A simplified lesson about American’s Flag Day holiday.
Jun 13, 2021. wp.krigline.com ⇔ (See the longer lesson here)
Why are there so many flags on June 14?
In America, you often see the US flag in front of government buildings, businesses, and homes. But if you visit the US on June 14, you might wonder why so many people are flying the nation’s flag.
June 14 is called “Flag Day,” commemorating the adoption of the official flag on June 14, 1777. (You may remember that America’s “birthday” was July 4, 1776.)
The origins of the holiday are fuzzy, perhaps dating back to the 1860s (during the American Civil War). President Wilson first proclaimed June 14 as national Flag Day in 1916. Congress established National Flag Day in 1949.An early Congressman designed the familiar “stars and stripes,” but people more often connect the name “Betsy Ross” with the flag. The original design featured 13 stripes, and a “new constellation” of 13 stars, representing the 13 colonies. According to historian Dr. Peter Lillback, red stood for hardiness and bravery. White stood for moral purity and legal innocence. Lillback says blue stood for perseverance, vigilance, and justice.
Who was Betsy Ross?
Betsy Ross, one of America’s most famous “founding mothers,” was a seamstress who lived in Philadelphia. Ross was a single mom, having been widowed twice by age 30. General George Washington (later the first US President) attended the same church as Mrs. Ross. He asked Betsy to make the first flag during America’s revolution. At first, Washington asked for stars with six points, but Betsy convinced the Founders that a five-pointed star would save them time and money. According to tradition, Ross sewed the first American flag, and then kept making flags for more than 50 years.
- to adopt (adoption): to formally accept sth in a permanent way (e.g., adopting a child, or celebrating a foreign holiday)
- commemorate: to honor or remember an event or contribution.
- constellation: a group of stars that forms a pattern and has been given a name (e.g., “the big dipper”)
- fuzzy: (adj) unclear, confused; literally describes the hairy way a kitten feels, but figuratively can describe an unclear picture, memory, etc.
- seamstress: someone who sews or repairs clothing or similar things (curtains, flags…); a tailor
- tattered: appearing old, torn and worn; ragged
- vigilance: careful attention to details in order to avoid problems or to notice them as soon as they appear (a soldier on guard duty must have vigilance at all times)
- In the US, which day is normally Flag Day?
- Why was that date chosen?
- Which US President first proclaimed Flag Day (in 1916)?
- In what year did Congress establish National Flag Day?
- What does the “constellation” of stars represent?
- What job did Betsy Ross have? (Why is she famous?)
- According to the article, what do the three colors in America’s flag stand for? Please tell your classmates about your country’s flag (what picture is on it? what do the colors stand for? etc).
- Look at the photo of the large flag outside Betsy Ross’ house. How is it different from a modern US flag? Can you explain the difference?
- In your country, where do people see the nation’s flag? Do individuals display a flag outside their home? Inside a church? At schools? Do you think there are too many flags in public, too few flags, or “just enough”? Explain.
- Betsy Ross is one of America’s “Founding Mothers”. Tell a classmate the name and a simple fact about a famous woman in your country.
- In America, sometimes the US flag is only half-way up the flag pole. This normally marks someone’s death or a national tragedy. Do you have a similar practice in your country? Are flags used or flown in other ways?
- If you still have time, talk about other popular “national symbols” in the US or in your country. (Examples might include a famous bridge or building, “the Statue of Liberty” in New York, etc.)
Information sources include https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flag_Day_(United_States) & https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flags_of_the_U.S._states_and_territories (June 13, 2020), flaghttps://www.publicdomainpictures.net.jpg, https://www1.cbn.com/cbnnews/us/2020/june/on-flag-day-remembering-the-woman-who-sewed-old-glory-into-existence, and https://www.aoc.gov/flags.
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