THE HISTORY OF THE AMERICAN FLAG
Meaning of the colors
Although the flag was adopted officially in 1777, at that time there was no meaning attached to the colors. However, the same colors were used in designing the Seal of the United States of America in 1782, having specific meaning. In the words of Charles Thompson, secretary to the Continental Congress: “The colors of the pales (the vertical stripes) are those used in the flag of the United States of America; White signifies purity and innocence, Red, hardiness & valor, and Blue, the color of the Chief (the broad band above the stripes) signifies vigilance, perseverance & justice”.
For over 200 years now, the American flag symbolizes the unity and strength of the country. In other words, one can also say that it is a source of inspiration and pride for the citizens. The USA flag has turned out to be a viable icon in the history of the nation.
Year 1776 – Way back in 1776 (1st of January), the Continental Army was reorganized keeping in pace with the Congressional resolution. This placed the American forces under the control of George Washington. In the same year and on New Year’s Day, the Continental Army was laying cordon to Boston that was then was under the control of the British Army. As per the instruction of George Washington, the Grand Union flag was hoisted at the Prospect Hill. This flag had thirteen stripes in red and white alternately. Besides, at the canton it also had the British Union Jack.
Year 1776 (May) – Betsy Ross had sewed the first USA flag.
Year 1777 (June 14) – The First Flag Act was passed by the Continental Congress for introducing an official flag. It was an order that the American flag should consists of 13 stripes in red and white alternatively. It was also ordered that there should be 13 stars in the union, which would symbolize a fresh constellation.
Year 1777-1960 – In between these years several acts were passed by the Congress which altered the design, shape as well as the flag arrangement. Moreover, other acts were also passed for introducing additional stripes and stars.
Year 1794 (January 13) – An act was passed for introducing 15 stars and 15 stripes.
Year 1818 (April 4) – This act was passed for introducing 13 stripes and one star for every state, on 4 July, following the incorporation of the new states and after getting the same approved by President Monroe.
Year 1912 (June 24) – President Taft passed this order so that the stars can be arranged in six horizontal rows and each row carrying eight stars.
Year 1959 (January 3) – President Eisenhower passed this order so that the stars can be arranged in seven rows where each row should have seven stars staggered vertically and horizontally.
Year 1959 (August 21) – President Eisenhower further redirected his order and made it clear that the stars should be arranged in nine rows horizontally and in eleven rows where they are arranged vertically.
Year 1960 (July 4) – The 50th star was introduced on 4th July, 1960 and represented the state of Hawaii which became a part of the Union on 21st August, 1959.
As of now, the USA flag comprises 13 horizontal stripes, where seven red stripes and six white stripes are arranged horizontally. The stripes that you find in the American flag symbolize the thirteen colonies and the stars symbolize the fifty Union States. Besides, the red and the white colors that have been used in the flag have their own significance. For instance, the red color represents valor and hardiness while the white color stands for innocence and purity. Last, but not the least, the blue color symbolizes justice, insistence, and alertness.
Dimensions of USA Flag
Assuming that the width of the flag is 1.0 unit, the prescribed ratios for various parts of the flag are as follows :
Length of the flag: 1.9 units
Width of the canton (blue rectangle): 0.5385 units
Length of the canton: 0.76 units
Diameter of star: 0.0616 units
Width of stripes: 0.0769 units
Vertical distance between centers of stars: 0.0538 units
Horizontal distance between centers of stars: 0.0633 units
The American flag is a symbol of national unity and pride for the country. The fifty stars represent the fifty states comprising the present-day United States of America. For the symbolism of colors, see the corresponding section above.
The etiquette governing the use of the US flag are given in the Flag Code of the Federal law. Although the code is not binding on the common citizen, the following guidelines are prescribed:
Unless the flag has been so designed, it should be flown only in good weather.
The flag must be well lit at all times, either by sunlight or artificial light sources.
When displayed in a group of flags, the USA flag must be at the center and at the highest point.
If the USA flag is being displayed with another flag, with the two flags having crossed staffs, the USA flag must be on the right and have its staff in the front.
If the flag is to be suspended overhead, the canton must be to the top towards the left of the observer, with the folds falling freely.
The flag should not be used as an item of decoration or in any form of fashion.
If the USa flag has become worn out, it should be mended properly. In case the state of the flag is beyond repair, it should be disposed in a respectful manner.
Last Update on: October 27, 2014