flag day facts
A pedestrian carrying an umbrella walks through a Memorial Day display of United States flags on the Boston Common in Boston, Massachusetts May 23, 2013. The American flag is celebrated every second Sunday of June. In 2015, Flag Day falls on June 14th. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

The American National Flag Day is celebrated on the second Sunday of June. This year, that falls on June 14th. Most other countries celebrate their flag on a specified day as well. In the U.S., some states celebrate other flag days. Expect to see lots of costumes, tattoos, and other American flags on display this Sunday. If you're attending a patriotic flag event and want to impress, soak up some American flag trivia for American Flag Day. We'll work you through the basics and then move on to some really obscure stuff.


1) The American flag has many nicknames.

2) It’s called the Stars and Bars, or the “Stars and Stripes,” also the name of a top military news service.

3) And the “Star-Spangled Banner,” the name of the song by Francis Scott Key that eventually became the U.S. national anthem.

4) The American Flag is also called Old Glory, which was actually the name of a specific U.S. flag, a 10 ft. by 17 ft. the tapestry that originally hung in a whaling ship. The flag has a long history and is currently on display in the Smithsonian Museum.

5) In the 1780s the concentric and circular 13-starred design was called the “flower flag” (花旗) by the Chinese residents who first saw it in their ports.

I Pledge Allegiance To The Flag, And Other Stuff

6) It’s got its own oath, the Pledge of Allegiance. If you’ve ever been an American grade-school student, you’ve probably recited “I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

7) The phrase "under God" was added to the pledge by a Congressional act approved on June 14, 1954. At that time, President Eisenhower said: "in this way we are reaffirming the transcendence of religious faith in America's heritage and future; in this way we shall constantly strengthen those spiritual weapons which forever will be our country's most powerful resource in peace and war."

Flag Etiquette: Ignored By The Irreverent And Patriotic Alike

8) The U.S. Flag Code was established in 1923. It’s totally irrelevant to average citizens and not enforceable, but it does govern official flag use. When to fly a flag at half-mast, how to fold a flag, and when and when not to burn it; these and dozens of other rules are codified in the document.

9) The American flag is not supposed to be burned or even touch the ground, but the Supreme has upheld the right to do deface the flag as freedom of speech.

10) The Flag Code also bans the use of the flag as clothing. That’s right, not USA T-Shirts, bandanas or bikinis.

11) Disrespect of the flag is still a controversial issue. Many Americans would like to see flag-burning banned. Military Veterans have attacked protesters in unrelated incidents in the past few months. The most recent involved a man who threw coffee on Westboro Church (the “God hates fags” people) member who was dragging a flag outside a funeral for Beau Biden in June 2015. In April of the same year, an Air Force Veteran was restrained by police after trying to stop Valdosta State University student protesters who were stepping on a flag. Ironically, that Vet -- Michelle Manhart -- had posed nude with the American flag, dragging it on the ground; both clear signs of disrespect according to the Flag Code.

Geography And Economics, From D.R. To The Moon

12) Six U.S. flags are on the moon, planted by Apollo missions 11 through 17.

13) The Dominican Republic is the top consumer of U.S.-made flags exports.

14) Ninety-four percent of U.S. flags are imported, mostly from China.

15) Foreign-made flags are banned from military use, however, following legislation that was part of the 2014 omnibus bill.

16) States like Texas are trying to expand USA-made flag rules to all public uses.

17) The most expensive “flag” ever sold cost $36 million. This depiction of the Star-Spangled banner (and nothing else) was painted on canvas by Jasper John.

18) On September 11th, Wal-Mart sold 17 times as many American flags as on a usually day. In the ensuing year, they sold more than three times as many flags as the previous year.

American Flag’s Most Random Historical Facts

19) Speaking of 9/11, the American flag was first flown in battle on September 11th, 1777, in the revolutionary battle of Brandywine.

20) We’re not sure which flag it was however, as no official flag existed before 1819. One of the first “American flags” was a white flag with a pine tree on it.

Nerdy Flag Facts

21) Want to make a U.S. flag online? The Department of State has standardized the web colors for the U.S. flag, including RGB and HEX codes (which you can use to set the colors in image software or HTML, respectively). Other parameters concerning the flag, including dimensions, CYMK, and Pantone, can be found on this website.

22) White: RGB: 255,255,255 HEX: #FFFFFF

23) Old Glory Red: RGB: 187,19,62 HEX: #BB133E

24) Blue: RGB: 0,33,71 HEX: #002147

Bikini Atoll Protest Flag

25) The Bikini Atoll flag closely resembles Old Glory not out of inspiration, but as a protest. The flag includes a black star for each of the 3 islands decimated by nuclear weapons testing in 1954.

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