Happy 4th of July!
I can remember spending 30 seconds every day during my childhood pledging allegiance to the American flag, as I’m sure many of you do, as well.
However, there are many that don’t know how the American flag came to be.
It turns out that our red, white, and blue symbol of freedom has gone through many changes over the years. And there are a lot of people that helped it become the staple that it is today.
The first flag was known as “The Continental Colors” and was used at the time of our Declaration of Independence in July 1776.
Instead of stars, it featured a mini version of the British flag.
On June 14, 1777, the Continental Congress passed an act establishing an official flag for the new nation, which stated: “Resolved, that the flag of the United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation.”
Even though many historians believe the 13 stars (representing the original colonies) and stripes were designed by New Jersey Congressman Francis Hopkinson, and sewn by Philadelphia seamstress Betsy Ross, technically there’s no written record of this.
Today’s flag design was done by Robert G. Heft, a 17 year old. Heft is credited with designing the current 50-star flag as a high school class project.
Interestingly enough, he received a B−, but his teacher later raised it to an A after the design was selected by congress.
The first recorded use of fringe was in 1835, but the Army didn’t use it until 1895. Today, there’s no specific law surrounding it, except an opinion of the attorney general from 1928, which states it’s up to the discretion of the President.
The American flag also inspired our National Anthem.
Francis Scott Key was so inspired after seeing the American flag flying over Baltimore’s Fort McHenry after a British bombardment in 1814, that he wrote “The Star-Spangled Banner”.
It later became our national anthem in 1931.
Similarly, James B. Upham and Francis Bellamy wrote The Pledge of Allegiance in honor of the flag in 1892, which was first published in a magazine called “The Youth’s Companion”.
There actually was a real “Old Glory”. Back in 1824, a sea captain named William Driver dubbed a 10-by-17-foot flag “Old Glory.”
After the Civil War, his daughter and niece feuded over which of them owned the original flag. So in 1922, both flags were hung in the National Museum of American History, where they remain today.
On August 3, 1949, President Harry S. Truman officially declared June 14 as Flag Day.
Today, people hold parades in honor of if, with the oldest parade taking place in Fairfield, Washington.
I hope you enjoyed reading about some of the history of our American flag, and how it came to be, as well as seeing some of the beautiful ways to decorate with this iconic symbol. I’m coveting that little French chair upholstered in stars and stripes….it has inspired me to find a vintage French chair and make my own!
I want to wish all of you a wonderful, safe 4th of July holiday!