What is Flag Day? The annual day of commemoration falls on Friday

Flag Day is not a national holiday in the United States, which means government offices like courthouses and United States Post Offices are open

American flags at the Washington Monument near the US Capitol in Washington, DC.

Each year, June 14 marks Flag Day, but many Americans aren't aware of the meaning or significance behind the annual observation.

Here's what to know about the day, which for 2024 year falls on Friday.

According to the United States’ Department of Veterans Affairs, the observance celebrates the anniversary of June 14, 1777, when the Continental Congress approved the design of a flag for the United States, which at the time featured 13 stars and 13 stripes, representing the 13 colonies.

“Resolved, that the flag of the United States be 13 stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be 13 stars, white in a blue field representing a new constellation,” the resolution read.

That flag was carried into battle in the Battle of the Brandywine, according to the VA, and slowly came into more regular use as the American Revolution continued.

As to how the day of observance came into practice, the situation gets a bit murky. In fact, multiple states, including New York, Connecticut and Pennsylvania, all make claims to having originated the commemoration of Flag Day, according to the VA.

New York's claim -- dubbed the "most recognized claim," by the VA -- came in 1889 when a city principal had his school hold patriotic ceremonies to observe the anniversary of the resolution, the VA said.

Soon after that, the state legislature went on to pass a law ensuring public schools hold observances for Lincoln’s Birthday, Washington’s Birthday, Memorial Day and Flag Day, the VA said.

But it wasn’t until 1949 when President Harry Truman signed a bill making Flag Day a day of “national observance.”

The United States flag now flies over all publicly-run buildings in the country, featuring 50 stars representing each of the 50 states. The flag still has 13 stripes, representing the original colonies. At one point the flag did have 15 stripes, but it was reduced back to 13 as the nation continued to grow.

The theory over what inspired the flag is also hotly-debated, with George Washington’s family coat of arms and the flag of the British East India company both floated as potential points of inspiration. Of course, many Americans remember the story of Betsy Ross sewing the flag during the American Revolution in 1776, but historians have cast doubt upon that origin story as well.

Flag Day is not a national holiday in the United States, which means government offices like courthouses and United States Post Offices are open. But, it still inspires parades, essay contests and ceremonies throughout the United States, according to

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