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Flag Day: Happy Birthday, Old Glory!

Display your Stars and Stripes Thursday with pride

Happy Flag Day!

June 14 has been the official observance of the adoption of the Stars and Strips as the official flag of the United States by Congress, which happened on June 14, 1777.

President Woodrow Wilson on May 30, 1916, issued a proclamation calling for a nationwide observance of Flag Day. And in 1949, President Truman signed an act of congress designating the 14th day of June as National Flag Day.

On June 14th, 2004, the 108th U.S. Congress voted unanimously on H.R. 662 that Flag Day originated in Ozaukee County, Waubeka Wisconsin, when in 1885, a teacher named BJ Cigrand, arranged for his pupils  to observe June 14 (then the 108th anniversary of the official adoption of the Stars and Stripes) as "Flag Birthday."

In numerous magazines and newspaper articles and public addresses over the following years, Cigrand continued to enthusiastically advocate the observance of June 14 as "Flag Birthday" or "Flag Day."

If you plan to let your patriotic colors fly Thursday in honor of Flag Day, the U.S. Flag Code gives guidelines for properly displaying the American flag.

The rules are purely advisory and there’s no enforcement or penalty for violating them, though there are some exceptions for the District of Columbia, and states can make their own flag laws.

Do’s

• Whether hanging horizontally or vertically, the union (the 50 stars) should be uppermost and to the observer’s left (if the flag is in a window, the observer is the person in the street).

• Display the flag outside from sunrise to sunset only, unless it’s illuminated at night.

• When displayed with other state, local or society flags, the U.S. flag should be at the peak (if on the same rope that hoists the flag); at the center and highest point (if in a cluster of staffs); and hoisted first and lowered last (if on adjacent poles). No other flag should be above it or to the flag’s right.

• From crossed staffs, the U.S. flag should be on the observer’s left, with its staff in front.

• On a car, the flag staff should be fixed to the chassis or clamped to the right fender.

Don’ts

• Don’t display the flag during inclement weather (unless it’s an all-weather flag).

• Never let the flag touch anything beneath it, including the ground, water or merchandise.

• Don’t drape the flag over vehicles, wear it as apparel or use it as bedding or drapery.

• Never carry the flag flat or horizontal, or festoon it or draw it up in folds. It should fly aloft and free.

• Never put any mark, insignia, words, pictures or designs on it.

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