Fun With Flags

Happy 4th of July. Here are some American Flag facts… As told by WikiPedia.

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This was the Continental Colors (AKA the Grand Union Flag).

180px-Grand_Union_Flag.svg

It was likely created because of the urgency to have a flag, and the ease to simply adding white stripes to The Red Ensign flag flown by the Royal Navy:Civil_Ensign_of_the_United_Kingdom.svg

Interestingly enough, this was the flag of the East India Company from 1700-1801… Corporatization of America began early?

180px-Flag_of_the_British_East_India_Company_(1707).svg

On June 14, 1777 the Second Continental Congress passed a Flag Resolution stating that the American Flag shall have 13 stars representing the original 13 colonies. Flag Day is now observed on June 14. However, the concept of a national flag wasn’t really a thing, so it’s most likely the Flag Resolution was meant for the Navy. This was the Francis Hopkins flag with six pointed stars arranged in neat rows.

220px-Hopkinson_Flag.svg

During this time there was no real standard of the American Flag, people made their own – and those designs varied widely because all that was stated was  “13 stripes, alternately red, white, and blue, a small square in the upper angle, next the flag staff, is a blue field, with 13 white stars, denoting a new Constellation.” So the interpretation of this was wide, some stars were five pointed, some six. Some Star formations were randomly set and others were neat and organized like the Betsy Ross flag with five pointed stars in a circle. This flag was most likely used for public celebrations.

US_flag_13_stars_–_Betsy_Ross.svg

In 1795 Stars were increased to 15 to include Vermont and Kentucky:

Star-Spangled_Banner_flag.svg

It was this 15 star flag which inspired Francis Scott Key to write “Defence of Fort M’Henry” Later to be known as “The Star-Spangled Banner”

On April 14, 1818 Congress followed a suggestion by Naval Captain Samuel C. Reid to have a flag with 20 stars and add a new one each time a new state is added to the country but reduce the number of stripes to 13 – representing the 13 original colonies.

The 49-star flag was the shortest lived with Alaska becoming a State in January of 1959. Hawaii became the 50th State in August of 1959 creating the 50-star flag.

When Alaska and Hawaii were being considered for Statehood 1,500 designs were considered as a possible flag to accommodate the new states’ acceptance in the United States. 17 Year old Robert G. Heft submitted a design in 1958. The reason he submitted the flag was he had to create a flag as part of a school project. When his teacher gave him a B- he argued, and a deal was struck that if the US Congress picked his flag the teacher would reconsider his grade. President Eisenhower by presidential proclamation chose Roberts flag to be the 49-star Alaska version and was flown for one year, from 1959-1960. His grade was changed to an A.

In 1960, the flag we know today, the 50-star flag was designed by the US Army Institute of Heraldry and was flown for the first time on July 4th 1960 at Fort McHenry.images

Well there you have it, your 4th of July “Fun with Flags” facts. I hope Sheldon would be proud.

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