The 4th of July is an interesting American holiday that is bound by countless traditions that include parades, fireworks, family picnics and of course, as many hot dogs as one can eat. I must admit that I have bowed to the pressure of friends and neighbors and will be hosting this year's neighborhood BBQ complete with hamburgers (even though I will be offering some sauteed mushrooms and stilton cheese for those with a more sophisticated palate) but I do draw the line at hotdogs!
Like most countries, American citizens are very proud of their flag and proudly fly it daily, but especially on the 4th of July. You probably think you know all there is to know about the flag but here are a few facts that may just surprise you:
- Betsy Ross may not have been the original designer of the American flag as you Americans were taught in grade school. Say it ain't so! According to records from the first Congressional Congress, a gentleman named Francis Hopkinson was the original designer.
- Five of the six flags planted on the moon during Apollo expeditions are still standing!
- Americans regulate everything so, of course there are federal regulations (the US Flag Code) governing the use of the flag for advertising, for example.
- The official colors of the flag are white, old glory red and old glory blue and have their own HTML code and Pantone equivalent.
- Speaking of Old Glory, the name was simply a nickname a ship captain gave to a flag he had been gifted with and the name stuck ever since as a nickname for the flag.
- A little TV trivia-- in the pilot episode of "Gilligan's Island" a flag being flown at half-staff can be seen in the background. The reason it is being flown half-staff is because the show was being filmed on November 22, 1963, the day President Kennedy was assassinated.
Thank you to the National Journal for this information and Happy 4th of July!