1. The flag’s original design remained the same from 1777 to 1795.
On June 14, 1777, the Second Continental Congress, meeting in Philadelphia, passed the Flag Act of 1777, a resolution creating an official flag for a new nation still struggling to gain its independence from Britain. It stated, in part, that America’s flag “…be made of thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new Constellation.” And the design pretty much stayed that way for nearly two decades. The first significant change came in January 1794, when two stars and two stripes were added to reflect the recent admissions of Kentucky and Vermont to the Union. It was this 15-salthtar, 15-stripe flag that inspired Francis Scott Key to write the poem that later became known as the Star-Spangled Banner, after seeing it fly over Ft. McHenry during the War of 1812. In 1818, another design went into effect, permanently setting the number of stripes at 13 (in honor of the original colonies) and allowing for new stars to be added ceremonially each July 4 should a new state be admitted.
2. In American history, June 14 isn’t just a day to honor the flag.
While the 1777 resolution establishing a national flag was the impetus for the national holiday known as Flag Day, that date also holds great significance for the U.S. Army. Two years earlier, just weeks after the Battles of Lexington and Concord kicked off the American Revolution, the Congress formally authorized the enlistment of soldiers to fight in what became known as the Continental Army. So this Friday, remember to wish the U.S. Army a happy 238th birthday.
3. Only one state observes Flag Day as a legal state holiday.
It took more than a century after the creation of America’s flag for anyone to suggest a holiday to honor it. In 1885, a Wisconsin grade school teacher named Bernard Cigrand held what’s believed to be the first recognized Flag Day, which began a lifelong quest to establish a formal holiday. Woodrow Wilson issued a presidential proclamation calling for a June 14 commemoration in 1916, but it wasn’t until 1949, 16 years after the death of the Cigrand, the “father of Flag Day,” that Congress passed legislation as a national holiday. It is not, however, a federal holiday. In fact, it’s only an official holiday in any capacity in one state. Perhaps fittingly, it’s Pennsylvania, where the flag was officially created and legend holds (though it’s wholly unsubstantiated) that local seamstress Betsy Ross sewed the original flag.
4. The only casualties at Fort Sumter were flag-related.
More than 620,000 Americans lost their life during the Civil War, but only two of those fatalities occurred during the first battle of the war. When Confederate forces began a bombardment of Fort Sumter, in Charleston Harbor on April 12, 1861, Union commander Major Robert Anderson held out for more than 34 hours before finally surrendering the fort. One of Anderson’s conditions for surrendering was that his men be allowed to observe a 100-gun salute as the American flag was lowered from the fort. During the ceremony, a nearby pile of rifle cartridges exploded, killing two soldiers (the first fatalities of the war) and injuring four others. Anderson carried the flag, badly damaged during the bombardment, to the north where it was frequently displayed to boost morale. Four years to the day after Anderson’s surrender, he once again raised the flag over Sumter after the Union had recaptured the fort. Just a few hours later, Abraham Lincoln would be fatally shot by John Wilkes Booth at Ford’s Theatre.
5. There are very specific colors used to create the flag.
It’s the Textile Color Card Association of the United States (TCCA) that creates the palate of colors used for both private and public institutions, and the U.S. Army that issues a reference guide of acceptable shades to be used in local, state and national flags. So if you’re trying to produce a truly authentic American flag, you’ll need to use the exact shades of white, “Old Glory Red” and “Old Glory Blue,” specified in the guide. However, mass-market flag manufacturers have been known to fudge a bit and use the more-easily processed Pantone Matching Shades of Dark Red (193 C) and Navy Blue (281 C).
6. If early politicians had their way, you would see a lot less of the American flag.
While the battle over perceived desecration of the flag remains a hot button issue today, some of the first anti-desecration measures had little to do with flag burning or other destructive measures. In fact, 19th century lawmakers were more concerned with the already rampant use of the flag as a promotional tool by advertisers, which they considered treating the banner with “contempt.” Many of the first statutes passed by state and local governments aimed to restrict use of the flag’s image on commercial products. In 1907, the Supreme Court upheld these laws in the case of Halter v. Nebraska, and many of them remain on the books today.
Three Cheers for the Red, White, and Blue Facts about the United States Flag
One of two flags that flew from the locomotive of the Lincoln funeral train on the route between Albany and Utica, New York.
Until the Executive Order of June 24, 1912, neither the order of the stars nor the proportions of the flag was prescribed. Consequently, flags dating before this period sometimes show unusual arrangements of the stars and odd proportions, these features being left to the discretion of the flag maker. In general, however, straight rows of stars and proportions similar to those later adopted officially were used. The principal acts affecting the flag of the United States are the following:
- Flag Resolution of June 14, 1777 - stated: "Resolved: that the flag of the United States be made of thirteen stripes, alternate red and white that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new Constellation."
