Each year, Flag Day is celebrated on June 14, which, this year, is a Sunday. Although it may have lost some of its popularity, its representational spirit may come back to the forefront. Flying the flag has always been thought to be a wonderful symbol of patriotism.
In 1777 on that date, the Second Continental Congress, which was meeting in Philadelphia, adopted the Flag Act of 1777, which created the official flag for our nation, which was in the midst of struggle in order to gain its independence from Britain. That flag, which was comprised of thirteen stripes of red and white and thirteen white stars on a blue field, which represented a new constellation. The colors of red, white and blue were chosen for a reason. The color of red represents valor; white represents liberty and purity; and blue is representative of justice and loyalty. That flag remained consistent for more than twenty years. In January, 1794, two stars and two stripes were added with the admission of Vermont and Kentucky to the Union. In 1818, a new design went into effect, which permanently set the number of stripes to thirteen to honor the original colonies, and then allowed for new stars to be added on July 4 of each year a new state that was admitted to the Union. The star representing the state of Ohio was added in 1803. The last star was added in 1959 for the state of Hawaii. All total, there have been 27 official versions of the American flag.
In 1885, the suggestion of making the date a national holiday after a Wisconsin grade school teacher held what is thought to be the first recognized Flag Day. A presidential proclamation by President Woodrow Wilson was called in 1916, and Congress passed legislation in 1949, making it a national holiday. However, it is not a federal holiday.
There, actually are quite a few rules surrounding the flag. In fact, there is an actual Flag Code, which instructs how to fly the flag, among other things. According to the flag code, the flag should be displayed “when a patriotic effect is desired,” it is to be flown “especially on New Year’s Day, January 1; Inauguration Day, January 20; Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday, the third Monday in January; Lincoln’s Birthday, February 12; Washington’s Birthday, third Monday in February; National Vietnam War Veterans Day, March 29, Easter Sunday (variable); Mother’s Day, second Sunday in May; Armed Forces Day, third Saturday in May; Memorial Day (half-staff until noon), the last Monday in May; Flag Day, June 14; Father’s Day, third Sunday in June; Independence Day, July 4; National Korean War Veterans Armistice Day, July 27; Labor Day, first Monday in September; Constitution Day, September 17; Columbus Day, second Monday in October; Navy Day, October 27; Veterans Day, November 11; Thanksgiving Day, fourth Thursday in November; Christmas Day, December 25; and such other days as may be proclaimed by the President of the United States; the birthdays of States (date of admission); and on State holidays.” It should be displayed from sunrise to sunset. It can be flown after sunset, but it should be property illuminated.
“The flag represents a living country and is itself considered a living thing,” according to the code. “A flag lapel pin should be worn on the left lapel, near the heart. Out of respect for the flag, the flag should never touch anything. It should never be carried flat or horizontally, but should be always aloft and free. It should never have anything drawn or written upon it.
To represent the county’s state of mourning, the flag is flown at half staff (on land) and half mast (on a ship). The term “half-staff” is the position of the flag on the flag pole that is one-half the distance between the top and the bottom. When flying at half staff, the flag should first be hoisted to the peak of the flag pole for a moment, then lowered to the half-staff position. The flag should then be raised to the peak of the pole, then lowered, when removed. Each year, the following days, the American flag should be flown at half-staff:
– May 15, Peace Officers Memorial Day
– Memorial Day (half-staff until noon only, then raise to the top of the staff)
– July 27, Korean War Veterans Armistice Day
– September 11, Patriot Day
– December 7, Pearl Harbor Day
Additionally, the flag shall be flown at half-staff, by order of the President, upon the death of certain individuals of the United States Government and the State Governors, territory or possession, to respect their memory. It is also flown at half-staff in the even of the death of other officials or foreign dignitaries. It is always according to the instruction of the President. The city of North Royalton complies with this dictate, and follows suit when instructions to lower the flags are announced through the White House Office of the Press Secretary. “In the event of the death of a present or former official of the government of any State, territory or possession of the United States, the Governor of that State, territory or possession may proclaim that the National flag shall be flown at half-staff,” according to the flag code.

Contributing Writer