Parker’s History of the United States’ Flag

George Washington wanted a flag created so that we could have a flag just like all the other countries to show we are united as one. There are many things to our flag you may not have known. There a things that most people do not know about the history of our flag, the meaning of the design and colors of the flag, or that there is a way to properly hold a flag. There is also a US Flag code that most people do not hear of and also the national anthem was written because of the flag.

The very first flag for the United States to have was the Grand Union Flag, in the years 1775-1777. The design of this flag was thirteen red and white stripes, with the red cross of St. Georgia, England along with the white cross of St. Andrew, Scotland in a blue field. The final split between the between the colonies and Great Britain brought the removal of the British Union from our flag. Shortly after came the stars on a blue field. By June 14, 1777 the Flag Resolution was passed, which is now known as Flag Day. Which basically said that the United States flag had to have thirteen stripes being red and white; that the union have 13 stars that are white with a blue field. Then, came Francis Hopkinsons design of the United States Flag. Which was thirteen, six pointed stars arranged in rows with the thirteen red and white stripes. But, we can not forget the so called Betsy Ross version of our flag. Which was thirteen, five pointed stars arranged in a circle with the thirteen red and white stripes.

The colors used on our United States Flag are red, white, and blue. But the colors are a certain red, white, and blue. The colors are taken from the CAUS Standard Colored Reference of America, edition 10. The colors are specifically called White, Old Glory Red, and Old Glory Blue.  If you were using the absolute lab colors the coordinates for white would be L: 88.7, a: -0.2, and b: 5.4. For red the coordinates would be L: 33.9, a: 51.2, and b: 24.7. For blue the coordinates would be L: 23.2, a: 13.1, and b: -26.4. If you were using the relative lab colors the coordinates for white would be L: 100.0, a: 0.0, and b: 0.0. For red the coordinates would be L: 39.9, a: 57.3, and b: 28.7. For blue the coordinates would be L: 26.9, a: 11.5, and b: -30.3.There actually is not a meaning behind the colors used on the American Flag, but many historians have a theory on the colors used. Some historians say that the red stripes could very much stand for blood, war, and courage; white standing for purity; and blue standing for justice and freedom. Other historians believe that George washington had his own idea for the colors. They thought that the stars were taken from the sky, the red was influenced from the British colors, and the white demonstrated withdrawing from the home country. As for the book “Our Flag”  the white means purity and innocence, red means hardiness and valour, and blue means vigilance, perseverance, and justice.

The design of the flag however does have a meaning. The stars symbolize the heavens. Having fifty of the stars, represents the fifty states of the United States today. The stripes symbolize the rays of sunlight radiating from the sun. Having thirteen of the stripes, represents the thirteen colonies that proclaimed independence from Great Britain to form the United States.

However, the United States has had many different designs of the flag. With more states being added, it would be difficult to not create new flag designs. In the year 1795 Vermont and Kentucky were added, which caused the stars and stripes to raise to 15 instead of 13. In the years 1796 through 1817 the states Tennessee, Ohio, Louisiana, Indiana, and Mississippi joined the United States. Then the Act of April 4, 1818 called for 13 stripes and a star for each state. December in the year 1818 Illinois joined, which added another star to the flag. In 1819 and 1820 two states were added, adding two more stars. In August 1821 Missouri joined, adding another star. In the year 1836 Arkansas joined. In 1837 Michigan joined. In 1845 Florida and Texas joined. In 1846 Iowa joined. Wisconsin joined in 1848. In the year 1850 California joined. Eight years later Minnesota joined. 1859 Oregon was added. Kansas joined in 1861. West Virginia joined in the year 1863. A year later Nevada joined as a state. three years later Nebraska joined. In 1876 Colorado joined. The years 1889 through 1890 North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Washington, Idaho, and Wyoming joined. Utah joined in 1896. In 1907 Oklahoma joined. In 1912 Mexico and Arizona joined, giving us a total of 48 stars on the flag. Alaska joined in 1959 and was also the 49th state. Finally on August 21, 1959 Hawaii joined giving us a 50 star flag. Up until this day our flag remains the 50 star flag.

Folding the flag is also very important. There are thirteen separate folds to folding the flag. The sequence to folding the flag is 1) Straighten out the flag to full length, then fold it lengthwise once. 2) Fold it lengthwise again, but make sure the union of the stars stays outward in full view. 3) Make a triangular fold, starting by bringing the striped corner of the folded edge to the open edge. 4) Turn the outer point toward the inside, aligned to the open edge, to form a second triangle. 5) Continue doing the triangular fold, until the entire flag is is completely folded. You should only be able to see a field of triangular blue stars, when you are finished.

