Whether or not this is true to history, most people associate Betsy Ross with being the person believed to have sewn the first American flag which was adopted in 1777. But, how much more do you know about our American Flag and the day our Nation sets aside each year to celebrate it , known as Flag Day?
On August 3, 1949, President Truman signed an Act of Congress making June 14 National Flag Day. But, the celebrations on June 14 recognizing the importance of the American Flag had begun long before this signing which made it a National holiday. The official celebration on June 14 was started in 1885 by a Wisconsin school teacher, BJ Cigrand, when he put together an observance filled with a day to celebrate ‘Flag Birthday.’ You can read a detailed history behind Flag Day at USFlag.org.
The American Flag has a rich history that can create exciting lessons for homeschoolers, even during the summer when many have set lesson plans aside for a few months. A great place to find resources is at your local library or the Family Vision Library in St. Charles. You might discover facts about our flag you never knew.
According to The History Channel’s web site, for instance, the Pledge of Allegiance wasn’t always how we have learned and recite it today. The original pledge was part of a children’s magazine newsletter called The Youth’s Companion. According to The History Channel, the original pledge was published in The Youth’s Companion, and went like this:
I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands; one nation indivisible, with liberty and Justice for all.
In 1924, “my flag” was changed to read, “the flag of the United States of America.” In 1954, Congress legislated the words “under God” be added to the pledge after President Eisenhower urged that this be done. According to the History Channel web site, the 1954 legislation also decided:
citizens should stand upright and place the right hand over the heart while reciting the pledge. Men not in uniform should remove any nonreligious head covering. In 1943 the United States Supreme Court ruled that no person can be required to recite the pledge.
There are other rules regarding the care, display and proper handling of the American Flag. Some of these rules have made the news for their violations, including the 2010 All-State Sugar Bowl mishaps. How much do you and your students know about the proper care of the flag? Take this quiz from Associated Content to find out. Then, go to ushistory.org to take a quiz on Flag Trivia.
usa-flag-site.org gives a full history of the American Flag, has links to Kids Resources, Patriotic Songs and more to get a well-rounded picture of the history behind our flag.
PBS.org also has a rich resource of lesson plans and classroom resources for Pre-K through 5th grade students.
Pictures of the changing American Flag throughout history at ushistory.org
Other interesting Quotes and Notes about the US Flag at ushistory.org
Enchanted Learning Activities and crafts for Flag Day – Most materials to make these crafts can be found at local Michaels, Hobby Lobby, Office Max, Office Depot or Target or Wal-Mart. If you’re lucky, you may even be able to find most of the materials at a local Dollar Tree and save some money in the process of learning.
St. Louis Homeschooling Examiner’s Memorial Day lessons gives more information about our Flag.
Now that you know more about our American Flag, display it proudly on it’s birthday this year on Monday, June 14.
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