- Act of January 13, 1794 - provided for 15 stripes and 15 stars after May 1795.
- Act of April 4, 1818 - provided for 13 stripes and one star for each state, to be added to the flag on the 4th of July following the admission of each new state.
- Executive Order of President Taft dated June 24, 1912 - established proportions of the flag and provided for arrangement of the stars in six horizontal rows of eight each, a single point of each star to be upward.
- Executive Order of President Eisenhower dated January 3, 1959 - provided for the arrangement of the stars in seven rows of seven stars each, staggered horizontally and vertically.
- Executive Order of President Eisenhower dated August 21, 1959 - provided for the arrangement of the stars in nine rows of stars staggered horizontally and eleven rows of stars staggered vertically.
NUMBER OF STARS IN THE U.S. FLAG, AND ADDITIONAL STATES REPRESENTED 1777 TO PRESENT
Additional states with date of entry into Union
- Delaware (December 7, 1787)
- Pennsylvania (December 12, 1787)
- New Jersey (December 18, 1787)
- Georgia (January 2, 1788)
- Connecticut (January 9, 1788)
- Massachusetts (February 6, 1788)
- Maryland (April 28, 1788)
- South Carolina (May 23, 1788)
- New Hampshire (June 21, 1788)
- Virginia (June 25, 1788)
- New York (July 26, 1788)
- North Carolina (November 21, 1789)
- Rhode Island (May 29, 1790)
- Vermont (March 4, 1791)
- Kentucky (June 1, 1792)
- Tennessee (June 1, 1796)
- Ohio (March 1, 1803)
- Louisiana (April 30, 1812)
- Indiana (December 11, 1816)
- Mississippi (December 10, 1817)
- Illinois (December 3, 1818)
- Alabama (December 14, 1819)
- Maine (March 15, 1820)
- Missouri (August 10, 1821)
- Arkansas (June 15, 1836)
- Michigan (Jan 26, 1837)
- Florida (March 3, 1845)
- Texas (December 29, 1845)
- Iowa (December 28, 1846)
- Wisconsin (May 29, 1848)
- California (September 9, 1850)
- Minnesota (May 11, 1858)
- Oregon (February 14, 1859)
- Kansas (January 29, 1861)
- West Virginia (June 20, 1863)
- Nevada (October 31, 1864)
- Nebraska (March 1, 1867)
- Colorado (August 1, 1876)
- North Dakota (November 2, 1889)
- South Dakota (November 2, 1889)
- Montana (November 8, 1889)
- Washington (November 11, 1889)
- Idaho (July 3, 1890)
- Wyoming (July 10, 1890)
- Utah (January 4, 1896)
- Oklahoma (November 16, 1907)
- New Mexico (January 6, 1912)
- Arizona (February 14, 1912)
- Alaska (January 3, 1959)
- Hawaii (August 21, 1959)
Prepared by the Armed Forces History Collections,
in cooperation with Public Inquiry Services,
The History of the Transgender Flag
Monica Helms (right) with the National Center for Transgender Equality Executive Director, Mara Keisling.
1. The transgender flag was created by trans woman Monica Helmes in 1999
The trans pride flag was designed by Monica Helms, an openly transgender American woman, in August 1999. It was first shown at a Phoenix, Arizona LGBT pride celebration the following year.
2. Every aspect of the design is carefully chosen to reflect trans identities
Helms describes the meaning of the transgender flag as follows:
“The stripes at the top and bottom are light blue, the traditional color for baby boys. The stripes next to them are pink, the traditional color for baby girls. The stripe in the middle is white, for those who are intersex, transitioning or consider themselves having a neutral or undefined gender. The pattern is such that no matter which way you fly it, it is always correct, signifying us finding correctness in our lives.”
3. The very first flag now lives at the Smithsonian
In August 2014, Helms donated the original transgender flag to the Smithsonian National Museum of American History in Washington, DC, as part of a special LGBT collection.
4. There are several alternative transgender flag designs
A design for an alternative transgender flag, created by Ottawa designer Michelle Lindsay, consists of two stripes: the top in magenta representing female and the bottom in blue representing male, overlapped by a transgender symbol in white. It was first used in the Ottawa area for the 2010 Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDoR), and has since been flown for TDoR events in the Ottawa-Gatineau region as well as during the Peterborough Pride Parade.
There’s also another design used primarily in Israel by the transgender and genderqueer community. Unlike the colors of the other designs, this flag is neon green and features the transgender symbol centered in black.
