Can You Display an American Flag With Fewer Than 50 Stars?

Even if you’re unfamiliar with its history, you probably know the American flag has 50 stars. Each of these 50 stars represents one of the 50 states in the United States, whereas the 13 stripes represent the original 13 British colonies that declared independence from Great Britain. Regardless of where you live in the United States, you’ll probably see American flags featuring this design. As a result, you might be wondering if it’s okay to display an American flag with fewer than 50 stars.

Origins of the 50-Star American Flag

It’s important to note that the American flag hasn’t always featured 50 stars. When the American flag was first established by the Continental Congress in 1777, it only had 13 stars. The 13 stars on the original American flag represented each the country’s 13 union states. It wasn’t until July 4, 1959 when the American flag was updated to include 50 stars. On this date, former U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed an order changing the American flag’s design to include 50 stars. Since then, the American flag’s design has remained the same. It still features the same 13 stripes and 50 stars as it did over a half-century ago.

Yes, You Can Display an American Flag With Fewer Than 50 Stars

The U.S. Flag Code doesn’t contain any provisions prohibiting the public or businesses from displaying the American flag with fewer than 50 stars. Therefore, it’s okay to display an American flag with fewer than 50 stars.

The American Legion even explains that American flags “never become obsolete.” Assuming an American flag features a design that was once approved by lawmakers and used in the past, you can continue to display it today. The key thing to remember that an American flag with fewer than 50 stars must have been used in the past. If it’s a cheap American flag that was incorrectly made, you may not be able to display it. If it’s a high-quality American flag featuring an appropriate number of stars, as well as stripes, from a design used in the past, you can display it.

Should I Display an American Flag With 50 Stars?

Some people prefer displaying American flags with 50 stars because it’s the current, most commonly used design. As previously mentioned, though, you can display an American flag with fewer than 50 stars if it’s an official design that was once used in the past. You can check out this Wikipedia article to see all of the past American flag designs and their respective number of stars.

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