The American flag represents the birth of the United States and is a national symbol. The original had 13 stars and 13 stripes to symbolize the 13 colonies that first made this nation. On June 14th, 1777, an act was established to create an official USA flag for the new nation. The American flag has gone through several iterations since the original design, including the Betsy Ross flag and Old Glory. The history of the American flag is an interesting one that begins with questions of where the original design came from.

The Original Design of the Flag of the USA

It is widely believed that the first red, white, and blue flag of the United States was designed by Francis Hopkinson, a New Jersey congressman and sewn by the famous Betsy Ross, a seamstress from Philadelphia. The original design displayed 13 stripes of red and white with a blue square in the corner called the union jack. The union jack always displays the number of states that have been added to the nation while the stripes symbolize the original 13 colonies. The flag of the USA goes by many names such as Old Glory, Red, White, and Blue, and the Stars and Stripes. The song The Star-Spangled Banner was written about the flag and it also inspired the Pledge of Allegiance.

Flag Day

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President Harry Truman declared June 14th as National Flag Day on August 3, 1949. This great symbol of independence and rebirth is celebrated by holding parades, ceremonies, picnics and other important activities. Foundations that are dedicated to preserving the traditions and history of the flag, plan events around the country where everyone can participate and feel national pride.

The Current Design of the Flag of America

What first began as a red and white flag with a blue union jack to symbolize the original 13 colonies has now looked the same for the last 50 years. Between 1777 and 1960, the flag underwent several revisions and acts of congress before finally settling on the configuration we know today. Those designs make up the fascinating story of the American flag's history.

Old Glory

Old Glory was the name given to the 10"x17" flag that was flown on a ship in Massachusetts that survived many attempts during the Civil War to deface it. This flag was the inspiration for naming all subsequent flags Old Glory and once the war ended, the flag was sent to the National Museum of American History where it is being preserved.

Betsy Ross Flag

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It is believed that Betsy Ross, a seamstress in Philadelphia, was at the meeting with George Washington when the original design of the American flag was discussed. In her honor, the Betsy Ross flag is available and some display this monument of history next to the modern USA flag. The Betsy Ross flag features thirteen stripes and a circle of thirteen stars in the blue union jack in the top left.

Rules around the American Flag

There are several rules around the display and treatment of the American flag that have their origins rooted in the rich history of this symbol.
Some rules include:
  • The positioning of the flag when it is displayed on the porch, on the wall, or with other flags on a flagstaff
  • Times of day to display the flag
  • When to fly the flag at half-mast
  • Where to display the flag when flying on a boat or car
  • What is involved in flying a flag 24 hours a day
  • Proper treatment of a flag

Where Can You get an American Flag?

When you want to purchase a flag made in the USA, you need to look for an American flag store that sources its materials in the USA. Several flag dimensions are available depending on where you are displaying it and a good flag company will give you some ideas on which flag is appropriate for your home, car, or boat. A flag store that hires American workers using materials from the US is the perfect place to get your flag and show your national pride.
The American flag is an artifact that should be treasured and cherished as a symbol of national pride when displayed. Understanding the history of the flag is an important step in continuing the long-standing traditions and protocols around displaying Old Glory. Flag Day is an excellent time to come together as a nation and share the fascinating history of the flag with future generations so it is never forgotten.
Salif Thomas