American Flag: History

MainLawsTutorialsHistoryResourcesAbout

Betsy Ross Flag of the USA, from the time of the American War of Independence
Betsy Ross Flag of the USA, from the time of the American War of Independence

The American Flag has a long history that started with the revolutionary war. The flag has continued to change throughout history, however, it has remained constant in what it represents; the country.

The exact origins for the flag are unknown, however, we know that on June 14th, 1777, the United States Continental Congress published a resolution for an official flag, this resolution 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.”

It is believed that the model in the resolution is based on the flag designed by Jersey Congressman Francis Hopkinson and sewn by Philadelphia seamstress Betsy Ross. Over the years, the flag has remained largely the same, with only the addition of new stars for each new state. The last change to the flag was in 1960 with the introduction of Hawaii. Despite these changes, the flag has always represented America.

Symbolism

As a whole, the American flag symbolizes our nation. However, each component of the flag has its own meaning.

The Stars: The stars on the flag represent the number of states in the union of states. The US House of Representatives also describe the stars as a“symbol of the heavens and the divine goal to which man has aspired from time immemorial; the stripe is symbolic of the rays of light emanating from the sun

The Stripes: The flag has 13 stripes, each representing the original 13 colonies.

Colors: Red is chosen to represent valor, courage, and hardiness; White is chosen to represent innocence and purity; Blue is chosen to represent justice and perseverance.

Additionally, when folding the flag, all 13 triangular folds have meaning as well.

  • The first fold of our flag is a symbol of life.
  • The second fold is a symbol of our belief in eternal life.
  • The third fold is made in honor and remembrance of the veteran departing our ranks, and who gave a portion of his or her life for the defense of our country to attain peace throughout the world.
  • The fourth fold represents our weaker nature; as American citizens trusting in God, it is Him we turn to in times of peace, as well as in times of war, for His divine guidance.
  • The fifth fold is a tribute to our country. In the words of Stephen Decatur, “Our country, in dealing with other countries, may she always be right, but it is still our country, right or wrong.”
  • The sixth fold is for where our hearts lie. It is with our heart that we pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
  • The seventh fold is a tribute to our armed forces, for it is through the armed forces that we protect our country and our flag against all enemies, whether they be found within or without the boundaries of our republic.
  • The eighth fold is a tribute to the one who entered into the valley of the shadow of death, that we might see the light of day, and to honor our mother, for whom it flies on Mother’s Day.
  • The ninth fold is a tribute to womanhood. It has been through their faith, love, loyalty and devotion that has molded the character of the men and women who have made this country great.
  • The 10th fold is a tribute to father, who has also given his sons and daughters for the defense of our country since he or she was first born.
  • The 11th fold represents the lower portion of the seal of King David and King Solomon and glorifies the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
  • The 12th fold represents an emblem of eternity and glorifies God the Father, the Son and Holy Ghost.
  • The 13th and last fold, when the flag is completely folded, the stars are uppermost, reminding us of our national motto, “In God We Trust.”

My Account

Library Card Number:



Contact

724-449-2665

Text a Librarian: 724-241-8164

4015 Dickey Rd. Gibsonia PA 15044
Directions


Hours:
Monday-Thursday: 10 AM-8 PM
Friday: 10 AM-5 PM
Saturday: 9 AM-4 PM
Sunday - Closed


Pine Center
Pine Tree Shoppes Bookmobile
Other Allegheny County Libraries

Program Calendar

More...