On Saturday, June 14, 1777, the original flag design sewn by seamstress Elizabeth Griscom Ross was authorized by Congress to be the symbol of America. Although recognized and proven in May 1776 to have sown the first American flag, there are historians who still wonder if Ross actually designed it.
The design, which historians believe was intended to be a reminder of the birth of the nation, had 13 stripes -- seven red and six white -- that represented the original 13 colonies.
There were 13 white five-pointed stars in a field of blue that represented a new constellation and the birth of the 13 colonies as a unified country.
Since then, different versions of the flag have been adopted as new states joined America, but the red and white stripes with the blue background have remained the same.
The star for Hawaii was the last of the 50 states recognized on the current flag design.
While many Americans will display a flag on Sunday, according to the Flag Code, they need to remember that a flag should be lighted at all times, either by sunlight or by an appropriate light source and should be flown in fair weather, unless the flag is designed for inclement weather use.
Standards of Respect
The Flag Code, which formalizes and unifies the traditional ways in which respect should be provided to the flag, also contains specific instructions on how the flag is not to be used, including:
* It should never be dipped to any person or thing. A flag is flown upside down only as a distress signal,
* It should not be used as a drapery, or for covering a speaker's desk, draping a platform, or for any decoration in general. Bunting of blue, white and red stripes is available for these purposes. The blue stripe of the bunting should be on the top,
* It should never be used for any advertising purpose such as embroidered, printed or otherwise impressed on articles like cushions, handkerchiefs, napkins, boxes, or anything intended to be discarded after temporary use. Advertising signs should not be attached to the staff or halyard,
* It should not be used as part of a costume or athletic uniform, with the exception a flag patch may be used on the uniform of military personnel, fireman, policeman and members of patriotic organizations,
* It should never have any mark, insignia, letter, word, number, figure, drawing or image of any kind placed or attached to it, and
* A flag should never be used as a receptacle for receiving, holding, carrying, or delivering anything.
"No disrespect should be shown to the flag of the United States of America," Section 8 of the Flag Code.
"The flag represents a living country and is itself considered a living thing," Section 8J of the Flag Code.
To learn more about flag etiquette, log onto www.usflag.org.