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Schools>Flags>American>Timeline

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Timeline

Intro

Important dates during the history of the flag.

Timeline

  • 1776, January 1: The Grand Union flag is displayed on Prospect Hill. It has 13 alternate red and white stripes and the British Union Jack in the upper left-hand corner (the canton).
  • 1776, May: Betsy Ross reports that she sewed the first American flag.
  • 1777, June 14: Continental Congress resolves that the flag of the United States be thirteen stripes (alternate red and white) and that the union be thirteen stars (white in a blue field) representing a new constellation. The stars represent the original 13 states of Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Georgia, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maryland, South Carolina, New Hampshire, Virginia, New York, North Carolina, and Rhode Island).
  • 1787: Captain Robert Gray carries the flag around the world on his sailing vessel (around the tip of South America, to China, and beyond). He discovered the Columbia river and named it after his boat The Columbia. His discovery was the basis of America's claim to the Oregon Territory.
  • 1795: Flag adds 2 stars and stripes for Vermont and Kentucky (total of 15 stars and 15 stripes).
  • 1814, September 14: Francis Scott Key writes "The Star-Spangled Banner." It officially becomes the national anthem in 1931.
  • 1818:  Flag adds 5 stars for Tennessee, Ohio, Louisiana, Indiana, and Mississippi but limits stripes to 13 (total of 20 stars). Congressional Act of April 4, 1818, provided for 13 stripes and one star for each state. Each new star to be added to the flag on the 4th of July following the admission of each new state.
  • 1819: Flag adds 1 star for Illinois (total of 21 stars).
  • 1820: Flag adds 2 stars for Alabama and Maine (total of 23 stars). First flag on Pikes Peak.
  • 1822: Flag adds 1 star for Missouri (total of 24 stars).
  • 1836: Flag adds 1 star for Arkansas (total of 25stars).
  • 1837: Flag adds 1 star for Michigan (total of 26 stars).
  • 1845: Flag adds 1 star for Florida (total of 27 stars).
  • 1846: Flag adds 1 star for Texas (total of 28 stars).
  • 1847: Flag adds 1 star for Iowa (total of 29 stars).
  • 1848: Flag adds 1 star for Wisconsin (total of 30 stars).
  • 1851: Flag adds 1 star for California (total of 31 stars).
  • 1858: Flag adds 1 star for Minnesota (total of 32 stars).
  • 1859: Flag adds 1 star for Oregon (total of 33 stars).
  • 1861: Flag adds 1 star for Kansas (total of 34 stars). First Confederate Flag (Stars and Bars) adopted in Montgomery, Alabama
  • 1863: Flag adds 1 star for West Virginia (total of 35 stars).
  • 1865: Flag adds 1 star for Nevada (total of 36 stars).
  • 1867: Flag adds 1 star for Nebraska (total of 37 stars).
  • 1869: First flag on a postage stamp
  • 1877: Flag adds 1 star for Colorado (total of 38 stars).
  • 1890: Flag adds 5 stars for North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Washington, and Idaho (total of 43 stars).
  • 1891: Flag adds 1 star for Wyoming (total of 44 stars).
  • 1892: "Pledge of Allegiance" first published in a magazine called "The Youth's Companion." Authorship was claimed by James B. Upham and Francis Bellamy. In 1939, the United States Flag Association ruled that Bellamy was the author of the original pledge. The words, "under God" were added on June 14, 1954. In pledging allegiance to the flag, stand with the right hand over the heart or at attention. Men remove their headdress. Persons in uniform give the military salute. All pledge together: I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
  • 1896: Flag adds 1 star for Utah (total of 45 stars).
  • 1908: Flag adds 1 star for Oklahoma (total of 46 stars).
  • 1909: Robert Peary places the flag his wife sewed atop the North Pole. He left pieces of another flag along the way.
  • 1912: Flag adds 2 stars for New Mexico and Arizona (total of 48 stars). Executive Order of President Taft dated June 24, 1912, established proportions of the flag and provided for arrangement of the stars in six horizontal rows of eight each, a single point of each star to be upward.
  • 1931: Congress officially recognizes "The Star-Spangled Banner" as the national anthem of the United States. Its stirring words were written by Francis Scott Key.
  • 1945: The flag that flew over Pearl Harbor, on December 7, 1941, is flown over the White House on August 14 when the Japanese accepted surrender terms.
  • 1949, August 3: Truman signs bill requesting the President call for Flag Day (June 14) observance each year by proclamation.
  • 1959: Flag adds 1 star for Alaska (total of 49 stars). Executive Order of President Eisenhower, dated January 3, 1959, provided for the arrangement of the stars in seven rows of seven stars each, staggered horizontally and vertically. Executive Order of President Eisenhower, dated August 21, 1959, provided for the arrangement of the stars in nine rows of stars staggered horizon tally and eleven rows of stars staggered vertically.
  • 1960: Flag adds 1 star for Hawaii (total of 50 stars).
  • 1963: Flag placed on top of Mount Everest by Barry Bishop.
  • 1969, July 20: The American flag is placed on the moon by Neil Armstrong.
  • 1995, December 12: The Flag Desecration Constitutional Amendment is narrowly defeated in the Senate. The Amendment to the Constitution would have make burning the flag a punishable crime.
  • 2009: Congressional Amendment in the National Defense Authorization Act for FY09 states that “members of the Armed Forces and Veterans who are present but not in uniform may render the military salute.”

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