD Knowledge Base: FAQs

U.S. Flag History and National Flag Day
Published: 03/17/2005 | Updated:  08/18/2014
How can I learn more about our American Flag and the symbolism behind it? How can I find out more information about National Flag Day and the laws that govern our flag?

Flag Day is celebrated on June 14. On that day in 1777, the Continental Congress approved the U.S. flag and detailed the composition. As noted in the American Forces Press Service article referenced below, originally the flag was literally a rallying point for the troops of the Continental Army. In battle, the unit flag was the center of mass, and from the area around the flag commanders gave orders and rallied troops. The flag as a symbol of America grew out of the War of 1812. Francis Scott Key was so inspired by the sight of the American flag flying over Fort McHenry on Sept. 12, 1814, that he wrote "The Star Spangled Banner." These words inspire Americans today, and when U.S. citizens see the flag they are reminded that America is still "the land of the free, and the home of the brave."

The American flag has become more than just a red, white and blue design. It has become a symbol of what we stand for as a country. America reunited under the flag following the Civil War. The American flag flew at the Marne in World War I and at Iwo Jima during World War II. Inspired by these three decades of state and local celebrations, Flag Day - the anniversary of the Flag Resolution of 1777 - was officially established by the Proclamation of President Woodrow Wilson on May 30th, 1916. While Flag Day was celebrated in various communities for years after Wilson's proclamation, it was not until August 3rd, 1949, that President Truman signed an Act of Congress designating June 14th of each year as National Flag Day.

The American flag flew at Porkchop Hill in Korea and Hamburger Hill in Vietnam. It has flown over Grenada, Kuwait, Kabul and Baghdad. It covers the caskets of the fallen as they come home. Americans swear to uphold the Constitution of the United States, and the American flag is a symbol of that oath. On Flag Day, remember that oath and those who have died for the freedom the American flag represents.

Armed Forces Press Service Article: "Flag Has Been Powerful Symbol, Rallying Point" http://www.defense.gov//News/NewsArticle.aspx?ID=26274

Other Resources and Information: The online booklet "Our Flag" presents information about the history, laws and regulations, display, care and other relevant information about the flag of the United States of America. The booklet is online courtesy of the General Services Administration Consumer Information Center. http://www.pueblo.gsa.gov/cic_text/misc/ourflag/titlepage.htm