The American Flag is an enduring symbol of the United States of America. The flag is seen often at ball parks, in front of public and private business buildings, in school classrooms, and so many other places. I dare say that most people who reside in or have learned about the United States can recognize the flag easily by sight. Do you know these 10 Fascinating American Flag Facts, though?
1. NASA’s spacecraft and launch vehicles have always been decorated with the American flag (NASA.gov).
2. Astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin planted the first American flag on the moon (NASA.gov).
3. The American flag does not have be destroyed if it accidentally touches the ground, as long as it remains suitable for display (American Legion).
4.The nickname “Old Glory” was given to the American Flag in 1831 by Captain William Driver of the sailing vessel Charles Doggett. When Driver passed away some years later he was buried at the Nashville, Tennessee City Cemetery.
5. On May 30, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed June 14 as Flag Day commemorating the adoption of the flag of the United States back on June 14, 1777 by resolution of the Second Continental Congress. Today, various cities across the United States celebrate Flag Day with parades (Wikipedia).
6. According to the U.S. Flag Code:
- The flag should be raised briskly and lowered ceremoniously.
- The American flag should never be used to cover a ceiling.
- The flag should never be displayed with the union down, except as a signal of dire distress in instances of extreme danger to life or property.
- The national march of the United States is designated as “The Stars and Stripes Forever” by John Philip Sousa.
7. The famous photo Raising The Flag on Iwo Jima, taken in 1945, became the only photo to win the Pulitzer Prize in the same year that it was taken. This photo depicted six United States marines raising the American flag over Mount Suribachi (Wikipedia).
8. The flag that inspired the National Anthem is on display at the National Museum of American History in Washington D.C. The 30 ft. by 34 ft. flag is displayed in a a two-story chamber that allows it to lie at a 10-degree angle in an environmentally-controlled setting (Smithsonian).
9. The American flag first flew at the summit of Mount Everest in 1963 when Jim Whittaker became the first American to reach that point and plant the flag there. Whittaker was also the first full-time employee of REI, a company well-known for its outdoor gear (USHistory.org and Wikipedia).
10. When you have an American Flag that is worn out and needs retirement, check with your local Boy Scout Council because they will often take flags and give them a proper retirement. The Cub Scout and Boy Scout programs teach Scouts the proper ways to display, store, and retire the flag. And if you have never seen a flag retirement ceremony, I highly recommend it. A very moving experience!
In addition to the American Flag Facts above, you may also enjoy checking out: