Arago: Exhibits

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The Birth of Flag Day

Union patriotic cover

A Union patriotic cover featuring the 34-star American flag sent during the second month of the Civil War.

The various nicknames and legends surrounding the American flag illustrate the symbolic status Americans associate with it. Several patriotic citizens felt that Americans should take time to remember the importance of this symbol and advocated for the creation of a day to honor the flag of the United States.

Though adopted in 1777, it was not until 1861 that the American flag and the day of its adoption would be recognized as a symbol of freedom and national unity. George Morris, a resident of Hartford, Connecticut, is credited with suggesting a 'flag day' to honor the adoption of the American flag. On June 14, 1861, residents of Hartford participated in a patriotic program, during which they prayed for the success of the Federal Arms and the preservation of the Union, as the Civil War was just beginning. It would be twenty years before another documented 'flag day' would be celebrated again.