United States Flag History

We love and support our great country so we wanted to share a Little History about our Great Flag and some little known facts about it!

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For more than 200 years, the American flag has been the symbol of our nation’s strength and unity. It’s been a source of pride and inspiration for millions of citizens. And the American Flag has been a prominent icon in our national history. Here are the highlights of its unique past.

On January 1, 1776, the Continental Army was reorganized in accordance with a Congressional resolution which placed American forces under George Washington’s control. On that New Year’s Day the Continental Army was laying siege to Boston which had been taken over by the British Army. Washington ordered the Grand Union flag hoisted above his base at Prospect Hill. It had 13 alternate red and white stripes and the British Union Jack in the upper left-hand corner (the canton).

In May of 1776, Betsy Ross reported that she sewed the first American flag.

On June 14, 1777, in order to establish an official flag for the new nation, the Continental Congress passed the first Flag Act: “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.”

Between 1777 and 1960, Congress passed several acts that changed the shape, design and arrangement of the flag and allowed for additional stars and stripes to be added to reflect the admission of each new state.

  • 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, signed by President Monroe.

  • 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.

Today the flag consists of thirteen horizontal stripes, seven red alternating with 6 white. The stripes represent the original 13 colonies, the stars represent the 50 states of the Union. The colors of the flag are symbolic as well: Red symbolizes Hardiness and Valor, White symbolizes Purity and Innocence and Blue represents Vigilance, Perseverance and Justice.

American Flag Etiquette


Federal law stipulates many aspects of flag etiquette. The section of law dealing with American Flag etiquette is generally referred to as the Flag Code. Some general guidelines from the Flag Code answer many of the most common questions:

  • The flag should be lighted at all times, either by sunlight or by an appropriate light source.

  • The flag should be flown in fair weather, unless the flag is designed for inclement weather use.

  • The flag should never be dipped to any person or thing. It is flown upside down only as a distress signal.

  • The flag should not be used for any decoration in general. Bunting of blue, white and red stripes is available for these purposes. The blue stripe of the bunting should be on the top.

  •  It should not be embroidered, printed or otherwise impressed on such articles as cushions, handkerchiefs, napkins, boxes, or anything intended to be discarded after temporary use. Advertising signs should not be attached to the staff or halyard.

  • The flag should not be used as part of a costume or athletic uniform, except that a flag patch may be used on the uniform of military personnel, fireman, policeman and members of patriotic organizations.

  • The flag should never have any mark, insignia, letter, word, number, figure, or drawing of any kind placed on it, or attached to it.

  • The flag should never be used for receiving, holding, carrying, or delivering anything.
    When the flag is lowered, no part of it should touch the ground or any other object; it should be received by waiting hands and arms. To store the flag it should be folded neatly and ceremoniously.

  • The flag should be cleaned and mended when necessary.

  • When a flag is so worn it is no longer fit to serve as a symbol of our country, it should be destroyed by burning in a dignified manner.

Read a more comprehensive set of flagetiquette rules for display of the American Flag.


Teach Your Kids and Others About Patriotism

The next generation will shape this land long after we’re gone. One of the best ways to ensure that the United States remains the world’s greatest nation is to instill our American values and traditions into our children.

Online, you can share the message of USA Flag Site and these other patriotic sites with them.
Offline, there are some wonderful books that you can share with your kids like these:

America: A Patriotic Primer Mrs. Cheney’s book
This is the new children’s book by Lynne Cheney, Vice President Dick Cheney’s wife. It spells out, one letter at a time, what makes this county so unique in this world. The Second Lady goes through the alphabet, weaving a lesson in patriotism. Lynne Cheney does this in a way that preschoolers and elementary school age kids will understand and enjoy.

We the Kids: The Preamble to the Constitution of the United States
For every kid who has to memorize the Constitution’s Preamble, this book will be a favorite. Political cartoonist David Catrow puts a kid’s spin on the words of our founding fathers. Best for kids 7-12.

The Young Patriot’s Book of Puzzles, Games, Riddles, Stories, Poems, and Activities
This is a fun, patriotic activity book for kids age 7-12. As the title implies, there are American songs, flags, puzzles and other activities. All with a patriotic theme.

The Star-Spangled Banner
This patriotic picture book is a great way to introduce kids to our National Anthem. The lyrics to The Star-Spangled Banner are on each page, as well as interesting facts about America.

Please note: These book links will take you to where USA Flag Site receives a small amount for each item you purchase. With nearly 200,000 hits per month, the cost of running this website might surprise you. Your purchases help to defray the cost of providing this free patriotic resource.

One nation, under God, indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all.

Our goal by adding the info page about our flag is to do our small part to inspire pride in this great country of ours. If you have suggestions or comments for us, we’d appreciate your dropping us a note. 


We credit the folks over at USA Flag for providing us with all the info on our flag page.

Please stop over at their site and see all the info they have to share.

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Mix And Mingle with others that love our flag.