On June 14, 1777, the Second Continental Congress approved the design of a national flag. Since then, the Stars and Stripes has become our most famous symbol. Few things have witnessed American history as up-close as the flag. From the birth of the nation, to the darkest and brightest moments over time, the flag has been there. Learn more about its 238 years of history and this observance. Whether you are displaying a flag at home, work or in a public setting, learn how to do it correctly using these guidelines (PDF) .  

Help Consumer Protection Agency Improve Servicing for Borrowers Have you run into obstacles trying to pay back your student loans? It’s hard enough dealing with the debt, without the company managing your loans creating more obstacles for you. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau wants to hear if you’ve experienced: Surprise fees Lost payments Difficulty getting information from your loan servicer Other roadblocks to repaying your loans Submit your comments through July 13 to help the CFPB improve student loan servicing for borrowers. Your story will become part of a public record, so don’t send sensitive information such as your Social Security number or other information that identifies you. To participate in spreading the word on social media, visit this social media sharing site before June 10. And to learn about options for paying back your student loans, check out the CFPB’s Repay Student Debt section.

News about data breaches at banks, stores, and agencies is an everyday occurrence now. But if your private information has been compromised, it doesn’t feel commonplace to you. The sooner you find out, and begin damage control, the better off you’ll be. IdentityTheft.gov , a new website, offers step-by-step checklists of what to do right away, and what to do next, depending on the information that’s been stolen or exposed. It lists warning signs indicating your identity was stolen, and gives websites and phone numbers for organizations you’ll need to reach. And, it has sample letters for disputing fraudulent charges, correcting information in your credit reports, and getting business records relating to the theft. Check out IdentityTheft.gov , bookmark it, and print out the checklists, as your first line of defense against identity theft.

Don’t Assume You’re Safe With storms continuing to pound the East Coast and other parts of the country, the dangers of driving and walking through flood waters can’t be ignored. Six inches of fast-moving water can knock over an adult, while 12 inches can carry away a small car. Follow the Turn Around, Don’t Drown rule of flood waters. It’s advice to live by. And learn more about your risk of flooding , the most common natural disaster in the United States.

If you live in an area prone to hurricanes or tropical storms, emergency preparation is key. Even areas well away from the coastline can be threatened by flooding, high winds, and even tornadoes. Be prepared for severe storms: Check for alerts at the National Hurricane Center and your local weather at weather.gov . Know your risk if you live in an evacuation zone and check your local weather channels regularly for updates. Know where to go if you’re area is designated for evacuation. Develop a plan that identifies all of the steps that as a family you need to take before, during, and after a disaster to ensure maximum personal safety and property protection (Download NOAA’s Weather Safety: Hurricanes publication (PDF). If you’re in Texas areas affected by flooding, here are some trusted resources on Twitter to stay up to date on emergency information and assistance.

As the summer travel season heats up, you might be planning a trip with your family—including Fluffy. Over two million pets and other live animals are transported by air every year in the United States. If you’re traveling abroad, you’ll need to meet the animal health requirements of the country you’re visiting. Before getting on the plane, these tips will help make traveling with your pet safe and enjoyable. Ask your airline about requirements for and restrictions on traveling with a pet. Check with your airline to find out if they allow pets in the passenger cabin . If you can’t bring your furry friend on your flight as checked or carry-on baggage, you might be able to ship your pet as cargo. Also, you’ll likely have to provide a certificate from a veterinarian stating that your pet is in good health. However, airlines may not require health certificates for service animals used by people with disabilities. Make sure you bring an approved kennel. The kennel for a carry-on pet must fit under the seat in front of you, and your airline will likely require your pet to stay in the kennel during the flight and in the airport. You’ll want to de-clutter your pet’s kennel before you get to the airport, in case TSA agents need to do a physical inspection of your pet’s carrier. Carry a leash. Whether you need to walk Fido through a metal detector, or carry him through, bringing a leash can help keep your animal under control in the busy airport environment. Consider your pet’s comfort. Traveling, particularly loading and unloading, can be stressful for an animal, so you should consider your pet’s comfort . Try feeding your pet a light meal two hours before getting to the airport. Walk your pet before leaving for the airport, and again before checking in. While you should leave the sedatives at home, if you’re thinking about giving your pet something to help it sleep easier on the trip, always check with your veterinarian first. Read this post in Spanish .