Flags Around the World Inspired by the American Flag

Flag of the USA

The American flag is iconic. It is instantly recognizable around the world, and it has had an influence on the design of flags from many different countries. Some flags resemble the American flag because of ancestral links, while others have a shared history that is celebrated or remembered through similar colors or designs. Continue reading

30 Great American Flag Crafts

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The American flag is a very popular subject for crafting. There is, of course, some controversy regarding whether a particular medium is suitable for creating one, or even whether using an American flag is appropriate in the first place. The Flag Code states that the flag should not be used in a disrespectful or inappropriate manner, which is implied insofar as disposable or edible items featuring the flag. It should not be desecrated (in this case, written on or cut up), nor worn as clothing, used as bedding, or as a receptacle. Continue reading

Showing Your Colors with NFL Football Flags

Autumn … leaves changing beautiful colors, pumpkin spice, cooler weather, and FOOTBALL! This time of year is a favorite for all the wonderful things from hoodies to Oktoberfest beer, but perhaps the most anticipated event is the kick-off to the football season. Every fan nationwide pulls out their favorite team’s shirts, hats, bobble heads, flags, and colors to show their love for the home team.

Fans can be fanatic about their teams, whether because they grew up watching them or because of an emotional tie to the team name and colors. Some of the NFL teams have been around since the 1920s, back when the league was known as the American Football League. Rooted in history, some of these franchises have changed names, cities, and owners over time, but their logos remained a part of the fabric of the team.

image1The San Francisco 49ers are among the top ten original teams of the NFL, playing since 1946. They are one of the few teams that can claim to have never moved cities and to have kept their team name intact for over 70 years. The meaning of their name is pretty obviously a nod to the 1849 gold rush. It was meant to pay homage to the influx of pioneers who migrated to California in search of gold.

Interestingly, the massive discovery of gold occurred just days before the treaty between Mexico and the U.S. was signed, effectively ending the Mexican-American War, leaving California as part of the United States. Over 750,000 pounds of gold were found over the course of the ‘49 gold rush – probably why the 49ers have gold as one of their main colors!

image2While San Francisco might be one of the original NFL teams, certainly one of the most notorious franchises is the Dallas Cowboys. Their infamous history began in 1960 as an expansion team, and they are the only NFL team to have a record 20 straight winning seasons from 1966-1985. Jerry Jones has made them into the wealthiest team in the League, with five Super Bowl wins.

Did you know they don’t even play in Dallas? Their current stadium is in Arlington, Texas. The team boasts so many incredible players to have been a part of the alumni. Players such as Mike Ditka, Roger Staubach, Troy Aikman, Emmet Smith, and many more who hold records and places in the hall of fame. The logo clearly represents their home state nickname: ‘The Lone Star.”

The oldest team in NFL history is named the Chicago Bears. They began as the Decatur Staley’s, named after their owner, and when the Chicago Cardinals (the other oldest team) moved to St. Louis (finally landing in Arizona), they became the Chicago Bears. While the city doesn’t have a bear problem, the football team played at Wrigley field, home of the Cubs. Instead of keeping the name “Staley,” they changed their name in honor of their host.

The Bears trademark “C’ logo was first worn on their helmets in 1962, then redesigned to incorporate the team’s primary colors of red and blue in 1974. The fun fact about the “C” is that it was the exact same logo that the Chicago Cardinals used from 1920-1947, but since they were such a defunct team, the Bears repatriated their logo.

image3No discussion about football can be complete without mentioning the incredible dynasty of the New England Patriots. Fans who suffered through the challenging beginnings and the devastating loss in the ‘86 Super Bowl are now savoring the legacy Bill Belichick has bestowed on New England. The Brady/Belichick power-packed combo has reigned supreme since 2001, winning the first Super Bowl in franchise history.

Throughout every controversy, every accusation of cheating, the New England Patriots have risen above it all. Belichick has created an organization of well-disciplined players who have more sportsmanship than most franchises. No wonder fans are eager to don their #12 jerseys!

The logo has changed throughout the years, from Pat Patriot snapping the football, to a modernized Patriot head lovingly known as “The Flying Elvis.” Having a Minuteman as the logo pays homage to the deep history of the region, where the Revolutionary War began and was primarily fought.

There are many reasons that football has replaced baseball as America’s sport of choice, not the least of which is the excellent marketing by the NFL with team gear. From clothing to mugs, lanyards to blankets, and so much more, you can show your colors for your favorite NFL team all year round. Are you ready for some football?

