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Flag Day continues proud tradition dating back to June 14, 1777

Flag Day can be easy to overlook because it falls between Memorial Day and Independence Day on June 14. The non-profit group American Journey Experience shared how the holiday began and why it is important.

Roughly a year after the American colonies declared independence from the British, the Second Continental Congress was in the middle of writing the Articles of Confederation when the issue of the flag came up. At the beginning of the American Revolution, the colonies marched into battle under their own banners, but when the Continental Army was formed in 1775, Congress created a flag to unify the colonial armies. The problem was this flag resembled the one flown by the British, which did not inspire the troops who rallied under it

READ: Why young adults should be proud of the American Flag

On June 14, 1777, the Second Continental Congress decided to create a new flag, declaring, “Resolved, That the flag of the United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white: that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation.”

The new constellation they demanded would soon be emblematic of the light of liberty America would boldly proclaim to the world. Through her unequivocal Declaration of Independence and Constitution, the nation pledged to be a purveyor and respecter of the inalienable rights so yearned for by the colonies under the crown. Though imperfect, America fulfilled its promise to be the guardian of freedom for those stateside, and at times, abroad.

Since 1777, the American flag earned more stars as states were added to the union. It also accompanied U.S. servicemen to battlefields in Africa, Europe, the Middle East, the Pacific and other parts of the world. To this day it accompanies American men and women who have died in the line of service, draped over their coffins on their way home.

The American Journey Experience, a museum and education initiative, has been honored to carry a World War II-era flag that commemorates D-Day. Students who visit the museum learn about the battles and great sacrifices this flag has seen. It is one of a handful of surviving 48-star constellations that stormed the beaches of Normandy on June 6, 1944, where nearly 7,000 U.S. soldiers perished. The flag was flown from the U.S. Navy Vessel LST-493, a landing craft that carried allied tanks to shore. It landed on four of the five beaches, supporting Canada at Juno, the British at Gold and the U.S. at Utah and Omaha. Though frayed, it still inspires a sense of pride and devotion in those who stand before it.

–Dwight Widaman | Metro Voice