History of Flag of the United States

This flag is national flag of the United States of America, often called "Stars and Stripes", "Old Glory", and "The Star-Spangled Banner." It has 13 red and white stripes and a blue rectangle in the canton with 50 white five-point stars. 13 stripes symbolize the 13 British colonies that declared independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain and became the first states in the Union while 50 stars symbolize the 50 states of the United States of America.

United States Flag

In 1977, “Flag Act” approved design of a new national flag that will replace Grand Union Flag. That flag had 13 red and blue stripes and 13 white five-point stars (“a new constellation”) on the blue field in the canton instead of the flag of the British Union. Both stars and stripes symbolized 13 British colonies that declared independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain and became the first states in the Union. Despite of many legends that tell who designed the flag of the United States of America, the most probable designer of the flag is Francis Hopkinson of New Jersey, a signer of the Declaration of Independence and the Chairman of the Continental Navy Board's Middle Department. He is the only person for whom it is know that he made claims that he designed it during his lifetime - because he presented Congress with a bill for his work.

Between 1777 and 1960, there were several acts by Congress that changed the shape, design and arrangement of the flag and allowed for additional stars and stripes to be added and removed to reflect the admission of each new state. Since 1818, after each states admission, a star was added to the flag on the Fourth of July. Number of stripes was changed only twice - first time from 13 to 15 in 1795 and from 15 back to 13 in 1818. Last change was made in 1950s when Alaska and Hawaii were being considered for statehood. Many ideas for a flag were sent to President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Some were 49-star versions, the majority were 50-star ideas. One accepted by Congress was an idea by 17-year-old Robert G. Heft in 1958. He did it as a school project and got B- for it. His teacher agreed that if his flag was accepted by Congress, he’ll change his grade to higher, which he honored and changed it to A. 49-star and 50-star flag were flown for the first time on the Fourth of July 1959 and 1960 respectively.

Flag of the United States of America has a Code that gives certain guidelines for the use, display, and disposal of the flag. The flag should never be dipped to any person or thing, unless it is the ensign responding to a salute from a ship of a foreign nation. The flag should never be allowed to touch the ground. If the flag is flown at night it must be illuminated. If the edges of the flag become worn, the flag should be repaired or replaced or if it is so worn that it cannot serve as a dignified flag it must be be destroyed in a dignified manner, preferably by burning.