5. There is a flag design for genderqueer trans folks
Designed by genderqueer writer and advocate Marilyn Roxie, the genderqueer flag consists of a lavender stripe on the top, as it is a mixture of blue and pink – the traditional colors associated with men and women – in order to represent androgyny. The lavender also represents the queer identity, as it has long been a color associated with the LGBT community. In the center is a white stripe, meant to represent the agender or gender neutral identity. Finally, there is the dark chartreuse green, as the inverse of lavender, it is used to represent third gender identities and all those who identify off the traditional gender spectrum.
Like this mini history lesson?
Learn more about the stories behind other iconic LGBTQ symbols, flags, and art:
The Quick 10: 10 Facts About the American Flag
Sunday commemorates the United States' 93rd Flag Day. Sort of. We'll get to that in a second. It's one of those underrated holidays that doesn't get too much attention, but we're bucking that trend here on the _floss by dedicating 10 facts just to the flag.
1. It was 1916 that Woodrow Wilson set aside June 14 as the the date for honoring the flag. But it wasn't actually declared National Flag Day until 1949, when it was established by an act of Congress. Why June 14? Because that's the day in 1777 that the Second Continental Congress adopted Betty Ross' (according to popular legend, anyway) flag as the official flag of the United States.
2. You know the story "“ George Washington prevailed upon Betsy Ross to create a flag for the country and she sewed it up with her bare hands. It's a nice story and all, but nearly all flag historians believe it probably never really happened. Our only source for this tale is her family "“ no historical records seem to back it up. No records show that the Continental Congress issued a flag to be designed, no invoice or any supporting documents have ever been found amongst Betsy's detailed records, and no mention of a national flag appears in Congress records until the Flag Resolution of 1777.
3. The United States Flag Code specifies that the flag should never be dipped to any person or thing. As far as we can tell, this custom dates back to the 1908 London Olympics. All countries were asked to respectfully dip their flags to the Royal Box when the procession passed by King Edward VII, but Ralph Rose, the American track and field athlete holding the flag, refused to comply. His teammate Martin Sheridan later explained, "This flag dips to no earthly king." The tradition has been upheld ever since and was officially written into the Flag Code in 1911.
4. I see this rule of the Flag Code broken all of the time, and I bet you do too: the flag should not be used for any advertising purpose, including worn on clothes or for decoration in general (it's fine on coffins). I'm picturing myself in the early "˜90s "“ cutoff jean shorts with cuffs and a big, oversized American flag t-shirt "“ and I feel guilty for so many reasons.
5. There's a theory that the red and white stripes on the flag were based on George Washington's coat of arms. There's no proof for this the idea is based purely on the resemblance of colors and shapes. Most historians think the flag was probably based off of the Sons of Liberty flag. If you've ever read Johnny Tremaine you probably remember these guys "“ they were a secret organization that rebelled against British taxes and laws. Their flag was nine vertical stripes, commonly red and white (yellow and green were also sometimes used instead of red). It's thought that the nine stripes represented the number of colonies that would attend the Stamp Act Congress.
6. You no doubt know that "Old Glory" refers to the flag, but there's actually a specific flag that started the trend. It was made for Captain William Driver to fly from the mast of his whaling ship in the early 1800s. Measuring 10 feet by 17 feet, it was pretty large and rather difficult to conceal when the Civil War broke out. Old Glory had become rather famous thanks to Driver and his travels, and he believed that Confederate soldiers wanted to destroy his beloved flag to send a message to the Union. He had it sewn inside a quilt and it remained there until the Union took Nashville back. Then, the story goes, Driver flew Old Glory from the state capitol building in celebration. These days, she resides in the Smithsonian and will probably stay there for the rest of her existence "“ the flag was taken out for an exhibition in 2006 and it was determined afterward that it was too fragile to be moved from the museum ever again.
7. There is also a specific Star-Spangled Banner. It's the flag Francis Scott Key saw when he was watching Fort McHenry being bombarded during the War of 1812 "“ his tale goes just like the song goes: after gunfire and rain all night, the flag was still standing when the sun rose. Inspired, Key wrote down what he was feeling "“ but when he wrote it, it was simply a poem called "Defense of Fort McHenry." It became a song when Key's brother-in-law discovered that the poem perfectly fit the tune of a popular song called "The Anacreontic Song." Although the song was played at public events and on patriotic occasions from that point on, it wasn't officially named as the national anthem until after Robert Ripley of Ripley's Believe it or Not noted in his cartoon that "Believe It or Not, America has no national anthem." John Philip Sousa rallied for The Star-Spangled Banner to become the new national anthem, and on March 3, 1931, Herbert Hoover signed a law making it so.
