American Flags Appear in Unusual Places

In addition to adorning countless homes, facilities and businesses for Flag Day, Independence Day and other holidays, American flags have been planted in plenty of unusual places such as the North Pole, South Pole and Mount Everest. Thanks to a 1989 Supreme Court decision, stars-and-stripes designs also appear on countless articles of clothing, advertisements and even foodstuffs. The farthest-flung flags ever planted, however, are the six left by the manned moon missions of the Apollo era. They are now deteriorating and likely completely white, having been bleached by unfiltered ultraviolet light. #FlagDay

How to Show Respect for the Flag

The layout of the U.S. flag wasn’t codified until 1912, so flags dating before this period sometimes show odd proportions and unusual arrangements of the stars, the Smithsonian says, but most flag makers used straight rows of stars and similar proportions. While Flag Day has been celebrated since 1885, the U.S. Flag Code was published on June 14, 1923 to help establish a set of rules for civilian flag ceremonies, display and maintenance. While 1989’s Texas v. Johnson declared flag federal anti-desecration laws unconstitutional, most people continue to follow recommendations on treating the American flag with respect. #FlagDay

How the Flag’s 13 Stripes Came to Be

Long credited for designing and sewing the first U.S. flag, Philadelphia upholsterer Betsy Ross probably didn’t have anything to do it, says Reader’s Digest. Grandson William Canby appears to have invented that account, presenting it to the Historical Society of Pennsylvania in 1870. That first official design included 13 stripes for the original 13 states, but when Vermont and Kentucky joined the Union, a new flag with 15 stars and 15 stripes debuted — and that’s the version that was immortalized in Francis Scott Key’s “Star-Spangled Banner.” Later designs returned to the original 13 stripes and added stars for new states. #FlagDay

Celebrate the Start of Summer

The unofficial start to #summer, Memorial Day is ideal for a family activity, even if it’s just a short road trip or staycation. Celebrate those who gave their lives for the country by paying your respects at a cemetery, flying the flag, and making red-white-and-blue treats for a picnic or cookout, Country Living suggests. Parades are another great option, as are quick jaunts to a beach, park or nature preserve. It was a long and likely stressful winter, so take advantage of the extended weekend and — as Grandma used to say — go get some air in your fur. #MemorialDay

The Meaning of POW/MIA Bracelets

While the POW/MIA flag “reminds us to never forget our prisoners of war and missing in action,” says, bracelets were introduced in the 1970s as a more personal form of remembrance. They are still worn by the friends and relatives of Vietnam’s 725 POWs and more than 1,600 MIAs, as well as those remembering service members imprisoned or missing in action from other wars. Voices in Vital America (VIVA) “distributed nearly 5 million bracelets during the 1960s and 1970s to draw attention to the missing men,” says POW/MIA Families, which continues its work today.