Today is Flag Day in the United States and so I thought I would introduce you to some flag related vocabulary and briefly explain this holiday and the American flag to you. The American flag has two common nick names by which it is sometimes known; these names are “The Stars and Stripes” and “Old Glory.” Both of these phrases are synonyms for the phrase “American flag.” For example, you might hear someone say “I saw the Stars and Stripes flying in front of your house.”
flag – a piece of cloth, with a design on it that is the symbol of a nation, state, or other organization
Example: All countries have their own national flags.
flag pole – a staff or pole on which a flag is displayed
Example: The flag pole in front of the school does not have a flag on it.
half-mast or half-staff – a position for hanging a flag that is halfway between the top and the bottom of the flag pole
Example: I wonder why the flag is at half-mast?
(Flags are hung at half-mast in the United States to indicate mourning or remembrance, usually when someone important has died.)
to flutter: to move in quick, irregular motions in the wind
Example: The flag fluttered in the light breeze.
to fly: to move through the air
Example: The flag is flying in front of the court house.
to fold: to bend over and upon itself
Example: After taking the flag down it has to be folded before being put away.
to hoist: to raise or lift
The boy hoisted the flag to the top of the flag pole.
to raise – to lift up
Example: We raise and lower the flag every day.
to unfurl – to spread or open; to unfold.
Example: The flag was unfurled before it was attached to the flag pole.
to wave – to sway up and down or to and fro in the wind
Example: The flag is waving in the wind.
The national flag of the United States is made up of thirteen horizontal stripes of red and white, and a blue rectangle in the left-hand corner which contains fifty small, white, five-pointed stars in nine offset horizontal rows of five or six stars. The 50 stars on the flag represent the 50 individual states of the United States of America, while the 13 stripes represent the original thirteen British colonies that first formed a country by declaring independence from Great Britain.
Every June 14th is Flag Day in the United States. Although this is not an official federal holiday it is a day that commemorates the first American flag that was made and adopted as the national flag of this county in 1777. On this day Americans are encouraged to fly a flag in front of their home and in some places there are parades or celebrations.