Do you know the history of the American Flag? The official flag of the United States of American first became a real thing on June 14, 1777. This was the date the Continental Congress passed an act to establish the flag with a resolution that said:
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“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.”
The history of the American flag is deep and rich with plenty to understand. While the flag was established back in 1777, the Flag Day we celebrate today wasn’t established until 1949. President Harry S. Truman was the one to declare June 14 as the official Flag Day of the United States.
Our flag has survived through many battles, it has inspired music and it evokes very strong responses from many people all throughout the country. Below is a look at the history of the American Flag.
Flag Origin Remains Unknown
While you might learn in history class that the American Flag was created by Betsy Ross or even Francis Hopkins, the actual origin isn’t known. The flag was established officially in 1777; however, a similar flat was used by the Grand Union on Prospect Hill on January 1, 1776. This may be the origin of the original flag as this flag did have 13 stripes alternating between red and white. It also had the British Union Jack in the top left-hand corner.
Betsy Ross is credited with sewing the first American Flag in 1776, as well. It happened in May of the year and it wasn’t until more than a year later the official flag was established. The actual origin of the American Flag remains unknown to this day.
Old Glory Started With One Flag
Old Glory is the famous nickname of the American Flag. This mane started with a sea captain named William Driver. He owned a 10-foot by 17-foot American Flat which was named Old Glory.
This nickname spread across the country and the American Flag became known as Old Glory. The flag owned by Driver survived many attempts at defacing it throughout the Civil War and it was flown over the Tennessee Statehouse after the war ended. Today, it’s an artifact found at the National Museum of American History.
Today’s American Flag Took 183 Years to Create
The original American Flag became official in 1777. However, the flag we fly today wasn’t completed until 1960. Between 1777 and 1960, Congress passed a number of acts changing the design, shape and even the arrangement of the flat. These included:
• Act of January 13th, 1794 – This act established a flag with 15 stars and 15 stripes starting in May of 1795.
• Act of April 4th, 1818 – The flag was changed by this act to include 13 total stripes and one star representing each state. It started on the 4th of July in 1818 after President Monroe signed each new stated into admission.
• Executive Order of President Taft – An order wend through on June 24th, 1912, which established six horizontal rows of eight stars with one single point of each of the stars pointing upward.
• Executive Order of President Eisenhower – Enacted on January 3rd, 1959, this order arranged the stars into seven rows of seven stars, which staggered vertically and horizontally.
• Executive Order of President Eisenhower – Another executive order was enacted on August 21st, 1959 to arrange the stars in nine rows, which staggered horizontally and eleven rows staggering vertically.
These acts and executive orders established what we know today as the American Flag. Today, the flag has 13 horizontal stripes (7 red and 6 white). The strips represent the original 13 colonies, while the 50 starts represent the states of the Union.
Some United States Locations Fly American Flags 24 Hours a Day
The United States has a few locations throughout the country that must fly the American Flag 24 hours a day. This is due to the law or because of a presidential proclamation. The locations include:
• United States custom ports of entry
• The White House found in Washington D.C.
• United States Marine Corps Memorial in Arlington, Virginia
• Fort McHenry in Baltimore, Maryland
• The Flag House Square in Baltimore, Maryland
• On the Green of the Town of Lexington, Massachusetts
• National Memorial Arch Grounds in Valley Forge State Park in Pennsylvania.
Typically, the flag is flown from sunrise to sunset with a brisk raising and a ceremonial lowering. The flag isn’t flown during inclement weather, normally.
The American Flag Has Been Planted All Over the Universe
While Old Glory flies high and proud all over the United States, it has been planted in many other places around the globe and even in space. Some of the places the American Flag has been flown include:
• Libya – The first time an American Flag was flown overseas was in Libya in 1805. It was flown over Fort Derne on the shores of Tripoli.
• The North Pole – In 1909, Robert Peary planted an American Flag his wife created at the North Pole. He also left pieces of another flag along his journey, which represents the only time someone has been honored for cutting up the American Flag.
• Mount Everest – Barry Bishop placed the American Flag at the top of Mount Everest in 1963.
• The Moon – Neil Armstrong placed the American Flag on the Moon in July of 1969. Flags were also placed during other Apollo program missions.
Along with these many places the American Flag has been flown, it has inspired a number of songs throughout the year.
The American Flag is steeped in history and something all Americans should be proud to fly. The design comes with meaning for every element and it has represented our free country for more than 200 years.