Today we offer some trivia on the United States flag and the designation of June 14 as Flag Day.

June 14 is the anniversary of the Flag Resolution of 1777, which stated “that the flag of the United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation.”

President Woodrow Wilson established Flag Day with a proclamation May 30, 1916, according to usflag.org. June 14 was designated as Flag Day on Aug. 3, 1949.

For more than 200 years, the American flag has been a symbol of unity and pride in the United States. The red, white and blue flag has a storied history and has gone through various incarnations.

Some more information:

n Flag Day is only an official holiday in the state of Pennsylvania. This may be fitting because legend holds that Betsy Ross sewed the first flag in Pennsylvania.

n Six different flag designs were flown before Betsy Ross announced that she had sewn the official American flag. These designs included a series of alternating red and white stripes, the Liberty Tree, the Sons of Liberty, and the Forester flag designs. The Continental Army once used a flag featuring a snake with the mantra “Don’t Tread on Me.” It is known as the Gadsden flag, named after American Gen. Christopher Gadsden.

n The American flag remained unchanged until 1795, when the stripes and stars were increased to 15 for the addition of Kentucky and Vermont to the Union.

n After seeing the new 15-star and striped flag flying over Fort McHenry during the War of 1812, Francis Scott Key was inspired to write the poem that would eventually become the nation’s national anthem.

n A sea captain from Massachusetts named William Driver named a large, 10-foot-by-17-foot flag “Old Glory” after it survived multiple defacing attempts during the American Civil War. Driver’s nickname of the flag inspired the name to be used for all American flags.

n Today’s flag features the original 13 alternating white and red stripes (in 1818, another design went into effect, permanently setting the number of stripes at 13 in honor of the original colonies) and 50 stars to represent the states of the Union.

Jim Eckstrom is executive editor of the Olean Times Herald and Bradford Publishing Co. His email is jeckstrom@oleantimesherald.com.)

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