Today is Flag Day

President Barack Obama greets Hugh Hills, 85, in front of his home in Joplin, Mo., May 29, 2011. Hills hid in a closet during the tornado, which destroyed the second floor and half the first floor of his house last year. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Today, June 14 marks Flag Day, the day in 1777 the Continental Congress adopted the first U.S. flag.

President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed Flag Day a day of national celebration in 1916, and President Harry Truman formally established its annual observance in 1949.

The first flag, which tradition says was sewn by a Philadelphia woman named Betsy Ross, had 13 stars and 13 stripes, representing the 13 American colonies. New stripes and stars were added as new states joined the Union. In 1818, however, Congress passed legislation fixing the number of stripes at 13 and requiring the number of stars equal the number of states.

Several variations of the flag were flown over the next 100 years or so, until President William Howard Taft issued an executive order in 1912 to the establish proportions and placement of the stars that are featured on the flag we fly today.

Altogether, the U.S. flag has been modified 26 times since 1977. The current 50-star version has been in use the longest, flying since 1960.

Teachers, Firefighters, and Police Matter

Last week on the campaign trail, Mitt Romney introduced a plan to cut back on teachers, firefighters, and police officers and mocked President Obama for trying to put public workers back on the job.

Now, teachers, firefighters, and police officers are speaking out and standing up to Romney. So are those who have benefited from the care of a good teacher, who were moved by the courage of a firefighter risking his life to save theirs, and who value the unique sense of security that police offer their communities.

Watch and share this video of a teacher, a firefighter, and a police officer as they each call out Romney for proposing “fewer of me.” Then read the stories that Americans from all walks of life have submitted to Romney—powerful tales of why teachers, firefighters, and police matter.

We Can’t Wait: Making Broadband Construction Cheaper and Faster

Today President Obama will sign an Executive Order to make broadband construction along Federal roadways and properties up to 90 percent cheaper and more efficient. Currently, the procedures for approving broadband infrastructure projects on properties controlled or managed by the Federal Government—including large tracts of land, roadways, and more than 10,000 buildings across the Nation—vary depending on which agency manages the property.The new Executive Order will ensure that agencies charged with managing Federal properties and roads take specific steps to adopt a uniform approach for allowing broadband carriers to build networks on those assets. It will also allow service providers to deploy broadband while roads are under construction, a practice that hugely cuts costs.

Additionally, the White House will announce that nearly 100 partners—including cities, national research institutions, and industry supporters—have formed a new public-private partnership called “US Ignite.” The US Ignite Partnership will create a new wave of services that take advantage of state-of-the-art broadband networks running up to 100 times faster than today’s Internet. By bringing together government agencies, private companies, and communities, the partnership aims to accelerate the development of applications for advanced manufacturing, medical monitoring, emergency preparedness, and a host of other services. These applications will improve services to Americans, drive job creation, promote innovation, and create new markets for American businesses.

The President’s Executive Order and the US Ignite partnership are a two-pronged approach to help speed the delivery of connectivity to communities, businesses, and schools across the Nation. “By connecting every corner of our country to the digital age,” President Obama said. “We can help our businesses become more competitive, our students become more informed, and our citizens become more engaged.”