American Flag and Flag Day

On June 14, 1777, the Continental Congress passed an act establishing an official flag for the new nation. The resolution stated: “Resolved, that the flag of the United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation." On Aug. 3, 1949, President Harry S. Truman officially declared June 14 as Flag Day.

The history of our flag is as fascinating as that of the American Republic itself. It has survived battles, inspired songs and evolved in response to the growth of the country it represents. 

  • Flag Day occurs on June 14th every year, but it is not an official federal holiday.
    Even though it is not a federal holiday, many cities and towns hold festivals and parades to honor the American Flag.
  • Flag Day was originally the celebration of the adoption of United States Flag.
    In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson is recorded as officially setting June 14, as Flag Day. Even with Wilson’s act, on a federal level the holiday was not passed by Congress.
  • Flag Day honors the American Flag and all its traditions. Historically, the story that Betsy Ross created the first flag has been passed down through the generations. However, it is actually believed that a United States Congressman named Francis Hopkinson created the first flag.
    The design of the American Flag was not made official until 1912. At that time, a governmental order adopted the current design.
  • The nickname for the American Flag is the “Stars and Stripes.”
  • The thirteen stripes on the flag represent the thirteen original colonies and the colors of the stripes, red and white, stand for the courage and purity of our nation. The stars stand for the fifty separate but united States of our nation.
  • Over the past years the flag has changed 27 times. The last change was on July 4, 1960 to include the 50th state, Hawaii.
  • There are many customs and traditions surrounding the American Flag. Flag Day is a day set aside to teach and remember the history and these customs and traditions.

Red White and Blue - Flag Ceremony

The arrangement for this Flag Ceremony is as follows:
Scout1: Caller
Scouts2-5: Color Guard
Leader: Props (scraps of Red, White, and Blue cloth)

Scout1: Color Guard Attention....
Scout1: Will the Audience please rise... Color Guard Forward March... Scout or Heart salute...
Scout1: (when the color guard reaches the flag posts)  Post the colors of the United States of America..... Post the colors of the great state of_________________, and of Troop/Pack____________________.
(Scout1 wait until leaders part is finished...)

Leader:  Scouts, what is our Flag? You could say it is just a few scraps of red, white, and blue cloth like these in my hand.  That would be true. But our flag is really much more than that.  We all recognize the flag as the banner of our country.  In other words, it stand for our country.  We should respect it and treat it as we would want to be treated... with care and love.  Let us show our respect by pledging our allegiance to the flag.

Scout1: Please repeat the Pledge of Allegiance with me.....
Scout1: (after the pledge is fully recited) Two!.... Color guard about face... color guard forward march... (wait until color guard is close to the back of the room) Color guard dismissed... The audience may be seated.

End of Meeting:

Scout1: Color Guard re-assemble.... Will the audience please rise... Color Guard, retriever the colors... Forward march.... Color guard dismissed, the audience may be seated.

Citizenship in the Nation Merit Badge

  1. Explain what citizenship in the nation means and what it takes to be a good citizen of this country. Discuss the rights, duties, and obligations of a responsible and active American citizen.
  2. Do TWO of the following:
    1. Visit a place that is listed as a National Historic Landmark or that is on the National Register of Historic Places. Tell your counselor what you learned about the landmark or site and what you found interesting about it.
    2. Tour your state capitol building or the U.S. Capitol. Tell your counselor what you learned about the capitol, its function, and the history.
    3. Tour a federal facility. Explain to your counselor what you saw there and what you learned about its function in the local community and how it serves this nation.
    4. Choose a national monument that interests you. Using books, brochures, the Internet (with your parent's permission), and other resources, find out more about the monument. Tell your counselor what you learned, and explain why the monument is important to this country's citizens.
  3. Watch the national evening news five days in a row OR read the front page of a major daily newspaper five days in a row. Discuss the national issues you learned about with your counselor. Choose one of the issues and explain how it affects you and your family.
  4. Discuss each of the following documents with your counselor. Tell your counselor how you feel life in the United States might be different without each one.
    1. Declaration of Independence
    2. Preamble to the Constitution
    3. The Constitution
    4. Bill of Rights
    5. Amendments to the Constitution
  5. List the six functions of government as noted in the preamble to the Constitution. Discuss with your counselor how these functions affect your family and local community.
  6. With your counselor's approval, choose a speech of national historical importance. Find out about the author, and tell your counselor about the person who gave the speech. Explain the importance of the speech at the time it was given, and tell how it applies to American citizens today. Choose a sentence or two from the speech that has significant meaning to you, and tell your counselor why.
  7. Name the three branches of our federal government and explain to your counselor their functions. Explain how citizens are involved in each branch. For each branch of government, explain the importance of the system of checks and balances.
  8. Name your two senators and the member of Congress from your congressional district. Write a letter about a national issue and send it to one of these elected officials, sharing your view with him or her. Show your letter and any response you receive to your counselor.