35 Interesting Facts About The American Flag

The American flag is a powerful symbol of the United States, representing its history, values, and unity. Consisting of thirteen alternating red and white stripes, symbolizing the original colonies, and a blue field with fifty white stars representing the states, the flag embodies the nation’s ideals of freedom, democracy, and patriotism. Recognized worldwide, it serves as a steadfast emblem of American identity and inspires a sense of pride and unity among its citizens. Let’s have some interesting facts about this great flag:

The American Flag

Image: Pixabay

1. The First Flag

Grand Union Flag
Grand Union Flag

The first flag of America was called “The Continental Colors” or “Grand Union Flag,” which consisted of thirteen stripes and the Union Jack at the canton. After the Declaration of Independence in 1776, the flag was hurled in the United States and referred to as the first flag of America.
Image: Flickr

2. 13 Stars, and 13 Stripes

Hopkinson Flag
Hopkinson Flag

When the first flag was adopted in 1777, it had thirteen stars and thirteen stripes. The stripes were red and white on the alternate rows and white six-pointed stars on the blue field. Thirteen stripes represented the 13 British Colonies. The new flag was hoisted in June 1777 by the Continental Army at the Middlebrook Encampment. Francis Hopkinson designed the flag.
Image: Wikimedia

3. Betsy Ross Flag

Betsy Ross Flag
Betsy Ross Flag

Betsy Ross was an American upholster. She has been credited with making one of the first American flags. She designed a flag with thirteen stripes, red and white on alternate rows, and thirteen five-pointed stars in a circle on the blue field. The Betsy Ross flag is featured on the seal of the United States Department of Veteran Affairs. However, this flag has been used for only celebrating the nation’s birthday anniversaries.
Image: Pixabay

4. From 13 to 15 Stars

In 1795, when Vermont and Kentucky entered the Union, they became 14 and 15 states respectively. The number of stars increased from 13 to 15.
Source: mentalfloss.com

5. One star for one state

Image result for Flag of the USA gif

In April 1818, Congress passed a plan that if one state is admitted, one new star will be added to the flag. At that time, 20 stars were on the flag. Until 1959, 48 stars were added. The current flag has fifty stars as of 1959, the state of Hawaii and the state of Alaska were admitted to the United States.
GIF: Giphy

6. Designed by a High School student

Robert G Heft
Robert G. Heft

The current flag was designed by a 17-year-old High School student, Robert G. Heft. He passed away in 2009. He hailed from Lancaster, Ohio.
Image: Wikimedia

7. Proposed 51-star Flag

51-star US flag
51-star US flag

It is expected that the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico could become a U.S. state. People in Puerto Rico and Washington DC voted for Puerto Rico to be a U.S. state. A 51-star flag has also been designed for it and this was also designed by Robert G. Heft.
Image: Wikimedia

8. A meaningful flag

The whole flag is a symbol of pride. The red stripes symbolize valor, courage, and hardiness. White stripes represent purity and innocence. Thirteen stripes show the initial 13 English colonies. 50 stars represent the current 50 states of the country. Blue symbolizes the vigilance, perseverance, and justice.

9. Longest used Flag

The current flag of the United States is the 27th version of the U.S. flag and the longest-used flag since 1960. It is the first flag to have lasted more than 50 years.

10. Destroy with respect

Burning American Flag
Burning American Flag

If the flag is not to be used or to be repaired anymore, it must be destroyed by burning it in a respectful manner. If it is soiled, it must be washed and dry-cleaned.
Image: Marines.mil

11. The Flag Code

Illuminated US flag
Illuminated US flag

The code of the United States flag says that the flag should never dip to anyone or anything unless it is the ensign responding to a salute from the ship of a foreign nation. The flag should never be allowed to touch the ground. It should not be used for any advertising purpose. No part of the flag should be used as a costume or athletic uniform. If it is flown at night, it must be illuminated.
Image: Pixabay

12. 200 Years Old Flag still exists

Star Spangled Banner Flag on display
Star Spangled Banner Flag on display

During the 1812 War, when the British Royal Navy attacked Fort McHenry of Maryland, the flag that flew over Fort McHenry still exists. It is a 15-star flag that inspired Francis Scott Key to write a poem that later became the National Anthem of the United States. The flag is preserved in the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington DC.
Image: Wikimedia

13. National Flag Day

On May 30, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson issued the Presidential Proclamation for establishing flag day as the anniversary of the flag resolution. On August 3, 1949, President Harry S. Truman signed an act of Congress to designate June 14 of each year as the National Flag Day.

