Page:Handbook for Boys.djvu/361

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340
Boy Scouts

thirteen red and white stripes with the Britsh Union Jack in the upper left.hand comer.

The Betsy Ross house has been purchased by the American Flag House and Betsy Ross Memorial Association, and is pointed out as one of the interesting historical places in Philadelphia.

The official history of our flag begins on June 24, 1777, when the American Congress adopted the following resolution proposed by John Adams:

Resolved; That the flag of the thirteen United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white: that the Union be thirteen.stars, white on a blue field, representing a new constellation.

"We take," said Washington, "the star from Heaven, the red from our mother country, separating it by white stripes, thus showing that we have separated from her, and the white stripes shall go down to posterity representing liberty."

In designing the flag there was much discussion as to the arrangement of the stars in the field of blue. It was thought at one time that a new stripe as well as a new star should he added for each new state admitted to the Union. Indeed, in 1794, Congress passed an act to tho effect that on and after May 1, 1795, "the flag of the United State be fifteen stripes, alternate red and white; and that the union be fifteen stars, white in a field of blue. These additional stars and stripes were for the states of Vermont and Kentucky. The impracticability of adding a stripe for each state was apparent as other states began to be admitted. Moreover, the flag of fifteen stripes, it was thought, did not properly represent the Union; therefore, on April 14, 1818, after a period of twenty-one years in which the flag of fifteen stripes had been used, Congress passed an act which finally fixed the general flag of our country, which reads as follows:

An Act to Establish the Flag of the United States.

Sec. 1. Be it enacted, etc., That from and after the fourth day of July next, the flag of the United States be thirteen horizontal stripes, alternate red and white; that the union have twenty stars, white in a blue field.

Sec. 2. Be it further enacted, that, on the admission of every new state into the union, one star be added to the union of the flag; and that such addition shall take effect on the fourth day of July succeeding such admission.

Flag Day

June 14th, the .anniversary of the adoption of the flag, is celebrated as flag day in many of our states.