Today is Flag Day in the United States and every American should pause today to pay homage to our national symbol.
Morehead and Rowan County are having their 31st consecutive Flag Day observance today at noon at Freedom Park on the lawn of the old courthouse, now the Rowan County Arts Center.
The local celebration was started in 1980 by Lloyd Dean, a retired teacher and minister, and one of our county’s human treasures.
We are proud to salute Brother Dean in today’s issue of The Morehead News.
Flag Day commemorates the adoption of the flag of the United States, which happened that day by resolution of the Second Continental Congress in 1777.
In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation that officially established June 14 as Flag Day and in August 1949, National Flag Day was established by an act of Congress.
Interestingly, Flag Day is not an official federal holiday, though on June 14, 1937, Pennsylvania became the first and only state to celebrate Flag Day as a state holiday.
Although nobody knows for sure who designed the flag, it may have been Continental Congress member Francis Hopkinson.
After Vermont and Kentucky were admitted to the Union in 1791 and 1792, respectively, two more stars and two more stripes were added in 1795.
This 15-star, 15-stripe flag was the “star-spangled banner” that inspired lawyer Francis Scott Key to write the poem that later became our national anthem.
In 1818, after five more states joined the Union, Congress passed legislation fixing the
number of stripes at 13 and requiring that the number of stars equal the number of states.
The last new star, bringing the total to 50, was added July 4, 1960, when Hawaii became a state.
We like what the legendary Barbara Frietchie told a Confederate general in 1862 as she proudly waved a bullet-ridden U. S. flag from her attic window in Frederick, Md.:
“Shoot, if you must, this old gray head, but spare my country’s flag.”