Likely the most iconic symbol of the United States of America, the American Flag is one of the most sacred representations of this great nation and is one that has stood the test of time. Though the look of the flag may have changed through the decades, the meaning has stayed unchanged. How much do you really know about the flag’s history though? While it has been around for centuries, there are many facts about the American flag that have gone unnoticed or overlooked, but are of significant value to the history of our nation. From the changes to its look, to the stories of perseverance, the flag itself has been prominent in America’s history.
It wasn’t until June 14, 1777 that the Continental Congress passed an act to create an official flag for the United States, composed of thirteen, alternating red and white stripes, with thirteen white stars on a blue background. While the exact origin of the flag is unknown, many historians have dated it back to a New Jersey Congressman, Francis Hopkinson creating the design, and Betsy Ross sewing the flag.
Between 1777 and 1960, Congress passed several acts that have changed the look of the flag. Today however, the flag as we know it consists of thirteen alternating red and white stripes representing the original thirteen colonies, and 50 stars representing the 50 states in the Union.
There are many famous stories involving the American Flag through the development of this nation, one of the most famous coming in 1814. The flag that stood at Fort McHenry in Baltimore is still being preserved to this day. This is the flag that inspired Francis Scott Key to write “The Star Spangled Banner” during the War of 1812, withstanding a 25-hour barrage of bombing from British soldiers.
The nickname, “Old Glory” comes from a shipmaster in Salem Massachusetts in 1831 by the name of William Driver. Captain Driver was preparing to go out to sea when his friends gave him a massive American Flag. When he hoisted the flag, he proclaimed “Old Glory!” and the nickname stood ever since. The “Old Glory” flag even withstood several massive attacks during the Civil War in Nashville. The Flag is now displayed at the National Museum of American History.
The American Flag has a storied, and proud history throughout the growth of this nation. From the incredible stories that have shaped its symbolism, the physical changes to the flag itself, the American Flag has played a profound role in the history of this great country.