A Deeper Look Into the Red, White, and Blue

She's synonymous with the homefront: Old Glory, the American flag herself. Every day she waves proudly atop out buildings and houses across the nation—a sight so commonplace, we often forget she's there. But, she deserves to be noticed—not just in the physical sense, but in the sense of all that she stands for, and all that she means.

Waving in breezes all across America, US flags fly proudly outside many public buildings. It is so recognizable that almost anybody in the world could tell you what’s on the US flag without much thought: 50 white stars in a field of blue with 13 alternating red and white stripes. But the design of the American flag has evolved over the last 241 years with numerous iterations showing the progress of American history.

Symbolism in the American Flag

Old Glory has had a busy 241 years, going through a number of evolutions before reaching her (possibly) final and most enduring design. Everyone can name the basic elements of the modern American flag: 50 white stars upon a field of blue, and 13 alternating red and white stripes, but rarely what they signify more deeply.

At a young age school children learn that each of the stripes represent one of the 13 original colonies (New Hampshire, Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia), while the 50 stars in the upper left quadrant (known as the Canton), each represent a state in our current union. An excerpt from a 1977 book about the flag from the House Representatives explains the reason for stars and stripes: “The star is a symbol of the heavens and the divine goal to which man has aspired from time immemorial; the stripe is symbolic of the rays of light emanating from the sun.”

Something most of us don't learn, however, is why the colors are as the are. “White,” explained Charles Thomson, Secretary of the Continental Congress in the year 1782, “signifies purity and innocence. Red, hardiness & valour, and Blue… signifies vigilance, perseverance & justice.” At the time, he was presenting the new U.S. seal to congress, indicating that “The colors are those used in the flag of the United States of America.”

History of the Flag’s Design

For more than the first 100 years, there was no official design for the flag. Betsy Ross is considered the first seamstress and Francis Hopkinson is said to have created the design of 13 stars in a circle that she stitched into the first flag. But actually, the first official design for our US flags features staggered lines of stars across the field of blue, a pattern also credited to Hopkinson.

According to some flag historians, the only real qualification for designing a flag in those first, formative years of our country was including the 13 stars in a constellation pattern. Several designs show the 13 stars in a circle or a star pattern, representing the uniting of 13 colonies to create a new union.

Patriotism Comes in All Sizes

The most famous of our US flags was created in 1813 when the commanding officer of Fort McHenry asked for “a flag so large that the British would have no difficulty seeing it from a distance.” This 42-foot star-spangled banner now waves at the National Museum of American History, but you can get your own piece of American Patriotism from Independence Bunting.

----------------------------

Independence Bunting offers many sizes and materials when it comes to choosing the right American Flag. Whatever Flag you choose, you’ll be happy knowing Old Glory was made right here in the USA at Independence Bunting!