8. The designer of our current 50-star flag was a high school student at the time. It was 1958 and there was some chatter that Alaska and Hawaii were going to officially become states 49 and 50. One of his teachers capitalized on the current events of the day and had his students design a new flag incorporating the two new states. Robert G. Heft did just that, arranging the stars so it wasn't very evident that he had added any. His teacher gave him a B-, saying that the design was unoriginal. When Heft balked at the grade, his teacher told him that if he could get the flag adopted by Congress, he would bump the grade up to an A. Heft jumped at the opportunity and sent the flag to his congressman, who ended up getting the flag approved. Heft got the grade increase. Since then, Heft's original homemade flag has flown over every single state capitol building, over 88 U.S. embassies, and over the White House for five administrations. He has a design with 51 stars ready to go if the need arises.
9. There are a handful of flags that are displayed continuously despite weather conditions. A few of the places you can find these flags include the Iwo Jima Memorial in Washington, D.C. the Washington Monument Gettysburg College at a spot that served as a lookout and hospital during the Civil War (fittingly, this one is a Civil War flag) at the Maryland birthplace and grace of Francis Scott Key on the surface of the moon at Mount Moriah Cemetery in Deadwood, S.D., and in Nashville City Cemetery over the grave site of William Driver.
10. There's a proper way to fly a flag at half staff, and it's not just hoisting it halfway and stopping "“ it has to go to the top of the pole first before it is slowly lowered to the appropriate height. Dwight D. Eisenhower was the first President to officially issue the half-staff proclamation.
The History And Meaning Of The Rainbow Pride Flag
Stroll across any number of cities throughout June, and you’ll find the near-ubiquitous presence of the rainbow pride flag, which has come to represent the LGBTQ community worldwide. This year alone, the iconic, six-stripe pattern has been seen in children’s books, at theme parks and on a seemingly endless series of clothing lines a revamped version of the design was worn by “Master of None” writer and star Lena Waithe as a “queer superhero” cape at the Met Gala last month in New York.
The original rainbow pride flag dates back to 1978, when it was created by San Francisco-based queer artist Gilbert Baker for a mere $1,000. A self-described “geeky kid from Kansas,” Baker relocated to San Francisco as an Army draftee in 1970. After an honorable discharge from the military, he decided to remain in the City by the Bay to pursue a design career.
In 1974, Baker’s life changed forever when he was introduced to rising queer activist Harvey Milk, who owned a camera shop in San Francisco’s Castro district. Milk, of course, would go on to win a seat as a San Francisco city supervisor in 1977, becoming the first openly gay man elected to public office in California in the process. Along with writer Cleve Jones and filmmaker Artie Bressan, Milk pressed Baker to create a recognizable emblem of empowerment for the queer community. The artist looked back to America’s bicentennial celebrations over the previous year for inspiration.
“As a community, both local and international, gay people were in the midst of an upheaval, a battle for equal rights, a shift in status where we were now demanding power, taking it. This was our new revolution: a tribal, individualistic, and collective vision. It deserved a new symbol,” Baker wrote in his as-yet-unpublished memoir, excerpts of which have appear on the Gilbert Baker Estate’s website.
“I thought of the American flag with its thirteen stripes and thirteen stars, the colonies breaking away from England to form the United States,” he wrote. “I thought of the vertical red, white, and blue tricolor from the French Revolution and how both flags owed their beginnings to a riot, a rebellion, or revolution. I thought a gay nation should have a flag too, to proclaim its own idea of power.”
Milk went on to ride under the original, eight-striped rainbow pride flag at the San Francisco Gay Freedom Day Parade in June 1978, just months before he was assassinated. Over the next two years, the design was altered to its current, six-stripe version, but the flag’s all-inclusive message remained intact.
Baker, who died in 2017, never became rich from his design, but it has since been used to symbolize solidarity with LGBTQ movements not just in the U.S. but around the world.
In the years since its creation, the flag has generated a mythology of its own, which Baker “understood was something beyond his control,” according to close friend Charles Beal, who is also manager of creative projects at the Gilbert Baker Estate. “He purposely never copyrighted the flag because he wanted it to be owned by everyone.”
In honor of LGBTQ Pride month, Beal spoke with HuffPost to discuss the history of his friend’s flag.
When the rainbow pride flag was unveiled in 1978, its colors were hot pink, red, orange, yellow, green, turquoise, indigo and violet.
Over the next two years, its design was changed for different reasons. At the time, hot pink was a non-standard color in flag fabric production, and deemed too costly to reproduce. The turquoise and indigo stripes were also dropped in favor of royal blue when organizers of San Francisco's Gay Freedom Day Parade wanted to split the flag in half to fly across the street and wanted equal stripes on both sides.
