Has true designer been forgotten?
Published: Saturday, June 9th, 2007
On June 6, President Bush did what Congress told him to do. Of course, it wasn’t the current Congress that President Bush took his orders from, but: The Congress that on Aug. 3, 1949, designated June 14 of each year as Flag Day and requested the president to issue an annual proclamation calling for its observance . And the Congress that on June 9, 1966, told the president to annually issue a proclamation designating the week in which June 14 occurs as National Flag Week. Why June 14? Because on June 14, 1777, the Continental Congress “Resolved that the flag of the United States be made of thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new Constellation.” But who actually designed the flag that Congress described? You may think it was Betsy Ross. But it was more likely a man you never heard of, Francis Hopkinson. He, Francis Hopkinson, was a signer of the Declaration of Independence, a congressman (from New Jersey) and an artist who did a great deal of designing for the government. And, according to http://www.usflag.org/ “The journals of the Continental Congress clearly show that he designed the flag.” In 1870. William Canby, Ross’s grandson told the Historical Society of Pennsylvania that in 1836 when he was 11 years old, his grandmother was on her deathbed, she told him the story about Gen. Washington, the two congressmen, and sewing the first flag. There was no other evidence, but in 1892, artist Charles H. Weisgerber created a painting entitled “Birth of Our Nations Flag” depicting the meeting of George Washington, two congressmen and Betsy Ross holding the flag she'd sewn. The painting shows the flag with the stars in a circle. First exhibited at the Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893, reproduced by the Betsy Ross Memorial Association, and in many books, the painting proved a powerful persuader. Even the Post Office believed in Betsy. A U.S. stamp was issued for the "200th Anniversary of the Birth of Betsy Ross." It reproduced the painting.That was in 1952. And the stamp cost 3 cents. Today, you can see that “Birth of Our Nations Flag” painting in a number of places on the Internet. Just look at http://www.ushistory.org/betty Francis Hopkinson? He has no association. Who’s the winner? You decide. Whatever you decide, Flag Day and Flag Week will certainly be proclaimed by the next president. Who will that be? You will decide. Chelle Delaney is associate publisher of the Quay County Sun. She can be reached by calling 461-1952 or by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org
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