Last week, Americans across the United States celebrated Independence Day. Though we often see the American flag flown at public institutions and schools every day, on the Fourth of July the flag can be seen flying high around nearly every corner.
Our history classes taught us the 50 stars represent the 50 states of the Union, and the 13 stripes represent the 13 original colonies. But have you ever stopped to wonder what the colors red, white and blue mean? Or how the United States has built their brand to signify the country’s strength?
According to PBS, these three colors – red, white, and blue – are aspirational and what our country strives toward. Red represents valor and hardiness; white represents innocence and purity; and blue represents perseverance, justice and vigilance.
Between 1777 and 1960, several acts were passed that altered the flag’s shape, design and arrangement. The flag you see today differs from the original design in the 1700s. The flag has been updated to include each state that has joined the United States since 1960.
While the origin of the American flag remains unknown, some historians believe it was designed by Francis Hopkinson, a New Jersey Congressman, and sewn by Betsy Ross.
Per custom, the flag is usually flown from sunrise to sunset; however, there are seven locations where it is flown continuously, round the clock. These locations include: The White House; Flag House Square in Baltimore; the United States Marine Corps Memorial in Arlington, Virginia; On the Green of the Town of Lexington, Massachusetts; the United States customs ports of entry; and the Grounds of the National Memorial Arch in Valley Forge State Park in Pennsylvania.
The symbol of our country holds much more meaning than one may realize. It has survived battles, inspired songs, and evolved based on the growth of the United States. To learn more about the history of the flag and find out some fun facts, visit https://www.pbs.org/a-capitol-fourth/history/old-glory/.