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:
1. The First 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.
2. 13 Stars, and 13 Stripes
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.
3. 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.
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.
5. One star for one state
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.
6. Designed by a High School student
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.
7. Proposed 51-star 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.
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
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.
11. The Flag Code
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.
12. 200 Years Old Flag still exists
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.
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
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.
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
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.
18. Betsy Ross and the myth
Although popularly attributed to Betsy Ross, there is no concrete historical evidence to prove that she actually sewed the first American flag.
19. The oldest known 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.
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
The largest American flag ever made measures 225 feet by 505 feet and is displayed in Sheboygan, Wisconsin.
24. Folding the Flag
The American flag is traditionally folded into a triangular shape with 13 folds, representing the original 13 colonies.
25. The “Don’t Tread on Me” Flag
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 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.