Top 21 Places to See Historical American Flags

People and nations keep relics, and these relics connect us to our own lives, our family’s experiences, and our nation’s history. These connections help form, in Lincoln’s words, the “mystic chords of union” which tie us together.

Powerful connections are made with historical American flags. They remind us of key events in our nation’s life. Like a 21-gun salute, here are 21 places you can experience these important symbols of the American experience. Continue reading

Why It’s Important to Fly an All-Weather American Flag

Is your old flag looking a little old and beat up? Is it past its prime? When your flag is no longer fit to serve as a symbol of the American nation, it’s time to retire it and hang up a new one.

With the Fourth of July coming around, you might be thinking about investing in a new flag or purchasing one for the first time to show a little Patriotic pride. Before going out and purchasing a flag, however, it’s important to determine the right American flag for you. Continue reading

Come and Take Them! The Defiant History of the Molon Labe Flag

Molon Labe FlagThe phrase “come and take them” is a popular slogan today among American second amendment activists. In a way, the slogan is a reminder of how much American citizens value their right to bear arms. In modern American culture, the slogan is not so much a warning or battle cry as it is a symbol of patriotism. It serves to remind the citizens how lucky they are to live in a country where freedom, independence, and choice are still something meaningful and valuable. Continue reading

Chicago Flag: A Fascinating City’s History on Display

Chicago city flags waving

Nothing symbolizes pride quite like a flag. Every American smiles to see our nation’s banner flying in front of a house or a school. Sports fans spot their fellow fanatics by the banners in windows and yards.

There is a flag for everyone—flags for causes, countries, and even cities. One of the oldest city flags in the United States is in the City of Chicago. The Chicago flag is a rich example of everything a flag should be—exemplifying the history and pride a city’s residents feel regarding their home. Continue reading

Flags of the American Revolution

Betsy Ross flag on flag pole

The Revolutionary War inspired the first sense of American patriotism in those who fought for American independence. Revolutionaries took every step they could to separate themselves and their beloved country from all aspects of British rule.

Each colony had their own flag that was used by many militia groups as a battlefield standard, and those flags influence some state flags we still see today. However, there were some flags that grew from a specific regiment or area that have also influenced some of our modern banners. Continue reading

Flag of the President of the United States

Since the birth of our great nation, the American flag has gone through many changes and designs and, though the first president was elected in 1789, there wasn’t an official flag for the Commander in Chief until 1882. Congress then declared that the president was the commander of the army and navy and, with this designation, they needed flags to denote the president’s presence. Continue reading

Celebrating Betsy Ross

Betsy Ross with George Washington and First Flag

There is a fine line between history and legend because there is usually a granule or two of truth within the lore. Not to mention, history is only fact in the eyes of the person who wrote it.  Over 240 years ago, we know a woman named Betsy Ross lived in colonial Pennsylvania. Did she stitch the first American flag? Here is what legend and history tell us: Continue reading

A Brief History of the American Flag

American Flag DividerMultiple American Flags

From atop flagpoles in front of every school to the rear window of cousin Jimmy’s 1987 Chevy Silverado, the flag of the United States of America is perhaps the most recognizable part of the American experience. We grow up seeing the flag in every classroom, in front of every state building, on our t-shirts, hats, and other articles of clothing—not to mention the Fourth of July, the celebration of America’s birthday, which is steadily ranked in America’s top five favorite holidays. Many Americans have no idea the history behind the flag and its earlier incarnations.

Grand Union Flag Divider

Grand Union FlagThe Grand Union Flag (1775-1777)

The first official flag of the United States of America was the Grand Union flag. With the flag of Great Britain in its canton (itself consisting of the English flag or St. George’s cross, and the Scottish flag or St. Andrew’s cross) and thirteen alternating red and white stripes representing the thirteen colonies making up the states that were united at the time.

Flag of Resolution Divider

American Flag of the ResolutionFlag of the Resolution (1777-1795)

On the fourteenth of June 1777, in the Pennsylvania State House in Philadelphia, the Second Continental Congress passed what would become known as “the flag resolution,” which stated “That the flag of the thirteen United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white: that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field representing a new constellation.” The new resolution did not specify exactly what the star’s pattern would be—just that it was to be a new constellation.

Betsy Ross Flag Divider

Betsy Ross FlagBetsy Ross Flag (1792-1795)

A still popular variant of the flag of the resolution, this version placed the white stars in a circle on a blue field in the canton. Although referred to as “the Betsy Ross Flag,” it is heavily debated among experts if she had anything to do with the creation of the flag.

Star Spangled Banner Divider

Star Spangled BannerStar-Spangled Banner (1795-1818)

“Oh, say can you see, By the dawn’s early light, What so proudly we hailed, At the twilight’s last gleaming? Whose broad stripes and bright stars, through the perilous fight, O’er the ramparts we watched, Were so gallantly streaming. And the rocket’s red glare, The bombs bursting in air, Gave proof through the night,

That our flag was still there. Oh say does that star-spangled banner yet wave? For the land of the free, and the home of the brave.” On September 13th, 1814 Francis Scott Key wrote what would become known as the American National Anthem, a poem called “The Star-Spangled Banner,” after negotiating the release of a friend from the British who, as a condition to his friend’s release, refused to let them leave the ship that his friend had been being held on until after the assault on fort McHenry had finished.

Once the smoke from the battle cleared, the Garrison flag above the fort continued to wave. While the official “Star-Spangled Banner” flag that we hear about in the American National Anthem was not sewn until 1813, it was the largest battle flag ever to be flown at the time. It had been based on a popular design used since the annexation of Vermont and Kentucky.

Growing Nation Divider

US Historical FlagsGrowing Nation (1818-present)

As the country grew, there was another star added for each state that joined the union. Until 1912, the star pattern was not officially specified. There are a few variant patterns. They ranged from being in circle patterns to star patterns and, of course, the more traditional square patterns of today. In 1934 the exact hues of the flag’s colors were officially decided.

Finally, in 1959, Hawaii joined the union and our current flag design was adopted. There are already designs for possible future versions of the flag, including stars for Puerto Rico and other U.S. territories, and even one proposed one that has over 90 stars.

In Appreciation of City Flags

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Throughout history, flags have served as an excellent display of cultural and geographic identity. A flag tends to be viewed as a physical representation of the intangible idea of the nation. Every weekday children across the United States of America say The Pledge of Allegiance to Old Glory, and they could easily explain to you that the thirteen red and white stripes are for the thirteen original colonies, and that the fifty stars stand for the fifty current states in the union. Continue reading