Interesting Facts About the American Flag

Interesting Facts About the American Flag

You say the pledge of allegiance each morning in school while looking at the American flag, but have you ever wondered how the stars and stripes came to be? We’ll tell you some of the most interesting facts about the American flag. By the time you finish reading this, you’ll be an expert on the red, white, and blue.

The Meaning Behind the Stars, Stripes, and Colors

The stars on the American flag represent each state, and the stripes pay homage to the thirteen original colonies. As far as the colors go, experts at the American Legion say, “White signifies purity and innocence; red, hardiness and valor; and blue signifies vigilance, perseverance, and justice.”

The Flag’s Age

Our nation’s beloved symbol is 245 years old. Many people would consider its birthday June 14, 1777, which is when Congress approved the first national version. This flag had thirteen stars arranged in a circle and the stripes we know today.

The Flag’s Origins

Some may still believe Betsy Ross designed the first American flag. This fact was difficult to prove because historians documented it almost 100 years later. Betsy’s grandson percolated the idea to the masses. There are receipts from the Pennsylvania State Navy Board dating back to 1777 proving that she made plenty of flags.

However, scholars now credit Francis Hopkinson as the American flag’s designer. (Leepson, Marc. “Flag: An American Biography.” St. Martin’s Griffin. 2005. p. 33).

The Flag Manufacturers Association of America (FMAA) issued the following Tweet on February 4, 2021:

#FlagFact: The designer of the American flag was Francis Hopkinson, a signer of the Declaration of Independence as a delegate from New Jersey.

These details on the flag’s designer were contrinued to us by Earl P. Williams, Jr., U.S. flag historian (paleovexillologist).

The Colors of the Flag

The American flag inherited its colors from the flag of Great Britain. Of the fifty U.S. states, twenty-five of them created their flags using some quantity of the red, white, and blue colors. States that predominantly use red, white, and blue are the Georgia state flag, Mississippi, Colorado, Hawaii, Iowa, Arkansas, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Utah, Wyoming, Vermont, Tennessee, and Texas.

The U.S. territories of Puerto Rico and American Samoa also incorporate red, white, and blue as their main colors.

Flag Display Rules

There are some rules involved when it comes to displaying the American flag. If your family wants to show their patriotism at home, here are some important guidelines to follow:

  • Keep it flying steadily with a quality flagpole.
  • Always take the flag inside whenever there’s bad weather.
  • Most people think you can display the flag only in the daytime, but you can show it off at night.
  • Nighttime flags are allowed only when they have a light on them—think of it like a nightlight.
  • If you also want to support your state’s flag, make sure our nation’s flag is first on the flagpole.

The Flag’s Nickname

Did you know the American flag has a nickname? Some people like to call it Old Glory. The first person who ever used this nickname was a sea captain named William Driver in 1824. His mom gave him the flag as a present before he left on one of his journeys across the ocean.

You can still see this amazing artifact today at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C. Now you’re an expert on the American flag. Great job! Try sharing what you learned with your parents or guardians today.

More About American History

Before there could be an American flag, pilgrims needed to first travel to discover North America.  Read about the history of the first American Thanksgiving.

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