Thursday, June 14, 2007

Flag Day

Today is “Flag Day.”

On this date in 1777 the Second Continental Congress passed the "Flag Resolution:"
Resolved, 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.

I like the way George Washington interpreted the flag: “We take the stars from Heaven, the red from our mother country, separating it by white stripes, thus showing that we have separated from her, and the white stripes shall go down to posterity representing Liberty."

The Flag Resolution did not specify how the stars should be arranged. However, the oldest US flag in existence has the stars in a circular pattern and battlefield paintings from the American Revolution often depict flags with the stars in a circular pattern.

Today, we say the thirteen stripes represent the original thirteen colonies, while the fifty stars each represent a state. Over the last 230 years, the number of states has steadily increased, thus we’ve had several different flag designs.

Of course, the flag is flown all across the country outside homes, schools, government buildings, private businesses, sporting events, etc., but that's not it. The flag is also on continual display on the Moon. It was placed there by Apollo 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, and 17. We assume the flag is still planted on the Moon's surface today.


Anonymous said...

Seems like I remember at least one of the Apollo flags--might have been the Tranquility Base one, embarassingly enough--was blown over by the blast of the takeoff as the crew left the surface to head back to lunar orbit. I think after that they were careful to plant them just a leeetle bit further away from the landing site.

Great subject now occurs to me I never knew what those particular flags were made of. If the one at the local post office is any example though I fear they are all pretty badly faded by this time, given the lack of cloudy days on the lunar surface and general lack of atmosphere around the place. :)

Don said...

Happy Flag Day!