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American Flag Fun Facts

American Flag fun facts include interesting historical elements as well as basic Flag Etiquette. While most Americans know how to treat a Flag or properly salute the American Flag, there are some American Flag fun facts that elude many people.

History

American Flag Fun Facts

The history of the flag goes all the way back to 1776. On New Year’s Day of that year, George Washington commanded an army to retake Boston, which had been in control of the British Army. While Washington constructed his base at Prospect Hill, he ordered that the Grand Union Flag be raised. This flag resembled the flag that was about to come: 13 stripes that alternated red and white and a ymbol in the upper left corner (this symbol just happen to be the British Union Jack.

In May of 1776, it is reported that Betsy Ross sewed the first American flag, which didn’t become official until June, 1777. The Flag Act was passed that stated the flag would be 13 alternating red and white stripes and the Union will be represented by 13 stars (white stars over a blue background). This configuration of stars signified a Constellation.

Over the next 280 years, the flag changed as new states were added into the Union. In 1818, Congress passed an act that allowed a star to be added the following July 4th a new state was inducted into the United States. Only two Presidents significantly changed the arrangement of stars. President Taft did so in 1912 and called for six rows of eight stars. President Eisenhower changed the arrangement twice in one year: 1959. The first change was for seven rows of seven stars that staggered and the second time was additional stagger so when you counted across, there were 11 staggered columns and when you counted down, there were 10 staggered rows.

Symbolism

Everything on the flag symbolizes attitude and resolve in American history. The 13 stripes (seven red and six white) are for the original 13 colonies and the 50 stars represent all the states in the United States of America. The colors in the flag also mean something. Red is for Valor and Hardiness; white is for Innocence and Purity; and blue is for Vigilance, Perseverance and Justice.

American Flag Fun Facts

If you display an American flag or own one, there is proper etiquette you must undertake. Be aware of the following dos and don’ts

    Did You Know?

    If the flag is flying upside down, this is a distress signal.

  • When displaying a flag it should be lighted. Natural light like sunlight or another light source is acceptable.
  • No other symbol or insignia should be on the flag.
  • The flag is only to be flown in fair weather. Some flags are made for bad weather, and this is acceptable ONLY if the flag is made for it.
  • Using the flag as a decoration is frowned upon. Instead, use a Bunting. The Blue stripe of the Bunting should be place on top.
  • When the flag is taken down from the pole, no part of the flag should grace the ground. That’s why you see personnel standing at the bottom of the pole, ready to take the flag and prepare it for proper folding.

Other Fun Facts

Besides etiquette and history, there are a few pieces of conduct that are meticulously observed in regards to the American flag:

  • Only State Governors and the President of the United States order when the flags on government buildings are to be set at half staff.
  • The ONLY time you burn an American flag is when it can’t be fixed or if it dirty beyond cleaning. The flag is burned in a dignified matter, as in a ceremony.
  • The Flag Code allows any deceased to be allowed to have the flag adorning a coffin. Veterans are the most common people to have the flag on their coffin, but anyone is allowed to use the flag in this manner.

Other Resources

For further information, visit some of the sites below: