Many people know June 14 is recognized as flag Day in the United States. Unfortunately, some people don't know why that particular date has been set aside to celebrate the American flag. More flags than usual are displayed on June 14 every year.

Flag Day is not a federal holiday, so don't expect to get a day off from work. However, Flag Day is a state holiday in New York and Pennsylvania.

June 14, 1777

Flag Day dates back to June 14, 1777. The Second Continental Congress requested an official flag for the United States 240 years ago. Not only was a request made for a United States flag to be the national symbol, but Congress described how the flag was to be made.

The Second Continental Congress requested thirteen stripes to represent the thirteen original colonies that received their independence from Britain. The alternating stripes were to be red and white. Not only would there be thirteen stripes, but there would be thirteen stars to represent a new constellation. Today, there are 50 stars on the flag that represent the 50 states. That means the flag had to be changed over the years to represent the new states after they were added.

Hawaii was the last state to be added in 1959. The last of the 27 changes to the flag was made in 1960. That means the flag has not been changed in 57 years, the longest time being without a change. Puerto Rico has been in the news for wanting to become the 51st state.

If that happens, the flag will be changed again.

Last flag change

The flag that we see displayed today has all 50 stars with points facing up on a blue background. The 13 horizontal stripes are alternated in red and white. There are seven red stripes and six white stripes. The 50 stars in the blue rectangle are in nine rows with six stars in each row.

That flag was designed by 17-year-old high school student, Robert G. Heft, of Lancaster, Ohio. After his teacher assigned a project for the design of the current flag, President Dwight D. Eisenhower chose Heft's design from 1,500 entries.

Everybody sees the red, white and blue colors, but many might not know that the colors had to be specific shades and not just any red, white and blue.

The white had to be pure white and not off white or another shade of white. The white represents purity and hope. The old glory red represents zeal. The old glory blue signifies God, loyalty, and justice.

On Flag Day, expect to see more flags waving in the air from people's porches and little flags in pencil holders on your co-workers' desks. Restaurants often serve red, white and blue cupcakes. Many people are patriotic and might even wear the colors of the flag to work and school. Teachers might even give a brief history of Flag Day.