Throughout history, closeted gay men have used brightly colored clothing or accessories as a form of covert communication to signal their sexual interests and desires to other men. (Oscar Wilde, for instance, famously wore a green carnation.) In Nazi Germany, pink triangles were used to identify male prisoners who had been sent to concentration camps because of their homosexuality.
Baker saw the flag as a way of incorporating various colors into a single, coherent symbol. Of the pink triangle, he later wrote. "It functioned as a Nazi tool of oppression. We all felt that we needed something that was positive, that celebrated our love."
One of the most persistent myths about the flag is that it was an intentional reference to &ldquoOver the Rainbow,&rdquo the Oscar-winning song from the classic 1939 film, &ldquoThe Wizard of Oz.&rdquo
Not so, says Beal &ndash though there&rsquos a likely explanation for the confusion. The movie&rsquos star, Judy Garland, was beloved by gay audiences during her lifetime and remains a queer icon. Garland also is often culturally linked to the Stonewall riots, which are considered the start of the modern LGBTQ rights movement and took place on June 28, 1969 &ndash less than 24 hours after her funeral.
Baker, Beal said, wasn&rsquot bothered by this misconception and found it somewhat endearing. Like the fictional Dorothy, he was raised in Kansas.
Though the rainbow flag is his best-known creation, Baker worked for San Francisco's now-defunct Paramount Flag Company for years.
Later in life, he worked as a freelance designer, and created flags for the 1984 Democratic National Convention and Super Bowl XIX in 1985, among other occasions.
Baker set a world record in 2003 to mark the rainbow flag's 25th anniversary, creating a 1- and 1/4-mile-long version unfurled at Florida's Key West Pride that same year.
The artist restored the original hot pink, turquoise and indigo stripes for the massive flag, which was chronicled in the 2004 documentary, &ldquoRainbow Pride.&rdquo After the celebrations in Key West ended, the flag was cut into sections and distributed to more than 100 cities around the world.
On June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage nationwide. The White House celebrated the ruling by illuminating its façade in rainbow colors, as did New York's Empire State Building, San Francisco&rsquos City Hall and Walt Disney World&rsquos Cinderella Castle.
Seeing the illumination of those landmarks &ldquoblew Baker&rsquos mind,&rdquo Beal said. &ldquoI think he was overwhelmed with joy that this flag made by hippies&hellip in San Francisco had become a permanent worldwide symbol.&rdquo
Baker was especially forever grateful to Jeff Tiller, who was then the White House&rsquos associate communications director and reportedly conceived the idea.
&ldquo[Tiller] really lit the fuse,&rdquo Beal said.
Weeks ahead of the 2016 presidential election, Trump hoisted an upside-down rainbow flag on which the words &ldquoLGBT for Trump&rdquo had been scribbled in black marker at a rally in Greeley, Colorado.
The move seemed out of place, given both the tone of Trump&rsquos campaign and his vice presidential running mate, Mike Pence, who has a record of opposition to LGBTQ rights.
Baker responded to Trump&rsquos election, Beal said, by creating a nine-color rainbow flag with a lavender stripe added for diversity. He also unveiled an art installation of concentration camp-style uniforms emblazoned with oversize pink triangles that was displayed at a San Francisco gallery.
&ldquoThat&rsquos how much he feared the Trump regime,&rdquo Beal said.
In 2017, Philadelphia unveiled a new flag with black and brown stripes added to represent people of color who previously felt &rdquomarginalized, ignored, and even intentionally excluded" from its Pride celebrations.
Philly's flag was created after a series of complaints against LGBTQ bars in the city, some of which had allegedly denied entry to people of color based on vague dress codes. The revised flag sparked controversy among some critics, who viewed adding stripes to Baker's original design as disrespectful.
This was the version Waithe (in the photo immediately above) wore to the Met Ball.
As for Baker, "he would have loved it," Beal said. "He was not precious about how the flag was used -- he might have added those colors to the flag himself for them."
#TheFutureIsQueer is HuffPost’s monthlong celebration of queerness, not just as an identity but as action in the world. Find all of our Pride Month coverage here.
History of the American Flag & American Flag Facts
“Old Glory, Stars and Stripes, the Star Spangled Banner” - From its inception, the American flag has been an important part of our nation’s history. Surviving over 200 years, the flag has both physically and symbolically grown and developed in times of both achievement and crisis.
The American flag is a symbol known worldwide. It has been the inspiration for holidays, songs, poems, books, artwork and so much more. The flag has been used to display our nationalism, as well as our rebellion, and everything else in between. The flag is so important that its history tells the story of America itself.
It represents the freedom, dignity, and true meaning of being an American. It has been with us through our war times, our sad times, but also in times of our greatest joys and triumphs. The flag went through many variations before becoming the flag we all know and love.
