In honor of Flag Day, and in keeping with my year of growth and learning, I decided to research and learn more about Old Glory. Here’s what I found:
- Let’s talk Betsy Ross. I grew up in suburban Philadelphia and took many school field
trips to the Betsy Ross House, often referred to as the birthplace of the American flag. But, was Betsy Ross really the first person to sew the Stars and Stripes? There is no direct evidence to support this legendary story, originally told by her grandson, William Canby, in 1870. Historians have debated the accuracy of this history for years. Some say another person, Francis Hopkinson, deserves credit for the design based on entries in the journals of the Continental Congress. So, what do you think? Is the story of Betsy Ross sewing the first U.S. flag factual history or family legend?
- According to Fox News Magazine, the current design of the U.S. flag was designed by a high school student! I love this story. Robert G. Heft completed the design as part of a high school project anticipating Alaska and Hawaii becoming states. His teacher gave him a B-, but later changed it to an A when President Eisenhower selected Heft’s design over 1500 other entries. How cool is that??!!
- Everyone knows the original flag had 13 stripes and 13 stars. Most know that, as states were added, stars were added. But, did you know that when states 14 and 15, Vermont and Kentucky respectively, were added to the Union, stripes were added to the flag too? Strange, huh? By 1818, the flag reverted to 13 stripes representing 13 original colonies.
- Over the years, the star patterns have varied widely as new states were added. Mental Floss has some great images of flags over the years. I like this one.
If you want to see them all, check out this page for a timeline of flags through the years. Which is your favorite design?
- The Pledge of Allegiance, authored by Francis Bellamy in 1892, was intended by the author to be used by citizens of any country to show allegiance to their flag. As published in The Youth’s Companion on September 8, 1892, it read: “I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” It was altered several times before it finally became the Pledge of Allegiance we know today in 1954.
There you have it folks – a little trivia about the U.S. flag, affectionately known as Old Glory or Stars and Stripes. I am proud to be an American, and prouder to know a little bit more the flag that inspires awe and stirs emotion every time I see it waving in the wind. Happy Flag Day!