The Folding-Flag script #4 distinctly provide the meaning behind each fold, which are the following: The first fold is a symbol of life. The second fold is a symbol of our belief in eternal life. The third fold is made in honor and remembrance of the veterans departing our ranks who gave a portion of their lives for the defense of our country to attain peace throughout the world.The fourth fold represents our weaker nature, for as Americans trusting, it is to him we turn in times of peace as well as in time of war for His divine guidance. The fifth fold is a tribute to our country, for in the words of Stephen Decatur, “Our country is dealing with other countries may she always be right; but it is still our country, right or wrong.”. The sixth fold is for where our hearts lie. It is with our heart that we pledge allegiance to the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. The seventh fold is a tribute to our armed forces, for it is through our Armed Forces that we protect our country and our flag against all her enemies, whether they be found within or without the boundaries of our Republic. The eighth fold is a tribute to the one who entered into the valley of the shadow of death, that we might see the light of day, and to honor mother, for whom it flies on Mother’s Day. The ninth fold is a tribute to womanhood; for it has been through their faith, love, loyalty and devotion that the character of the men and women who have made this country great has been molded.  The tenth fold is a tribute to the father, for he, too, has given his sons and daughters for the defense of our country since they were first born. The eleventh fold, in the eyes of a Hebrew citizen represents the lower portion of the seal of King David and King Solomon, and glorifies in their eyes, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The twelfth fold in the eyes of a Christian citizen, represents an emblem of eternity and glorifies, in their eyes, God the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit. The thirteenth fold: When the flag is completely folded, the stars are uppermost reminding us of our Nation’s motto, “In God We Trust.” After the flag is completely folded and tucked in, it takes on the appearance of a cocked hat, ever reminding us of the soldiers who served under General George Washington, and the sailors and marines who served under Captain John Paul Jones, who were followed by their comrades and shipmates in the Armed Forces of the United States, preserving for us the rights, privileges, and freedoms we enjoy today.

There is also a US Flag Code, which not many people know about. The US Flag code is a US federal law that institutes advising rules for displaying and caring of the flag of the United States. The code shows how to display the flag indoors and outdoors, parading and saluting the flag, pledging and singing the anthem to the flag, in mourning, and much more. It is stated by the United States Senate what to do when displaying the flag in these situations. Here is what they have stated, “When displaying the flag from a staff, the union should be at the tip of the staff, unless the staff is a half- staff. When the flag is displayed from the same flagpole with another flag, the flag of the United States must always be at the top. When the flag is displayed over a street, it should be hung vertically, with the union to the north or east. If the street runs north-south, the stars should face east. For streets running east-west, the stars should face north. If the flag is suspended over a sidewalk, the flag’s union should be farthest from the building and the stars facing away from it.When the United States flag is displayed with the flags of states of the union or municipalities, and not with the flags of other nations, the federal flag, which represents all states, should be flown above and at the center of the other flags. The other flags may be the same size but none may be larger.No other flag should be placed above it. The flag of the United States is always the first flag raised and the last to be lowered.When flown with the national banner of other countries, each flag must be displayed from a separate pole of the same height. Each flag should be the same size. They should be raised and lowered simultaneously. The flag of one nation may not be displayed above that of another nation in time of peace.The flag should be raised briskly and lowered slowly and ceremoniously.Ordinarily it should be displayed only between sunrise and sunset, although the Flag Code permits night time display “when a patriotic effect is desired” and the flag is illuminated.Similarly, the flag should be displayed only when the weather is fair, except when an all-weather flag is displayed.The flag of the United States of America is saluted as it is hoisted and lowered. The salute is held until the flag is unsnapped from the halyard or through the last note of music, whichever is longer.”

Did you also know that our national anthem was because of our flag? On September 14, 1814, United States soldiers at Fort McHenry raised a big American flag to celebrate their victory over the British during the war of 1812. The sight of the flag inspired Francis Scott Key to write the “Star-spangled Banner”. Which eventually became the United States national anthem. The sight of the flag that day inspired all of the song, especially “broad stripes and bright stars”.

Since the creation of the American Flag there has been many names that it has been called. The nicknames that the flag has been called are, “Stars and Stripes”, “Old Glory, and “The Star-spangled Banner”. William Driver gave the flag the nickname “Old Glory”. “Old Glory” was made by Drivers mother and some other women and was presented to him, so that he could fly it on his ship. “Old Glory” was served has his flag throughout his voyage on a trip around the world.

In my opinion I think all of these reasons for our flag is very needed. Without our flag it would show that our country is not united as one. We would not have all of these things to back up our flag. The United States Flag Code shows that the senate, people in our military, and many others have respect for our flag. The nicknames of the United States Flag show that the flag has been with many people throughout our country. Our flag has been through much more than what anyone could imagine. The United States Flag has always been there for people to look up to, for someone to have hope in our country. The flag has been here for our forefathers, veterans, the ones who serve today. Everyone has their own opinion about our flag and mine is that I will always look up to our flag and never disrespect a single thing about it. There is a lot of respect for the flag in all kinds of ways. Whether it’s at a funeral, on the battlefield, in museums, on postage stamps, on uniforms, or even on vehicles. No one disrespects the United States Flag or ever has. I think this showing of respect just shows how far we have come as a country. The United States Flag is a shows that we are in fact “one nation, under god”. We have many things to look forward to just because of the protection of our flag. I will always look up to our flag with pride and joy at how far we have come today because of it. The flag brings many people peace at heart, joy of the next day, and pride in our country. One thing I can say is that all americans have one thing in common and that  is the respect for our nation’s flag.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s