The national flag of the United States is also referred to as the American Flag. The flag consists of thirteen alternating red and white stripes, and a blue rectangle in the canton known as the Union. The canton contains fifty stars each representing a state in the union. The first flag was officially adopted on June 14, 1777 by Congress, one year after the declaration of independence. The current American flag is its 27th version. It was adopted in July 1960. It has been in service for 57 years and is the longest-serving of the 27 flags.

What Do the Flag's Colors and Symbols Mean?

On the American flag, there are thirteen equal alternating red and white stripes and a blue rectangle at the canton. The fifty white stars represent each state while the thirteen stripes represent the thirteen British colonies who declared independence and became the first members of the union. The stars are arranged in nine alternating horizontal rows made up of five and six stars.

Who Designed the Flag?

The first flag was designed by naval flag designer Francis Hopkinson of New Jersey between 1776 and 1777. He served at the Continental Navy Board's Middle Department and claimed to have designed the flag for the U.S. Navy. The current flag as we know it was designed by a Robert G. Heft, a high school student who lived with his grandparents. He received a B- for his design, though it was later changed to an A after it was selected out of the 1,500 designs submitted. Heft received a phone call from President Dwight D. Eisenhower inviting him to see the flag with his design being hoisted for the first time in Fort McHenry, Maryland On July 4, 1960.

What Have Historical Versions of the Flag Looked Like?

There have been 26 earlier versions of the American flag. This is mainly because each time a new state was admitted the flag had to be redesigned. The first flag designed by Francis Hopkinson had the "Betsy Ross" variant designed by Betsy Ross. Unlike Hopkinson's design, the Betsy Ross variant had the thirteen stars arranged in a circular manner. Before the declaration of Independence, the British flag in the U.S had the British flag at the canton and the thirteen stripes representing the thirteen British colonies.

This page was last modified on February 7th, 2018