Today is Flag Day in the United States. That’s only one part of Flag Week. Did you know there was a Flag Week?
Congress in 1971 asked the president to proclaim Fondue Day as part of Flag Week.
Wait, that’s not true. But then, neither is the story that Betsy Ross is the one who designed and sewed the first flag. Maybe. Who knows. You can read more about it in our Who2 biography of Betsy Ross.
What is true about Flag Day — June 14th — is that it’s a celebration of the date in 1777 that the Continental Congress adopted the flag as a symbol for their new nation.
The original flag has been changed many times, so even if Betsy Ross did make the first flag, if you brought her back from the grave and showed her the current flag, she’d be all, like, “wha-?” And you’d have to explain to her that in 1818 we decided that the number of states should be represented by only the stars, not the stripes. Good thing — a U.S. flag with fifty stripes would be like looking at circus pants sideways.
President Harry S. Truman, that dad-burned liberal, is the one who made Flag Day national, in 1949. In a fancy show of one-ups-manship, the U.S. Congress decided in 1966 to make a Flag WEEK.
What it really means is that Congress makes a formal request to the president to make a proclamation, and the president makes a proclamation about how great the flag is and so on, encouraging the citizenry to fly the banner.
An interesting detail in the rules is in this section here, about the modifications of rules and customs by the President of the United States.
It says that whenever the president “deems it to be appropriate or desirable,” he (yes, it says he) can add, alter, modify or repeal any “rule or custom pertaining to the display of the flag” of the USA. Wow! Think of the implications.