Being a patriotic person, I look at the United States flag and see a symbol of beauty, freedom and pride. Seeing the US flag blowing in the breeze is a site to behold. And I think it is wonderful that most public buildings have one. But do you ever wonder why red, white and blue were chosen for our flag? Or what the stars and stripes mean? Our flag evolved as our nation grew bigger, and today it has been officially modified 26 times since 1777. You can see the different evolutions of the US flag, as well as a brief explanation and history of each, on the Flags Unlimited website.
No one knows for certain who designed and made the first US flag, but we were taught in school that a seamstress from Philadelphia named Betsy Ross made the first flag after being commissioned by a group of men headed by George Washington. This flag had 13 equal stripes in alternating red and white; and a circle of 13 white stars on a square of blue in the corner. The 13 stars and 13 stripes represent the 13 colonies that fought for their freedom during the American Revolutionary War.
Early US flags actually used a variety of colors, but eventually they settled on red, white and blue. The white represents purity and innocence, red represents hardiness and valor, and blue represents vigilance, perseverance and justice.
At first, the flag did not change, but as our Union continued to grow, and Colonies became States, more stars were added to include one star for each State of the Union. Throughout the flag evolution, the number of stars changed: 13 stars, 15 stars (the 15 star flag also had 15 stripes), 48 stars, and today our flag holds 50 stars to represent the 50 States, and 13 stripes to represent the original 13 Colonies. On April 4, 1818 it was decided to add a star for each State that was admitted, and to keep the number of stripes at 13 to honor the 13 original Colonies.
Many of us see the flag as a beautiful piece of art that inspires loyalty and pride. We wear it on our clothing, fly it over our homes and even use it to honor our military dead. There are laws and regulations on how it must be displayed, folded and stored. It has been carried in battle, and flown over our celebrations. It is a huge part of American life. I am proud to be an American!