why is there 50 stars on the american flag
June 14thPis Flag Day, which commemorates the adoption of the flag of the United States on June 14th, 1777, by resolution of the Second Continental Congress. In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation that officially established June 14th as Flag Day. Although not an official holiday, the week of June 14th is designated "National Flag Week" during which the President will urge U. S. citizens to fly the American flag. Some organizations hold parades and events in celebration of America's national flag and all it represents. To be a part of your community's Flag Day events, check your local newspaper or civic offices such as Town or City Hall. The current U. S. flag consists of thirteen horizontal red and white stripes with a blue rectangle showing 50 small white stars. The 50 stars on the flag represent the 50 states within the United States and the 13 stripes represent the 13 British Colonies that rebelled against the British Monarchy and became the first states in the Union. The colors were also chosen to represent very specific characteristics of our nation. Red symbolizes hardiness and valor, white symbolizes purity and innocence, and blue represents vigilance, perseverance and justice. The stars symbolize heaven and the goal that all men are striving to reach Heaven. The stripes represent the rays of light from the sun. The American Flag has not always looked as it does today, however. Let's look at the flag's progression from 1775 to the present! The Gadsden Flag was one of the first American flags with a yellow field depicting a rattlesnake coiled and ready to strike. Below the snake is the motto "DON'T TREAD ON ME". The flag was designed and named after American general and statesman Christopher Gadsden. It was the first flag ever carried into battle by the United States Marine Corps during the American Revolution. The Gadsden Flag was considered one of the first flags before it was replaced with the Grand Union Flag. 1775 : The Second Continental Congress authorized the usage of the "Grand Union Flag" which had 13 alternate red and white stripes, which represented the unity of the 13 American colonies and the British Union Jack, or British flag, in the upper left hand corner, which represented the wishes of the colonial leaders to repair and maintain their relationship with Great Britain.
May 1776 : It was reported that Betsy Ross sewed the first American flag, which is also supposedly designed by Francis Hopkinson, a popular patriot and signer of the Declaration of Independence. Although there is speculation about whether Betsy Ross designed the first American flag, many historians say that George Washington asked Ross to sew the flag of a design already sketched out. June 14,P1777
: An official flag was established for the new nation when Congress passed the Flag Act, which stated the flag would be made of thirteen stripes, alternating red and white, and in the upper left hand corner, a blue field with a star for each of the 13 states in the union. The first thirteen states were: Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Georgia, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maryland, South Carolina, New Hampshire, Virginia, New York, North Carolina and Rhode Island. 1812: The American flag was flown over Fort McHenry, which inspired Francis Scott Key to write the Star Spangled Banner poem, which was put to music to become America's national anthem. April 4, 1818 Pof July following the admission of each new state. 1861: The first Confederate National Flag had a few varying designs. It eventually had 13 stars for the 11 states of the Confederacy and two more added for Missouri and Kentucky, which were claimed by both the North and South during the Civil War. This flag is often called the Stars and Bars flag. 1863: Legend has it that the Stars and Bars flag was not distinguished enough from the Stars and Stripes of the Union and was therefore confusing on the battlefield. However, the real reason the flag changed yet again to this design, called the Stainless Banner, was that the Confederate Congress was seeking a more "Confederate" flag to honor the army of Northern Virginia and to replace the First National Flag, which had split feelings in the South. 1860-1960: Over the next century, the pattern on the flag changed multiple times. In 1912 the flag went from six horizontal rows of eight stars to seven rows of seven stars in 1959. A new star was added to the flag as each state joined the Union. 1960-Present : Alaska and Hawaii are the last two stars to be added to the American flag.
As of July 4 2007, the 50-star flag will be America's longest serving flag. Today, the flag has 50 white stars on a blue field arranged in nine horizontal rows, alternating with 6 and 5 stars per row. There are thirteen horizontal stripes, seven red alternating with 6 white. The stripes represent the original 13 colonies and the stars represent the 50 states in the Union. Eugene A. Cernan/Space Frontiers/Getty Images American geologist and Apollo 17 astronaut Harrison Hagan Schmitt stands next to the US flag on the surface of the moon, during a period of EVA (Extra-Vehicular Activity) at the Taurus-Littrow landing site, December 1972. Every Fourth of July, we flaunt Uncle Sam hats, wave our flag, and watch fireworks shoot sparks into the night sky. But many never even stop to ask the question, Why does America salute the red, white and blue? On June 14, 1777 in Philadelphia, the Marine Committee of the Second Continental Congress adopted a resolution that read the following: БResolved, that the flag of the United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field representing a new constellation. Б And with these words, the Stars and Stripes were born. Yet the resolution never said a word about the significance behind the choice of red, white and blue. And for good reason. The three colors did not have any official meaning when the flag was adopted in 1777. The colors and their significance still trace back to the birth of the country, and had very specific meanings in the creation of the Great Seal a year earlier. On July 4, 1776, the Continental Congress passed a resolution authorizing a committee to develop a seal for the country. The committee was instructed to draw up a seal that reflected the Founding FathersБ beliefs and values, as well as the sovereignty of the new nation. Red, white and blue were chosen, and the Great Seal was officially adopted on June 20, 1782. Heraldic devices such as seals have specific meanings for each element and color, and the U. S. Seal was no exception. Charles Thomson, Secretary of the Continental Congress, explained the significance to Congress when he presented the seal.
БThe colors,Б Thomson said at the time, Бare those used in the flag of the United States of America. White signifies purity and innocence. Red, hardiness valour, and BlueБ signifies vigilance, perseverance justice. Б Mike Buss, a flag expert with the American Legion, says that the most obvious reason for the flagБs colors is that they were simply taken from our mother countryБs flag Б the Union Jack of England. БOur heritage does come from Great Britain, and that was some of the thought process that went about in coming up with our flag,Б Buss says of the American flagБs red, white and blue. БThey come from the three colors that the Founding Fathers had served under or had been exposed to. Б Over the years people have altered ThomsonБs original interpretation. Some now say that red represents the blood spilled by the patriots and those who fight to protect our country. President Reagan even put his own spin on the matter when he proclaimed 1986 the Year of the Flag. БThe colors of our flag signify the qualities of the human spirit we Americans cherish,Б Reagan said. БRed for courage and readiness to sacrifice; white for pure intentions and high ideals; and blue for vigilance and justice. Б The significance behind the flagБs design is more commonly known than that of its colors. The 50 stars stand for AmericaБs 50 states, while the 13 red and white stripes represent the 13 colonies. But thereБs also a lesser-known interpretation for the Stars and Stripes. The House of RepresentativesБ 1977 book about the flag states: The star is a symbol of the heavens and the divine goal to which man has aspired from time immemorial; the stripe is symbolic of the rays of light emanating from the sun. Although most Americans today arenБt aware of the specific symbolism behind the flagБs red, white and blue, flag expert Buss is not concerned. Instead, he believes the flagБs power to evoke patriotism and pride after all these years is most important. БFor us veterans, the flag represents why we served,Б Buss says. БWe were there because the flag represented our freedoms Б freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of religion. Б
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