Year
1777

Congress adopts the Stars and Stripes

During the American Revolution, the Continental Congress adopts a resolution stating that “the flag of the United States be thirteen alternate stripes red and white” and that “the Union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new Constellation.” The national flag, which became known as the “Stars and Stripes,” was based on the “Grand Union” flag, a banner carried by the Continental Army in 1776 that also consisted of 13 red and white stripes. According to legend, Philadelphia seamstress Betsy Ross designed the new canton for the Stars and Stripes, which consisted of a circle of 13 stars and a blue background, at the request of General George Washington. Historians have been unable to conclusively prove or disprove this legend.

With the entrance of new states into the United States after independence, new stripes and stars were added to represent new additions to the Union. In 1818, however, Congress enacted a law stipulating that the 13 original stripes be restored and that only stars be added to represent new states.

On June 14, 1877, the first Flag Day observance was held on the 100th anniversary of the adoption of the Stars and Stripes. As instructed by Congress, the U.S. flag was flown from all public buildings across the country. In the years after the first Flag Day, several states continued to observe the anniversary, and in 1949 Congress officially designated June 14 as Flag Day, a national day of observance.

ALSO ON THIS DAY

Grenfell Tower fire ills 71 in London

Shortly before 1:00 A.M. On June 14, 2017, a fire tore through West London’s 24-story Grenfell tower. Seventy-one people died, scores were injured and hundreds were left homeless in Britain’s deadliest fire in more than a century.The fire started in a Hotpoint brand ...read more

Falkland Islands War ends

After suffering through six weeks of military defeats against Britain’s armed forces, Argentina surrenders to Great Britain, ending the Falkland Islands War.The Falkland Islands, located about 300 miles off the southern tip of Argentina, had long been claimed by the British. ...read more

UNIVAC computer dedicated

On June 14, 1951, the U.S. Census Bureau dedicates UNIVAC, the world’s first commercially produced electronic digital computer. UNIVAC, which stood for Universal Automatic Computer, was developed by J. Presper Eckert and John Mauchly, makers of ENIAC, the first general-purpose ...read more

Bounty mutiny survivors reach Timor

English Captain William Bligh and 18 others, cast adrift from the HMS Bounty seven weeks before, reach Timor in the East Indies after traveling nearly 4,000 miles in a small, open boat.On April 28, Fletcher Christian, the master’s mate on the Bounty, led a successful mutiny ...read more

Germans enter Paris

On this day in 1940, Parisians awaken to the sound of a German-accented voice announcing via loudspeakers that a curfew was being imposed for 8 p.m. that evening-as German troops enter and occupy Paris.British Prime Minister Winston Churchill had tried for days to convince the ...read more

U.S. command announces troop withdrawal

The U.S. command announces that three combat units will be withdrawn from Vietnam. They were the 1st and 2nd Brigades of the U.S. Army 9th Infantry Division and Regimental Landing Team 9 of the 3rd Marine Division–a total of about 13,000 to 14,000 men. These troops were part of ...read more

Jordan leads Bulls to sixth NBA title

On June 14, 1998, Michael Jordan leads the Chicago Bulls to an 87-86 win over the Utah Jazz in Game Six of the NBA Finals to clinch their third consecutive NBA title. Jordan scored 45 points and hit the winning jump shot with 5.2 seconds left on the clock in what seemed a fitting ...read more

California’s Bear Flag revolt begins

Anticipating the outbreak of war with Mexico, American settlers in California rebel against the Mexican government and proclaim the short-lived California Republic.The political situation in California was tense in 1846. Though nominally controlled by Mexico, California was home ...read more

Folk singer Burl Ives is born

Burl Icle Ivanhoe Ives, a prominent folk singer and Academy Award-winning actor, is born on this day in 1909 near Hunt City, Illinois.To almost anyone born in the 1950s or later, the singer Burl Ives is best known for his voiceover work as the jovial Sam the Snowman in the ...read more

Harriet Beecher Stowe is born

Harriet Beecher Stowe, author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, is born on this day in Litchfield, Connecticut, the seventh child of Congregationalist minister Lyman Beecher.Stowe studied at private schools in Connecticut and worked as a teacher in Hartford for five years until her father ...read more

Queen Elizabeth makes Helen Mirren a Dame

On this day in 2003, Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II publishes the list of those she has chosen to appoint as Officers of the Order of the British Empire as part of the traditional Queen’s Birthday Honours. Included on the list were (among others) the soccer star David Beckham, the ...read more

Flash flood devastates Oregon town

A flash flood in Oregon kills 324 people on this day in 1903. The sudden onslaught of water caused millions of dollars in damages to the central Oregon town of Heppner. Nearly a tenth of the United States is made up of floodplains that would normally be inundated with water at ...read more

TWA flight 847 is hijacked by terrorists

TWA Flight 847 from Athens to Rome is hijacked by Shiite Hezbollah terrorists who immediately demand to know the identity of ”those with Jewish-sounding names.” Two of the Lebanese terrorists, armed with grenades and a 9-mm. pistol, then forced the plane to landin Beirut, ...read more

First nationwide civil defense drill held

Over 12 million Americans “die” in a mock nuclear attack, as the United States goes through its first nationwide civil defense drill. Though American officials were satisfied with the results of the drill, the event stood as a stark reminder that the United States—and the ...read more