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Tuesday, June 14, 2016

June 14, 1777

I present to you a historic moment in the Tuesday Timeline feature.  This is officially the furthest that I have ever gone back in time with the Tuesday Timeline - well, aside from that April Fools Day joke I pulled a few years back.  Trust me though...this history lesson will be worth it.  Especially if you live south of the Canadian border.

I'll leave you with that thought as we take a look at some of the events that took place throughout history on June 14.

1158 - Munich, Germany is founded by Henry the Lion

1287 - Kublai Khan defeats the force of Nayan and other traditional Borjigin princes in Manchuria and East Mongolia

1775 - The United States Army is founded under the original name of the Continental Army

1789 - Bourbon is first produced by Reverend Elijah Craig

1900 - Hawaii becomes a territory of the United States - it would become an official state fifty-nine years later

1907 - Women in Norway are granted the right to vote

1928 - Ernesto "Che" Guevara (d. 1967) is born in Rosario, Argentina

1940 - Paris, France falls under German occupation forcing the Allies to retreat during World War II

1945 - Brazilian director Carlos Reichenbach is born - he would die on his 67th birthday in 2002

1949 - A rhesus monkey named Albert becomes the first monkey to go into outer space

1954 - Dwight D. Eisenhower signs a bill that places the words "under God" into the United States Pledge of Allegiance

1964 - Railway workers at a London station are shocked to find a twelve-year-old girl inside of a tea chest alive; she decided to mail herself to The Beatles!

1967 - Mariner 5 is launched towards Venus on the same day that The People's Republic of China tests its first hydrogen bomb

1985 - TWA Flight 847 is hijacked by Hezbollah shortly after taking off from Athens, Greece

1986 - A deadly accident takes place at the West Edmonton Mall in Edmonton, Alberta after the Mindbender roller coaster smashes into a concrete pillar after failing to go around a loop - three people are killed

1994 - Riots break out in Vancouver, British Columbia following the Stanley Cup Playoffs in which New York Rangers win the championship against the Vancouver Canucks; over 200 are arrested and damage is estimated at $1.1 million - on the same day, composer Henry Mancini dies at the age of 70

1997 - Actor Richard Jaeckel dies at the age of 70

2002 - An asteroid misses the Earth by a narrow margin - only 75,000 miles!

2015 - 6,500 acres are destroyed following a wildfire near Willow, Alaska

And the following famous faces are turning one year older today!  Happy birthday to Don Newcombe, Marla Gibbs, Jack Bannon, Jonathan Raban, Joe Grifasi, Donald Trump, Hiroshi Miyauchi, Jim Lea, Alan White, Eddie Mekka, David Thomas, Will Patton, Paul O'Grady, Nick Van Eede, Boy George, Chris DeGarmo, Yasmine BleethTraylor Howard, Campbell Brown, Faizon Love, Eric Desjardins, Steffi Graf, Heather McDonald, Dominic Brown, Sutan "Raja" Amrull, Alan Carr, J.R. Martinez, Siobhan Donaghy, Kevin McHale, Lucy Hale, and Courtney Halverson.

Now, as I mentioned before, this is the oldest Tuesday Timeline date that I have ever talked about in this space.  It's so old, we're going back over a couple of centuries!

How about we take a look at what happened exactly two hundred and thirty-nine years ago today on June 14, 1777?

Yep.  We're going back to a time in which Canada wasn't a country, and the United States was just a few weeks shy of celebrating its first birthday as a unified nation.  Of course, back in those days, America was only made up of thirteen colonies/states - Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, and Virginia.

When the United States officially became an independent nation on July 4, 1776, the nation needed its own flag to symbolize the event.  The only problem was that back in 1776, the Continental Congress wouldn't legally adopt any flags that contained a star shape in a blue field.  As a result, the first flag of the United States looked something like this.

In the corner was the British Union Jack - the country that America declared its independence from - and the red and white stripes represented the colonies that declared its independence from Great Britain.  Count the stripes and you will see that there are exactly thirteen.

That design would last for eleven months before the Continental Congress would pass a new bill regarding the design of the flag.  That bill was passed on June 14, 1777.  During that time, Congress had a change of heart over the inclusion of stars in the flag design, so the decision was made to remove the Union Jack from the original design, and instead place thirteen stars inside of a solid dark blue background representing the first thirteen states to join the union.

The design of the American flag is credited to New Jersey resident and naval flag designer Francis Hopkinson.  Though some may say that this is false, it is widely believed to be true, as Hopkinson was the only one to make that claim during his own lifetime and reportedly sent several letters and bills to Congress supposedly proving it.  But there are some who also claim it to be false, as Hopkinson's original design had seven white stripes and six red stripes (the opposite of what the current American flag holds), as well as six pointed stars instead of five.  At this point in time, it's hard to say what the real truth was, as nobody living in 1777 is still alive.  But it is generally believed that Hopkinson came up with the concept.

It is also widely believed that Betsy Ross was the first person in the country to sew the American flag after being given a pencil sketch by George Washington himself - a design that was like Hopkinson's plan except the stars were five pointed and arranged in a circle.  However, there is no evidence that suggests that Betsy Ross was given that design, or even was responsible for sewing the flag at all.  In fact, some descendants of flagmaker Rebecca Young claim that Young was the one who sewed the first American flag, not Ross.

Whatever the case, the first American flag was publicly raised in June 1777 and remained the flag's symbol ever since.  Though, the original design was modified with the creation of each state.  The first amendment was made in 1795 with the addition of Kentucky and Vermont to the Union, and twenty-five subsequent redesigns were made over the next two centuries - the final one being made in 1960 with the addition of the fiftieth state, Hawaii.

And the fifty star design just happens to be the one that has lasted the longest - nearly 56 years and counting.  So, unless something drastic happens such as Quebec separating from Canada and becoming the fifty-first state, I suspect this design will continue to hold true.

So, whether you refer to it as "Old Glory", the Star-Spangled Banner, or simply the American flag, know that it was on this day 239 years ago, it was first introduced.

Which could explain why "Flag Day" has become an American holiday.

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