In fact, it took from January 1, 1776 to August 21, 1960.
It has also been shrouded in legend and mystery for many years. Did Betsy Ross truly design the first flag? Do the colors really stand for something significant? We will explore this and other myths.
Hello, I’m Terry Ruggles, join me as we recount the History of the American Flag.
When we think of the American Revolution, we think of it in terms of its final form, as independence from Britain, but the American Revolution was a “work in progress”. It did not start out as a movement for independence, but a movement to gain seats in Parliament. It evolved from a protest, to a full blown revolution into a move for independence…and Our flag reflected the various stages of this.
So let’s take a look at the components that make up our current US Flag. We have what’s known as the canton or blue field, the stars, and of course, the stripes.
So where did these designs come from?
The earliest use of stripes in flags in what was to become America is from the “Sons of Liberty” Flag. The Son’s of Liberty were the original “Tea Party” members These are the guys that threw the chests of tea overboard into the Boston Harbour.
Starting after the stamp act in 1765. The Sons of Liberty began their protesting. They came up with a flag that looked similar to this only with less stripes. The pattern however was the same and it could be displayed either horizontally or vertically. This may have been the pattern that contributed for the stripes on our flag.
In 1775, at the Beginning of the Revolution, Independence had not yet been declared. The Continental Congress was meeting in Philadelphia when a somewhat obscure militia Colonel from Virginia came forward in his uniform and volunteered to take command of the troops outside of Boston overlooking Boston Heights. That Colonel was George Washington.
When he left Philadelphia, he took with him two flags. The Grand Union or The Continental as it was called was the first flag under which continental soldiers fought. It uses the alternating red and white stripe pattern similar to the Sons of Liberty Flag only there are 13 stripes signifying the 13 colonies. However, notice that instead of stars on a blue field, we have the “Kings Colors” also known as the “Union Jack”. This flag had a very specific meaning. It meant that we were fighting as 13 united colonies but under British Rule. Remember, at this time we had not yet declared our Independence.
The other flag that Washington took with him is known as the Washington’s Headquarters Flag. Look familiar? As you can see, the entire field is BLUE. There are 13 stars arranged in a pattern known as the 3-2-3-2-3 pattern. 5 rows of alternating stars of 3 stars, 2 stars, 3 stars, 2 stars, 3 stars. However, you will also notice that they are 6 pointed stars. A slight difference from the 5 pointed star on the current flag. This would be the first use of the star pattern on an American flag and today you can see a copy of this flag hanging in front of Washington’s Headquarters at Valley Forge.
A year later, on July 4, 1776, congress declared its independence from Great Britain. From that moment on, we were fighting for our independence. Yet the continental congress still did not design a new American flag. That flag came about on June 14, 1777 when congress passed the first of three major flag acts . The first act stated that “the flag of the US shall consist of 13 alternating stripes of red on white with 13 white stars on a blue field forming a new constellation. What it left out was the following:
- Were those stripes to be vertical or horizontal?
- Where was the blue field to be placed?
- What was the star pattern to be used?
- And how many points were to be on the star?
So who designed the flag? In 1776 you couldn’t go into a store and buy a flag off the rack. Back then, flags were made in one of two ways. Since most Flags had a naval use, you could go to a ships chandlery - a store that outfitted ships - and the chandler would contract with a sail maker or in many cases an upholsterer to make the flag. An upholster in colonial times had more functions that what we typically think of today. Besides working on furniture, they also made flags and other military equipment. This is where the legend of Betsy Ross comes in to play.
We know that Betsy Ross was an upholsterer who made flags for the Pennsylvania Navy. What we don’t know is did she really design the first flag? There is a great deal of controversy about this.
In 1870, Betty Ross’ Grandson was addressing an Historic society in Philadelphia and said that his grandmother told him that she met with George Washington and others and she designed the flag. But did she design it or did Francis Hopkinson design it?
Francis Hopkinson was one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence from the state of New Jersey. The only evidence of who made the flag is a bill that was submitted to congress by Francis Hopkinson that said for designing the flag, you owe me two casks of ale. What we don’t have is a picture of that flag, a written description of the flag, or even a sketch of the flag. So, the mystery remains.
Regardless of these facts, the legend lives on and the first flag of the Revolutionary Period is referred to as “The Betsy Ross” flag…the pattern of stars on the blue field is known by three names, The Betsy Ross Pattern, The Philadelphia Pattern, or The Single Wreath Pattern. The blue field on the flag also goes by three names - the field, the union, or the canton. Because congress did not set the specifics of where the field would be or how the star pattern should look like, or how many points the star would have, during this period, and up until 1912, the stars could be arranged in any manner that a flag maker would choose.