Flags, Heraldry and the Origins of the Banners We Fly

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Today, many families carefully research and proudly display the crests and mottoes of their ancestors, and pore through family trees to trace the genealogy of their families. A sense of belonging is a basic need, and knowing our origins is a way to connect with those who came before us. While still feeling American first, knowing the nationality of our ancestors helps with that sense of belonging, and many Americans proudly recognize and celebrate the cultures from which they came. Celebrating St. Patrick’s day decked out in green or having a margarita on Cinco de Mayo, we can be proud of where we came from. Flying a flag in honor of our family’s origins is a special way to demonstrate that sense of belonging, and AmericanFlags.com makes this easy with its offerings of a wide range of international flags.

National Flags

While learning about one’s own origins, it will become apparent that many national flags seem to have common origins, with many colors, patterns, and emblems all held in common. As with the genealogy of people, national flags have a genealogy—a history of their own.

The genesis of the national flag can be found in the battlefields of antiquity and in the pageantry of the middle ages. The popular image of the medieval knight in shining armor evokes a sense of romance, of valor, of men at arms fighting for the honor of a fair maiden. A closer look at the medieval knight though will show that their equipment was not just designed to protect them, but also to identify them upon the battlefield or tournament list.

Heraldry Through History

A unique art form, known as heraldry, was developed for the rigorous rules that developed as this grew. Far from just an art of pageantry, the combinations of colors, patterns, shapes, selections of animals and other objects formed a complex language of identification. In battle it helped separate friend from foe, and in a tournament it helped the wearer to stand out from the crowd.

In the heraldic tradition, different colors and symbols came to embody different meanings. For example, to display a bear on one’s heraldry was to portray strength, the rose to symbolize beauty, while the axe implied duty. The colors, too, carried meaning, and there were strict rules about which colors could be placed next to each other. Even in medieval times the red, white, and blue of our own Stars and Stripes represented ideas of strength, innocence, and dedication.

In fact, the rules of heraldry first articulated in the middle ages carry through to the modern day and have direct bearing on the development of modern flags. Even today, flags must follow the strict guidelines of principles such as “the Rule of Tincture,” and Colleges of Heralds still exist to ensure that new heraldic devices follow the antique rules. For example, when Kate Middleton married Prince William and became the Duchess of Cambridge, it was necessary for her to be granted a coat of arms.

Her device was created to represent her, her family and its impending connection to the Royal Family of Great Britain. It consists of three acorns separated with gold and white chevrons, and contains “jokes” that only those versed in heraldry would likely appreciate. The acorns were to represent the Duchess and her siblings. The gold chevron refers to her mother’s maiden name, Goldsmith, and the division down the center between blue and red is a pun on her surname Middle-ton. There are some basic concepts of medieval heraldry.

Modern Heraldry

The influence of medieval heraldry extends beyond royal families. Many of these archaic laws of heraldry are still found in design today, from advertising to clothing trends. As with the original meaning of colors carrying down to modern flags, specific emblems from  medieval heraldry continue to appear in modern logos. For example, a cross that once represented an off-shoot of the infamous Knights Templar is found in the logos of the Portuguese and Brazilian national Soccer Teams. The Emblem of the Order of Christ, an offshoot of the Knights Templar, is still used today in crests of both the Brazilian and Portuguese National Soccer Teams.

Historical Flags

As a modern American, the world of the medieval knight and his heraldry can seem so far away as to be of little meaning. However, while time moves on, and particular politicians may come and go, ideas endure, and a flag, more than anything else, represents an idea. The historical flag collection at AmericanFlags.com offers a sampling of such flags.

Just as fashion will disappear only to find itself in vogue again, many Americans find themselves sharing ideas with our Revolutionary forefathers. In this light,  Gadsden’s famed “Don’t Tread on Me” banner once again finds itself flown proudly by Americans seeking to ensure our government does not overreach its bounds and tread on the freedoms so many Americans have given so much to protect.

Raising a flag in your front yard for all to see evokes that ancient sense of belonging, of marking what is precious and what belongs to us as individuals and as a nation. Perhaps without even being aware of it, we take our place in the line of those who display character through the colors we fly. A beautiful, well-made flag highlights an American home as a bastion of those virtues we share and hold dear, and our carefully constructed, made in the USA offerings of American flags will make sure that your respect for the traditions embodied in the flag you fly are as evident as the meaning they evoke.