History of the Stars and Stripes

Every country has a flag that represents its history and story over the ages and it’s safe to say that the American Flag is considered to be one of the most famous in the world. 

The flag has been changed over the years, and after debates on states, it took a while before it was determined how many stars would be on it. Denmark was the first country to officially print flags as a patriotic tribute, and many others followed soon after. 

The US national flag, otherwise known as the Stars and Stripes, was originally created in 1777, though it took almost 150 years to become the flag we see today. In 1912, President Howard Taft signed an executive order to clarify what the flag should look like. Years later, in 1949, President Harry Truman signed legislation designating 14th June as National Flag Day. 

PBS.org detailed the history of the flag, and once the final design was agreed upon, it represented the history of the US. With 13 horizontal stripes representing the original 13 Colonies, and the stars representing the 50 states, it’s symbolic of the country. According to the site, the colours of the flag are also symbolic. The red symbolises hardiness and valour, white symbolises purity and innocence, and blue represents vigilance, perseverance and justice. 

Over the years, the American flag has been placed in a number of different areas outside of the US. In 1909, the flag was placed at the North Pole by Robert Peary, years after in 1963, Barry Bishop put it on top of Mount Everest. In 1969, possibly the most famous placement of the flag outside of the US was in space when Neil Armstrong placed it on the moon. 

The amount of stars and stripes on the American flag has changed over the years, with the original flag displaying 15 stripes and 15 starts in 1795. The order of the stars and stripes changed in 1912, and in 1959 the arrangement was confirmed to show the stars in nine rows staggered horizontally and eleven rows staggered vertically. 

As the states have changed, the flag has also been adapted. In 1960, the 48-star flag was transformed into the 50-star flag. The 48 star was in effect for 47 years, which was the longest-reigning version until the 50-star, which has been in use for 59 years. 

There are a number of rules and regulations around displaying the flag. Although there are a handful of places which fly it all day, every day, for the majority of people, it has to go down at sunset. The flag should be displayed daily and on all holidays unless it’s raining. 

When the flag is raised or lowered in a ceremony, everyone should face the flag with their right hand over their heart. The flag should never touch anything beneath it, nor should it be dipped towards anyone or any object. 

In the US, the flag is of utmost importance to the country and most citizens wear the flag with pride. It also acts as a big part of the 4th July parades and is an essential feature in all aspects of the American lifestyle.