The flag is an integral part of US history and is a symbol of our freedom, liberties, and all that we believe in. We should respect the flag and all that it stands for. Although you likely see it on a daily basis, do you know what the colors of the flag stand for? And what should we do if the American flag touches the ground? Here are some facts you should know about the American flag.
Did Betsy Ross Make the First American Flag?
We were taught in grade school that Elizabeth “Betsy” Ross sewed the first flag in 1776, but her account wasn’t credited until nearly a century later. Her grandson William Canby recounted a visit his grandmother received from General George Washington, Robert Morris and George Ross. During their meeting, the men showed Ross a sketch of a flag with 13 red and white stripes and 13 six-pointed stars. However, Ross suggested that she arrange the stars in a circle and reduce the points on each star to five instead of six. Canby’s claim was later published in a magazine and it became part of the US history curriculum we have all heard about as a kid. We credit Betsy Ross for the first flag, but there has never been any real documentation to confirm she was responsible for making the very first one.
What Do the Colors of the Flag Stand For?
Everyone knows that the American flag is red, white and blue, but not everyone knows what each color stands for. Each color has a very important meaning behind it. Red symbolizes hardiness and valor, white symbolizes purity and innocence and blue represents vigilance, perseverance and justice. The significance of the flag’s design is usually more known than that of its colors. The 50 stars stand for America’s 50 states, while the 13 red and white stripes represent the 13 original colonies. There is also a lesser known meaning behind what the flag means from a 1977 book released by The House of Representatives: “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.”
The First Flag Day Observance
In June 1886, Bernard Cigrand made the first proposal to observe the birth of the flag when he wrote an article titled “The Fourteenth of June.” It’s also said that Cigrand, who was a teacher, placed a 38-inch star flag in a bottle on his desk. He then assigned essays about the flag and its significance to his students. His efforts to make sure there was an annual observance finally came when President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation calling for a nationwide observance on June 14, 1916. However, Flag Day did not become official until August 1949, when President Harry Truman signed legislation and proclaimed June 14 officially Flag Day. Although Flag Day is a nationwide observance, it is not a public holiday in many parts of the United States.
The Rules and Regulations of the American Flag
The American flag has its own rules and regulations. The most important rule is that citizens should show respect to the flag because the flag represents our identity as a separate nation. If you want to hang a flag, there are many rules you should look into before displaying it. The flag should never be dipped to any person or thing. It should never touch anything beneath it, such as the ground, the floor, water, or merchandise. If the flag becomes dirty or soiled, it may be washed and dry-cleaned. Many people believe that if it touches the ground it should be destroyed, but this is not true. Instead, just wash the flag if it gets dirty. However, when the flag can no longer be repaired or used, it must be destroyed in a dignified manner, such as burning.