American Flag – History And Symbolism

American flags are spotted on various private buildings, seen on cars, worn as badges, displayed on residences etc. all over the USA. The red and white striped piece with a blue field of stars is valued to be much more than a simple flag. After the September 11 terrorist attack, it is pure show of patriotism, commitment and support on the government as well as citizens’ part. It is the depiction of the culture and liberty of the strongest nation of the world, a depiction of hearts beating in the strongest realm on the globe. In the 200 years of its existence, the American flag has gone through various changes before becoming what it is today.


The earliest flag to be recorded is the ‘Gadsden Flag’ or ‘rattlesnake’. Introduced in 1775, it had the impression of a rattlesnake with 13 rattles, all ready to attack.

January 1st, 1776 was the day when George Washington hoisted the first flag ever known as the ‘Grand Union Flag’. To look at, it had thirteen alternate stripes of red and white along with the British Union Jack in the upper left-hand corner.

In the month of May, Betsy Ross was reported to have sewn the first ever American flag in 1776. But according to the historians, Francis Hopkins, a member of the Continental Congress was the man to have designed the first flag.

The Flag act was passed on June 14, 1777 by the US Congress that stated the flag be made of thirteen stripes of alternating red and white and the union be of thirteen white stars on a blue field, representing a new constellation, or so is said.

Between 1777 and 1960, various changes were instilled on the flag to accommodate more stars depicting the new states and changes of the like. As on January 13, 1794, the flag consisted of 15 stars and 15 stripes after the addition of Vermont and Kentucky. On April 4, 1888 President Monroe signed the act for cutting down the number of stripes to thirteen. Changes kept taking place till 1960, until Hawaii was added to the American colonies as well as the number of stars to complete half a century.


The American flag is considered to be the most respected and acknowledged symbol in whole of America. It is not uncommon to find these on government buildings, private residences and on car windows as label motifs. Patriots have a strong belief that this Old Glory is a symbol of the USA’s constitutional government, individual autonomy as introduced in the Declaration of Independence and a citizen’s rights as per the ‘Bill of Rights’.

The stripes are known as the rays of sunshine and stars refer to heavens.

At the present date, the flag consists of seven red stripes, showing valor and hardiness, alternating six white ones showing purity and innocence. They represent the thirteen original colonies of America. The fifty stars represent the colonies of America on a blue field of justice, perseverance and vigilance.

A thing to note would be the fact that there is no legal definition of the American flag and its colors.

The Flag Code

Here are a few points that would help you show more respect to the flag while hoisting it the next time.

It is mandatory that the flag be hoisted from sunrise to sunset and after the sunset it should either be removed or be lighted sufficiently and prevent from letting it flap in the dark.

Unless the flag is at half staff, the blue union should be at the peak of the staff being projected from the balcony or window sill of a house. If the flag is suspended in over the middle of the street, it should be placed vertically with the union facing north on an east to west street and east on a north and south street. A staff less flag should be flat and the union should be on the left side of the observer and on the topmost corner.

There are many, many more rules to be followed. If you wish you may go on a detailed trip on Google to find history of the flag code and the whole of the codes.

And yeah, one needs to be a bit more careful and buy the flags of true American nationality that depict the blood and sweat of true Americans and not flimsy ‘Made in China’ stuff that, as some put it, ‘is enough to make Betsy Ross turn in her grave’.

The American flag sings out the song of glory and sets an example for all the nations worldwide. A fervent feeling is centered in the intellect when the community sees it. A feeling of pride on being American envelopes Americans when this historic emblem is sighted and why shouldn’t it?