Monday can be Flag Day, an occasion marking the day in 1777 when the Second Continental Congress authorized a design for the primary United States flag. 13 stars, white on blue. 13 stripes, alternating purple and white. Sound acquainted?
In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson known as the U.S. flag “the logo of our unity, our energy, our thought and objective as a nation.” He requested that June 14 be celebrated annually as Flag Day, a day to consider the nation’s beliefs and rules.
Though Congress made Flag Day a nationwide occasion in 1949, it isn’t an official federal vacation. Sandwiched between Memorial Day and the Fourth of July, that are federal holidays, it usually will get neglected.
However not at Peter Ansoff’s home. He’ll be hoisting a few of the greater than 100 flags he owns up the three flagpoles in his Annandale entrance yard.
Ansoff is a vexillologist (pronounced vex-ill-LOLL-oh-gist). That’s a giant phrase for somebody who research the historical past and which means of flags. As president of the 700-member North American Vexillological Affiliation, he enjoys sharing his information and love of flags.
Whereas some folks see flags as simply colourful items of fabric, Ansoff says there are different people who find themselves enthusiastic about what they signify. His personal pleasure began when he was a child and got here throughout colourful footage of flags in an encyclopedia.
“Our neighbors had a flagpole, and I advised my dad I wished one, too,” he recalled. His mom purchased him his first flag and sewed others for him.
Ansoff doesn’t name himself a collector. He does have a number of uncommon flags, however principally “I purchase them to fly them,” he stated.
Some are copies of the 27 official flags america has had since 1777. Ansoff additionally has a number of unofficial U.S. flags, ensigns (EN-sins) flown by American and British service provider ships, and flags of different nations. On July 1, a nationwide vacation in Canada, he hoists its red-and-white maple-leaf banner. And if it’s a chilly winter day in Northern Virginia, he’ll heat issues up by flying the flag of a toasty South Pacific island.
Ansoff can’t (or gained’t) decide one flag as his favourite. For a photograph for KidsPost, he selected a reproduction of the Serapis (sir-APE-us) ensign, named for the British warship that American naval hero John Paul Jones captured off the coast of England in 1779.
Take a detailed have a look at it. How does it differ from the U.S. 50-star flag?
The unique Serapis banner is misplaced to historical past. However vexillologists similar to Ansoff preserve its reminiscence aloft.
Enjoyable flag details• The story that Betsy Ross sewed the primary American flag was first advised by her household practically 100 years later. Ross is thought to have sewn flags, however there is no such thing as a proof she made the historic one.
• The massive “Star-Spangled Banner” that in 1814 impressed our nationwide anthem has 15 stars and 15 stripes. Through the years, items of the flag got away as souvenirs, and certainly one of its stars was reduce out. What occurred to it stays a thriller. You may see this flag — the one official American flag with 15 stripes — on the Smithsonian’s Nationwide Museum of American Historical past.
• The primary flag planted on the moon, in the course of the 1969 Apollo 11 mission, traveled there in a case connected to 1 leg of the lunar module to avoid wasting house. In all, six U.S. flags have been left on the moon. In 2012, the U.S. house company reported that a minimum of three have been nonetheless standing, although all six have in all probability been bleached white by daylight.
• Flags don’t have an expiration date. It doesn’t matter what number of stars or stripes it has: As soon as a U.S. flag, at all times a U.S. flag. You may fly any model you want.
• The 50-star flag has been in use since 1960, the longest of any official U.S. flag. Credit score for its design went to Ohio highschool pupil Bob Heft. He received a B-minus grade for his American historical past class venture; his trainer modified it to an A when the federal government adopted the design. Heft additionally designed a 51-star flag, which is standing by if and when it’s wanted.