When congress put together the notion of the flag, they blended the already established design of alternating stripes of red on white signifying the united colonies and a blue field with 13 stars (just like the Washington’s Headquarters flag). Many people believe this may have been the flag that Francis Hopkins designed, but once again this is only speculation.
This pattern is known as the Cowpens pattern. Another well-known flag during this time was the Easton Flag. Interesting design right? But remember, Congress did not specify where all of the elements should be placed. After the Revolutionary War ended, our country wrights a new constitution. We elect Geo Washington president and in 1792 we bring in two new states – Vermont and Kentucky. This begs the question, what do we do with the flag?
Because the original flag act called for 13 stripes and 13 stars to represent the 13 colonies, what do we do to signify the adding of two new states to the Union? At this time, Congress passes the 2nd flag act and it states that from now on we would add one stripe and one star for each new state. This new 15 star and 15 stripe flag is known as The Star Spangled Banner. It is this flag that flew over Fort McHenry and inspired Francis Scott Key to write our national anthem. After the War of 1812 we were adding more states again and as we incorporated more stars and stripes into the design, our flag was starting to look a little funny.
So in 1818, Congress passed the 3rd of the three major flag acts. It stated that the design was to go back to the original configuration of 13 alternating stripes of red on white, representing the 13 original colonies, but that we would add one star for each new state. However, once again, it did not specify what pattern the stars should be arranged in or the amount of points that were to be on the star. So we had many variations of flag design during this time.
Finally, in 1912 President Taft established the pattern of stars that we know today. The 48 star, 49 star and 50 star flag all conform to this pattern.
Our flag is an inspiring symbol that unites us all as American citizens. The unique history of the American flag follows the history of our country and reminds us of the triumphant beginning of the United States. The 13 stripes: a symbol of the first 13 colonies. The stars: a symbol of our country's 50 United States. As our country grew and developed, so did our flag. It has followed the fate of the country itself and, in the future, our flag may even change again.
Today, our flag remains a vibrant symbol of the American principles of democracy, justice, and freedom, and of course the everlasting memory of those who have sacrificed their lives defending these intrinsic principles of the United States of America.
Over two hundred years ago, the Second Continental Congress officially made the Stars and Stripes the symbol of America, going so far as to declare that the 13 stars gracing the original flag represented "a new constellation" with the ideal that America embodied a bright new hope and light for mankind. Today, our flag continues to carry the inspirational and fundamental convictions of our great nation, and will continue to do so for many years to come.
► The Spanish flag has undergone many changes over the centuries back in the 16th century, the concept of a national flag was different to what we know today.
► The Cross of Burgundy is one of the most prominent and earliest flags used in Spanish history. A white or yellow flag with the Cross of Burgundy placed at the center was used by the army, and it also appeared on Spanish regimental flags. Its earliest use dates back to the 15th century, and it remained in use till the 18th century. This flag was first introduced in Spain by Phillip the Handsome (Felipe el Hermoso), and the flag was used under his reign.
► By the mid-16th century, when Spain was ruled by the House of Habsburg, each military company possessed its own flag, but when Phillip II, came to power, he ordered that each company should have one more flag with the Cross of Burgundy in red in addition to the previous one.
► In 1700, when Phillip V ascended the throne, he made certain changes on the royal arms, French Heraldists Charles-Rene d’Hozier and Pierre Clairambault designed the new arms for the king. He was the first king to give this country its own unified symbol, by placing the Cross of Burgundy and the Royal Coat of Arms on a white background, but it was not a national flag.
► In 1760, Charles III chose a flag, it had 2 red stripes, and 1 yellow stripe in the middle, this flag was used for war purposes, and the flag selected for civil ensign or for merchant marine consisted of 5 stripes of yellow-red-yellow-red-yellow.
- Pluto was discovered at Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, AZ.
- The famous Route 66 runs directly through Flagstaff, and Flagstaff was the city with the highest elevation on the historic Route.
- The Hotel Monte Vista, Weatherford Hotel and Museum Club, among other places in Flagstaff, are believed to be haunted. Guests have reported seeing “spirits” or having supernatural experiences.
- The Museum of Northern Arizona houses more than 5 million southwestern artifacts. is just one of over 600 volcanoes located in Northern Arizona.
- Flagstaff is home to the Flagstaff Urban Trail System (FUTS) which encompasses approximately 50 miles of trails throughout the city and includes areas on all sides of town.
- Flagstaff is located in the world’s largest contiguous ponderosa pine forest. was originally home to the Sinagua Indians, who lived in the area in the 1200s before volcanic eruptions drove them out.
