“Ev'ry heart beats true, 'neath the Red, White and Blue.”
—George M. Cohan
This 4th of July will mark the 244th year of independence for America. And the one thing which has resembled the true American spirit and culture for all these years is the national flag of the country.
A symbol of determination, sacrifice and, honor, the national flag of America has been flying high for more than 2 centuries.
You may have read or heard stories and watched recorded videos of our fight for independence. But, did you know that there are a few interesting, yet lesser-known, facts and stories behind the American flag design as well?
The flag which comprises 50 stars and 13 alternate red and white stripes has undergone several changes over the course of several years.
And, so, to commemorate this Independence Day we’ll share some very interesting facts and stories behind the creation of the modern-day American flag design.
·While we celebrate our Independence Day on the 4th of July, it was on June 14, 1777, that the order for the official flag of independent America was established by the Continental Congress. The statement of the Act said, "Resolved; that the flag of the United States be made of thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new Constellation."
·Since then, and up until 1960, Congress passed several acts that changed the shape, design, and arrangement of the flag and allowed for additional stars and stripes to be added to reflect the admission of each new state. Roughly 27 variations over this period of time.
·Today, the American flag consists of 13 horizontal stripes, 7 red, alternating with 6 white, and 50 stars. The stripes represent the original 13 colonies, the stars represent the 50 states of the Union.
·The current flag was designed in 1958 by a 17-years-old high school student, Robert G. Heft, of Lancaster, Ohio. His design was selected out of 1,500 entries by the then POTUS, Dwight D. Eisenhower.
·The colors Red, Blue, and White carry strong significance to represent the true American culture.
- Red symbolizes Hardiness and Valor.
- White symbolizes Purity and Innocence.
- Blue represents Vigilance, Perseverance, and Justice.
·Popular nick-names given to the ‘Flag of the United States of America’.
- The Star-Spangled Banner
- Stars and Stripes
- The American Flag
- Old Glory
- Red, White and, Blue
·The American flag design has provided inspiration for several national treasuries including the national anthem as well as The Pledge of Allegiance.
Many of you might have heard about the legends of Betsy Ross, who’s been claimed to be the mind behind the first American flag design. However, there is no actual solid evidence to prove this claim.
But did you know that it was not until the 1870s (100 years since independence) that anyone even knew about the role of Betsy Ross in the making of the American flag?
It was during a public event in Philadelphia in 1870 when the grandson of Betsy Ross said that his grandmother told him that she met with George Washington and others and she designed the flag.
In May 1776, so the story goes, the then General Washington and two representatives from the Continental Congress visited Ross at her upholstery shop and showed her a rough design of the flag. Although Washington initially favored using a star with six points, Ross advocated for a five-pointed star, which could be cut with just one quick snip of the scissors, and the gentlemen were won over.
While it is a known fact that Ross was a famous seamstress in the region and had made flags for the navy of Pennsylvania, unfortunately, historians have never been able to verify the claims made in her grandson’s story.
The only known evidence for the very first American flag design is a bill that was submitted to congress by Francis Hopkinson that said, “For designing the flag, you owe me two casks of ale”.
However, interestingly, there are no images, sketch designs, or written descriptions of the flag which Hopkinson is said to have mentioned in the bill.
This clearly shows that it is still an unknown fact who actually came up with the idea for the original American flag design.
The mystery remains!
Happy Independence Day to you all.
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