14. From Sunrise to Sunset

American Flag on Fort McHenry, Baltimore-compressed
American Flag on Fort McHenry, Baltimore

According to Federal Flag Laws and Regulations, the flag should be displayed from sunrise to sunset except during murky weather. The flag can be shown for 24 hours if it is illuminated. Otherwise, it should not be shown for 24 hours. There are only a few places where the flag is shown for 24 hours including Fort McHenry, National Monument and Historic Shrine, Baltimore, Maryland, Flag House Square, Baltimore, Maryland, United States Marine Corps Memorial (Iwo Jima), Arlington, Virginia, On the Green of the Town of Lexington, Massachusetts, The White House, Washington, D.C., United States customs ports of entry, Grounds of the National Memorial Arch in Valley Forge State Park, Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, etc.
Image: Pixabay

15. American Flag On the North Pole

In 1909, American explorer Robert Peary placed the American Flag on the North Pole.

16. American Flag on Mount Everest

In 1963, American mountaineer Barry Bishop placed the American Flag on the highest point on the planet Earth, Mount Everest.

17. The First Flag on Moon

The US Flag on Moon
The US Flag on Moon

On July 21, 1969, American Astronaut, Neil Armstrong was the first person to step on the moon. He placed the American flag on Moon. Five other flags were also planted during the Apollo programs.
Image: Pixabay

18. Betsy Ross and the myth

Betsy Ross is believed to have sewed the first American flag
Betsy Ross is believed to have sewed the first American flag

Although popularly attributed to Betsy Ross, there is no concrete historical evidence to prove that she actually sewed the first American flag.
Image: Wikimedia

19. The oldest known flag

Bennington Flag
Bennington Flag

The oldest known American flag, commonly referred to as the “Bennington Flag,” dates back to the American Revolution and is believed to have been made in 1777.
Image: Flickr

20. The Star-Spangled Banner

The American national anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner,” was inspired by the sight of the American flag flying over Fort McHenry during the War of 1812.

21. Official Colors

The official colors of the American flag are “Old Glory Red,” “White,” and “Old Glory Blue.”

22. The Flag’s Dimensions

The official proportions of the American flag are 1:1.9, with the field of blue (the canton) taking up 7/13 of the total length.

23. The Largest American Flag

An image of the flag and flagpole on the campus of Acuity Insurance in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, which stands 400 ft tall, the tallest flagpole containing the largest flag in the United States
An image of the flag and flagpole on the campus of Acuity Insurance in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, which stands 400 ft tall, the tallest flagpole containing the largest flag in the United States

The largest American flag ever made measures 225 feet by 505 feet and is displayed in Sheboygan, Wisconsin.
Image: Wikimedia

24. Folding the Flag

American Flag Guide - finelineflag

The American flag is traditionally folded into a triangular shape with 13 folds, representing the original 13 colonies.
GIF: Giphy

25. The “Don’t Tread on Me” Flag

Don't Tread On Me is believed to be the first flag of the Marines and of the Continental Navy
Don’t Tread On Me is believed to be the first flag of the Marines and of the Continental Navy

The “Gadsden Flag,” featuring a coiled rattlesnake and the phrase “Don’t Tread on Me,” is often associated with American independence and is considered a historical precursor to the American flag.
Image: Get Archive

26. Flag Retirement

When an American flag becomes worn or tattered, it should be retired in a dignified manner, such as by burning, according to the U.S. Flag Code.
Video: Eielson Air Force Base – YouTube

27. Flag at Half-Staff

The American flag is flown at half-staff as a sign of mourning or respect. It is raised to full-staff before being lowered to half-staff.
Video: Colonial Flag – YouTube

28. The Apollo 1 Tribute

In memory of the astronauts who lost their lives in the Apollo 1 mission, the American flag flown on the mission was presented to their families and then flown on subsequent manned missions.

29. The Flag’s Nickname

The American flag is often referred to as “Old Glory,” a nickname given by Captain William Driver, a shipmaster, in 1831.

30. The Longest Continuously Flown Flag

The Star-Spangled Banner Flag, with its 15 stars and 15 stripes, has been on display at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History since 1907.

31. The Congressional Flag

The Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President of the Senate have the authority to present a flag that has been flown over the U.S. Capitol as a token of appreciation.

32. Flag Patch on Military Uniforms

American military uniform with a patch of American flag
American military uniform with a patch of the American flag

American military personnel wear a reversed flag patch on their right arm to symbolize the flag “moving forward” as they charge into battle.
Image: NARA & DVIDS Public Domain Archive

33. The Flag’s Official Certification

The American flag should be certified as “Made in the U.S.A.” by the manufacturer, according to the U.S. Flag Code.

34. The First Flag Salute

The first recorded flag salute ceremony took place on August 3, 1777, at Fort Schuyler (now Fort Stanwix) in New York.

35. The Flag’s influence on other flags

The American flag has influenced the design of many other national flags, including those of Liberia, Chile, Malaysia, and Uruguay.