Today is Flag Day and since it’s also Friday we decided to take a fun look at the history of the U.S. flag – which may not be the history you remember from the textbooks.
But, before the fun begins, first a worthwhile disclaimer: The American flag rocks our socks off. It sparkles like firecrackers, and to hear it whip in the wind is to hear the crisp snap of freedom!
<strong>U.S. Flag Design </strong>
Although much of the U.S. flag’s history is widely debated (which we will address in a moment), what is not in question is the <em>meaning</em> of our <a title="US Flags" href="http://www.atgstores.com/-style-flags_1171_oa0214271.html" target="_blank">current flag’s design</a>.
To refresh your memory, the 13 horizontal red and white stripes represent the original British colonies that set up shop in the untamed American territories and told the royals in Great Britain to kiss off. The 50 stars represent the current states, but the flag has been officially modified 26 times since 1777.
<strong>U.S. Flag Design<em>ers</em></strong>
Now, this is where it gets sketchy. Most of us have probably heard the story that Betsy Ross stitched the original U.S. flag design, but the majority of historians don’t buy the hype. In fact, that rumor wasn’t even started by Ross; it was the result of much lip-flapping from her grandson nearly a hundred years <em>after</em> she supposedly wielded the most patriotic sewing needle of all time.
Historians do agree, however, that Francis Hopkinson designed the 1777 version of the U.S. flag – and that he asked for a cask of wine as payment. Congress, displaying what would begin a legacy of disappointing choices, refused to pay him, although Hopkinson’s consolation prize is having his name on the Declaration of Independence.
<strong>U.S. Flag Revisions </strong>
Hopkinson’s design lasted until 1795, after which more stars and stripes were added to recognize Vermont and Kentucky, but it didn’t take long for people to realize that adding both stars <em>and</em> stripes would eventually result in a seizure-inducing, Seussian nightmare of a flag.
So, from then on we just kept adding stars, and sometimes in some pretty crazy configurations. When Michigan joined the party in 1837, designers arranged the little stars to make one big star; a design that lasted eight glorious years. Iowa resulted in a weird diamond shape in 1847 and both of those designs were resurrected when Oregon signed up in 1859. Circles? Oh yeah, we had circles, too – a total of 25 years’ worth between 1865 and 1890.
You can thank Nevada, Nebraska and Colorado for those wild times.
<strong>U.S. Flag Today</strong>
Will the U.S. flag ever change again? It’s hard to say. The introduction of Puerto Rico as a state would be cause for a design change, but beyond that it would likely be a matter of redesign for design’s sake – something we can only imagine would make Americans a little touchy …
<a title="ATG Stores Homepage " href="http://www.atgstores.com/" target="_blank">ATGStores.com</a> salutes the American flag no matter what the design, and hopes all of you have an enjoyable Flag Day (and Father’s Day!) weekend.