The American Flag

“Resolved, that the flag of the United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field representing a new constellation.”

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The history of the American Flag began with the words above. On June 14, 1777, when the Marine Committee of the Second Continental Congress passed a resolution establishing a new flag design for the United States. Flag Day is now celebrated each year on June 14th.

Below is a video from You Tube about the Ragged Old Flag , with a narration by the great Johnny Cash and some wonderful images and illustrations from American history.

The next time you see the stars and stripes flying, take a moment to think about the American flag history and the sacrifices that have been made protecting it.

Below you will find a brief American flag history, American flag facts showing the evolution of the U.S. flag.

The first United States flag was the Stars and Stripes flag. Prior to June 14th, 1777, the Grand Union Flag still bore the Union Jack in its design.

Grand Union Flag

The Grand Union flag, also known as the Cambridge Flag, the Congress Colors and the First Navy Ensign, consists of the Union Jack flag and thirteen alternating red and white stripes

The resolution signed on June 14th, 1777 gave no instruction as to how many points the stars should have, nor did it mention how those stars should be arranged on the blue union. Because of this, stars were arranged in various ways on the blue background. One of the popular designs during this time was the Betsy Ross flag.

Betsy Ross Flag

Fun Fact:The earliest known depiction of a U.S. flag was found at an old encampment at Pluckemin, New Jersey. This camp was occupied by troops in 1778-1779. The plate was mistakenly engraved with 14 stripes instead of 13.

Another popular flag in America’s history was the Bennington flag. It was used by the American militia during the Battle of Bennington, August 16, 1777.

Bennington Flag

In 1795, the number of stars and stripes was increased from 13 to 15 to reflect the entry of Vermont and Kentucky as states of the union. It was this flag that inspired Francis Scott Key to write the Star Spangled Banner.

Star Spangeled Banner Flag

In 1818, after five more states had gained admittance, Congress passed legislation fixing the number of stripes at 13 – for the original 13 colonies – and requiring that the number of stars equal the number of states. The last new star, bringing the total to 50, was added on July 4, 1960, after Hawaii became a state. This is the 50 state flag that still flies today.

While there are differing opinions on rather the colors in the American flag represent anything, some believe that they represent the same things as the colors in the Great Seal.

White signifies purity and innocence
Red signifies hardiness & valour
Blue signifies vigilance, perseverance & justice

“The colours of the pales are those used in the flag of the United States of America; White signifies purity and innocence, Red, hardiness & valor, and Blue, the colour of the Chief signifies vigilance, perseverance & justice. The Olive branch and arrows denote the power of peace & war which is exclusively vested in Congress. The Constellation denotes a new State taking its place and rank among other sovereign powers.
The Escutcheon is born on the breast of an American Eagle without any other supporters to denote that the United States of America ought to rely on their own Virtue

Charles Thompson, Secretary of the Continental Congress, in his Remarks and Explanation of the Great Seal – June 20, 1782

Here is an interesting American Flag history video

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People Envisioning a Conservative American Nation

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