6 Things You Didn’t Know About the American Flag

Think you know everything there is to know about the American flag? Well, the following facts may surprise you.

Displayed on Every Manned U.S. Spacecraft

The American flag has been displayed on every manned U.S. spacecraft. This includes the Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, Apollo Lunar Module and Space Shuttle. Additionally, every American astronaut since the Gemini 4 have proudly displayed the American flag on their uniform.

26 Design Changes

The American flag has seen a number of changes throughout the years — well, 26 to be exact. The original design was created in 1777, and since then, it’s been changed 26 times. The current design is the 27th version. Ordered by President Eisenhower and adopted in 1960, it’s the longest-running design of the American flag.

Flown at Half-Staff on December 7

On December 7 of each year, the American Flag is flown at half-staff to remember and honor all of the U.S. servicemen and women who lost their lives during the attack on Pearl Harbor. There are federal statutes requiring government buildings and facilities to fly the American flag at half-staff on certain days, including December 7, September 11, Memorial Day, and several others.

Flag Code Prohibits the American Flag Being Used for Advertising

While many business owners ignore this rule, the U.S. Flag Code prohibits the use of the American flag for advertising/commercial purposes. It also states that the American Flag should not be printed, embroidered or impressed onto cushions, napkins, boxes or any other item that’s intended to be discarded after use. Of course, the Flag Code isn’t a legally binding law, meaning offenders can not be punished in the court of law. Nonetheless, it’s still good etiquette to abide by the Flag Code as a means of respect for the flag and everything for which it stands.


The American flag has several nicknames, including the Star Spangled Banner, Old Glory, The Stars and Stripes. Among these nicknames, the Star Spangled Banner is the most popular and commonly used.

A 17-Year Old Designed the Current American Flag

You might be surprised to learn that a 17-year old designed the current 50-state American flag. Robert G. Heft of Saginaw, Michigan designed the flag as part of a school project when he was just 17 years old while living with his grandparents. What’s even more interesting is that he received a B- for the project. After Heft’s design was accepted by Congress, however, his high school teacher changed his grade to an A.