- On average, 100 trains pass through Flagstaff in a day. was designed by Charles Whittlesey, designer of the Grand Canyon’s El Tovar Hotel.
4 Betsy Ross May Not Be As Important To The Story As We Thought
Betsy Ross is well-known to American schoolchildren as the woman who designed the first American Flag upon request by George Washington. As we previously mentioned, Ross wasn&rsquot involved in the creation of the first flag, and as it happens, her name wasn&rsquot even tied to the story until 1876, which was 40 years after her death. That isn&rsquot to say Ross wasn&rsquot involved in the production of American flags during her lifetime she sewed quite a few in her day.
The story goes that a Congressional committee approached Ross in 1776 to create the flag, which she designed from their concept. There is no evidence that this event ever occurred, nor is there anything indicating that Congress sent such a commission. Ross and her shop became heavily involved in the production of naval flags as well as American flags later on, but her involvement in the flag&rsquos creation and the story told for centuries may be little more than a pleasant fable.  Nevertheless, Ross has become a folk hero in American culture and a hero of the revolution.
11 Fast Facts About the History of Pizza
Whether you like New York-style or Chicago deep-dish thin, thick, or hand-tossed crust vegan, extra-cheesy, or pineapple and ham—chances are there's a slice of pizza with your name on it. And if you consider pizza one of your favorite meals (if not your absolute favorite), you're not alone: Pizza is one of the most popular dishes across the globe. In fact, it's so versatile and well-loved that it's really no surprise that many countries claim to have created the world's first real pizza.
Want to learn a thing or two about the savory pie to impress all your friends at your next pizza party? Here are ten interesting facts about the history of pizza. A word of warning: You're going to want to order a slice before you get to the end of this article.
Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article.
Juneteenth, also called Emancipation Day or Juneteenth Independence Day, holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the United States, observed annually on June 19. Juneteenth is celebrated on Saturday, June 19, 2021.
What is Juneteenth?
Juneteenth is a holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the United States. It is also called Emancipation Day or Juneteenth Independence Day. The name “Juneteenth” references the date of the holiday, combining the words “June” and “nineteenth.”
When is Juneteenth?
Juneteenth is celebrated annually on June 19.
What is the origin of Juneteenth?
Juneteenth was originally celebrated in Texas, on June 19, 1866. It marked the first anniversary of the day that African Americans there first learned of the Emancipation Proclamation, more than two years after it was initially issued. The holiday was originally celebrated with prayer meetings and by singing spirituals and wearing new clothes to represent newfound freedom. Within a few years, African Americans were celebrating Juneteenth in other states, making it an annual tradition. Learn more.
Is Juneteenth a federal holiday?
Juneteenth is a federal holiday in the United States. Legislation establishing the holiday was passed by Congress on June 16, 2021, and signed into law by U.S. President Joe Biden the following day. Juneteenth had previously been established as a state holiday in Texas in 1980, with a number of other states later declaring it a state holiday or day of observance.
How is Juneteenth celebrated?
Juneteenth celebrations in the United States typically include prayer and religious services, speeches, educational events, family gatherings and picnics, and festivals with food, music, and dancing. The day is also celebrated outside the United States and is used to recognize the end of slavery as well as to celebrate African American culture and achievements.
How did the American civil rights movement affect Juneteenth celebrations?
Juneteenth celebrations in the United States declined in the 1960s, overshadowed by the civil rights movement. However, the holiday began to regain its importance in 1968 when the Poor People’s Campaign, originally led by Martin Luther King, Jr., held a Juneteenth Solidarity Day. Interest in Juneteenth continued to increase in the following decades, and the first state-sponsored Juneteenth celebration was held in Texas in 1980.
In 1863, during the American Civil War, Pres. Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, which declared more than three million slaves living in the Confederate states to be free. More than two years would pass, however, before the news reached African Americans living in Texas. It was not until Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas, on June 19, 1865, that the state’s residents finally learned that slavery had been abolished. The former slaves immediately began to celebrate with prayer, feasting, song, and dance.
The following year, on June 19, the first official Juneteenth celebrations took place in Texas. The original observances included prayer meetings and the singing of spirituals, and celebrants wore new clothes as a way of representing their newfound freedom. Within a few years, African Americans in other states were celebrating the day as well, making it an annual tradition. Celebrations have continued across the United States into the 21st century and typically include prayer and religious services, speeches, educational events, family gatherings and picnics, and festivals with music, food, and dancing.
Juneteenth became a state holiday in Texas in 1980, and a number of other states subsequently followed suit. In 2021 Juneteenth was made a federal holiday. The day is also celebrated outside the United States, being used by organizations in a number of countries to recognize the end of slavery and to honour the culture and achievements of African Americans.