The American flag is a symbol of patriotism, unity, and pride. Walking along the streets in your city, you’ll almost always come across one in front of a local business, school, or government building. But to this day, there are still individuals who are unaware of the meaning of the flag. From the number of stars present in the union to the colors used in the thirteen stripes, the history of the US flag is rich and meaningful in the present day.
Under George Washington’s command, the American forces of the Continental Army hoped to take Boston back from the British Army. To identify his army's base, Washington ordered the presence of the Grand Union flag at Prospect Hill. This flag had thirteen alternating red and white stripes and a British Union Jack—known as the canton—in the upper left corner.
Sometime later, the Continental Congress passed an act that described the use of a new flag. In the first Flag Act, the US flag was to have thirteen stripes alternating the same red and white colors and have a blue union housing thirteen white stars that represented a new constellation. Over time, the flag underwent several changes until it turned into the familiar symbol known today.
Significance of Design
Today, the American flag has thirteen horizontal stripes consisting of seven red and six white. These stripes represent the original thirteen colonies, and the fifty white stars within the union symbolize the fifty states.
The colors within the flag have their symbolism as well. Red represents hardiness and valor, while white represents purity and innocence. The blue color of the union symbolizes vigilance, perseverance, and justice.
Betsy Ross is famous for having stitched the first American flag. George Washington and other representatives of the Continental Congress came across her one day upon learning that she was responsible for embroidering ruffles and Washington’s shirts and cuffs. Given their business and friendly acquaintance, Betsy felt compelled to sew the project.
From stitch to salute, the history of the flag is bountiful and signifies the start of a strong nation that will continue to evolve for years to come.
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