Here are some US flag trivia you can share with your family and friends this coming Fourth of July!
- Though the colors of the U.S. flag are often described as red, white and blue, they are not the flag’s official colors. According to the Color Association of the U.S., the American flag’s official colors are White, a symbolism of purity and innocence, Old Glory Red, a symbolism of hardiness and valor, and Old Glory Blue, a symbolism of vigilance, justice, and perseverance.
- The U.S. flag had 27 official versions. The first one was made in 1777, when the flag was designed with 13 stripes and 13 stars to represent the country’s 13 original colonies. Two stars were then added when Kentucky and Vermont became part of the union. Thus, from 1795 to 1818, the flag had 15 stripes and 15 stars. This was the version that Francis Scott Key got inspiration to compose the U.S. anthem, The Star-Spangled Banner. Lawmakers anticipated a crowded field of stripes as more and more state joined the union. As such, after 1818, they decided to just leave the stripes at 13 and then add a star to give honor to each new state.
- Robert G. Heft created the 50-star pattern. President Eisenhower received hundreds of ideas to update the flag when Alaska and Hawaii became official states. The majority of them center on a 50-star flag. Heft, then a 17-year-old student at Lancaster High in Ohio, designed a 50-star pattern for his class project. His design was one of the three versions that was accepted. To this day, Heft’s B-project remains in use.
- The U.S. flag has a lot of nicknames. It’s often called The Stars and Stripes, The Red, White, and Blue, and The Star-Spangled Banner. It’s sometimes referred to as the “Old Glory” as well. This is in relation to a flag owned by Captain William Driver, said to now be on display at the Smithsonian Institution.
- Although Betsy Ross is credited to be the designer of the very first American flag, there is barely evidence to support such a statement. In 1870, her grandson provided the only documentations of Ross’ contribution to the making of the first U.S. flag. He brought affidavits of evidence from his own family members at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. But many historians believe that it was actually Francis Hopkinson who designed the flag as it was explicitly documented in the journals of the Continental Congress.
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