BEDFORD, Va. (WFXR) — Flag Day has been recognized since 1916 and is a symbol for Americans across the country.

President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed the first official flag day, but it is not considered a national holiday like the Fourth of July or Veterans Day. However, there is a bit of controversy regarding who created the nation’s flag.

“According to American tradition, Betsy Ross was the designer of the flag, but there is only one problem. There is no evidence for that. There’s no real evidence against it either. It’s entirely possible, but we really can’t prove Betsy Ross’ role,” said John Long, director of education at the National D-Day Memorial. “In fact, Francis Hopkinson, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, has been credited with the basic design as well. We may never know who is really responsible for the flag, but that doesn’t change the meaning to each of us.”

The Flag Manufacturers Association of America (FMAA) cleared up the controversy with a tweet they posted on Feb. 4:

#FlagFact: The designer of the American flag was Francis Hopkinson, a signer of the Declaration of Independence as a delegate from New Jersey.


There have been several variations of the American flag and no true national flag until June 14, 1777.

“Flag Day, of course, celebrates the flag and the flag is an emblem of our nation,” said Long. “There have been men, women throughout history who fought beneath that flag, sacrificed for it. And every time we see it flying, it ought to remind us of the freedoms that we have.”

According to Long, who spends time with veterans and active service members at the memorial in Bedford, stated they see the American flag differently than citizens.

“They see the flag under which friends have lost their lives,” said Long. “They are always ready to make those sacrifices for the flag, for our nation, we ought to respect that.”

Long told WFXR News about what the American flag means to him.

“I will often think of the men of D-DAY. They came ashore carrying that flag or technically a 48-star variety of it, an earlier version. But they came ashore as the liberators of Europe, as the ones who were going to conquer tyranny and establish a free Europe,” said Long. “For the Europeans, when they saw that flag come marching into their now-free villages, it was a great moment. I think we ought to think of the ones who carried that flag in battle and who really made a difference in history.”