American Symbols

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JFK - John Kennedy


Great Seal of the United States - Obverse


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JFK - John Kennedy


American symbols

American Flag

flag and Nickname

American Flag

American Flag

The American Flag
The American flag is immediately recognisable and is the most famous of all the American symbols. It is also referred to as the Stars and Stripes, Old Glory, Red, White and Blue and the Star Spangled Banner. The flag serves as a symbol of honor, heritage and national pride and is displayed at all state buildings and many residential houses especially on holidays like Veterans Day, Presidents Day, Memorial Day and on Independence Day, 4th July.

American Flag Symbolism
The American flag has 13 stripes that represent the 13 original colonies and it also displays 50 stars representing the 50 states.


Facts on the American Flag
Fast facts and interesting information about Flag Day:

Fast Facts & Info about the American Flag
Fact 1: American Flag Day. Each year on June 14, the birthday of the Stars and Stripes is commemorated
Fact 2: The American Flag came into being on June 14, 1777.

Fact 3: The Second Continental Congress authorized a new American flag to symbolize the new Nation of the United States of America

Fact 4: June 14 is not celebrated as a Federal holiday, but Americans continue to honor the history and heritage the Stars and Stripes represents

American Flag

Picture of American Flag


History, Description, Colors and Symbols of the American Flag
The American Flag is the official identifying symbol of the nation, the design of which is established by law in the constitution of the United States. What does the American flag stand for? The colors and design is not arbitrary but has a definite symbolic meaning. The description, history and meaning of the symbols and colors of the American Flag are as follows:

Picture of American Flag

Capital: Washington, D.C.
50 states, 16 territories
3.79 million square miles
4th largest country
Largest City: New York City
Est. Population: 320 million people
Currency: US dollar ($ USD)
American Flag Ratio: 1:5

Great Seal of the United States - Obverse

What is the design of the American flag?  

The canton design of the American Flag depicts 50 white five pointed stars on a blue rectangular background and 13 horizontal stripes


The stars are arranged in 9 horizontal rows of six stars at the top and bottom alternating with rows of five stars


The canton on the American Flag is specifically referred to as the "union"


The thirteen equal horizontal stripes are displayed as red at the top and bottom with alternating red and white stripes between.

What is the common decoration of the American flag?  

A golden fringe surrounding the perimeter of the American flag.


The golden fringe was first used in1835


The golden fringe decoration was officially used by the American army in 1895

What do the stars symbolize?
 The 50 white stars represent the 50 states of America
 According to ancient heraldry the star symbolizes honour, achievement and hope
What do the stripes symbolize?
 The thirteen stripes on the American flag represent the 13 original colonies, which are known as 'Old Glory'
 According to ancient heraldry a pattern of horizontal (barwise) stripes, in different colors, is called a 'Barry'.
What are the colors of the American flag?

The precise colors of red, white, and blue used in the American flag are specified with reference to the Color Association of the United States (CAUS). The colors are specifically referred to as "Old Glory Red", "White" and "Old Glory Blue".

What do the colors mean, or symbolize, in heraldry?
 The color blue symbolizes vigilance, truth and loyalty, perseverance & justice
 The color white is a symbol of peace and honesty
 Charles Thompson, Secretary of the Continental Congress, described the symbolism of the colors as "White signifies purity and innocence, Red, hardiness & valour, and Blue, signifies vigilance, perseverance & justice."
 George Washington (1732-1799) explained the symbolism of the colors of the 'Union Flag' as follows: "We take the stars from Heaven, the red from out mother country, separating it by white stripes, thus showing that we have separated from her, and the white stripes shall go down to posterity representing liberty."
What is the shape and American flag ratio? The 'Hoist' is the width and the 'Fly' is the length.
 The ratio is 1:5 meaning it is 1 unit tall for every 5 units wide. Size 2 3 ft. or 4 6 ft.
Who designed the American Flag?
 Elizabeth Griscom Ross, aka Betsy Ross (January 1, 1752 January 30, 1836), is recognized for sewing the first American flag. Betsy Ross was a seamstress who often mended the clothes of George Washington. The 'Betsy Ross Flag' depicts red and white stripes with the stars in a circle
 The man credited with designing the current American flag in 1958 is Robert Heft. His updated design featured 50 stars. His work was part of a class project which was adopted by presidential proclamation after Alaska, and before Hawaii, was admitted to the union in 1959.
What is the history of the American Flag? 
 1775: Sons of Liberty flag consisting of horizontal red and white stripes

1776 January 1: American forces led by George Washington marched under the 'Grand Union' flag which had 13 alternate red and white stripes and the British Union Jack in the upper left-hand corner (the canton)

 1776 May: Betsy Ross reported that "she sewed the first American flag"
 1777, June 14: The Marine Committee of the Second Continental Congress passed a resolution establishing a new design: "Resolved, 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 resolution did not, however, define how the stars should be displayed or how many points each star should have. There was therefore a variety of designs depicting 5 or 6 pointed stars and with stars arranged in rows or as a circle

1779: The John Paul Jones (1747-1792) or Serapis design was flown. The colors of the stripes were red, white and blue

 1781, March 15: The Guildford design was flown at the Battle of Guilford Court House. The canton had a white background with blue stars and the stripes were red and blue
 1795: 15 stars and 15 stripes design when Vermont and Kentucky were added to the original Thirteen Colonies)
 1818: 20 stars when Tennessee, Ohio, Louisiana, Indiana, Mississippi were added and 13 stripes (which remained on all subsequent designs)
 1819: Star added to represent Illinois

Stars were added as other states joined the Union 1820:  23 stars (Alabama, Maine) 1822: 24 stars (Missouri), 1836: 25 stars (Arkansas), 1837: 26 stars (Michigan), 1845: 27 stars (Florida), 1846: 28 stars (Texas), 1847: 29 stars (Iowa), 1848: 30 stars (Wisconsin), 1851: 31 stars (California), 1858: 32 stars (Minnesota), 1859: 33 stars (Oregon), 1861: 34 stars; (Kansas)

 1861: First Confederate Flag (Stars and Bars) adopted in Montgomery, Alabama
 Following the Civil War additional stars were added as states achieved statehood. 186335 stars (West US), 1865: 36 stars (Nevada), 1867: 37 stars (Nebraska), 1876: 38 stars (Colorado)
 1889-1890: Flag with 43 stars North Dakota (November 2, 1889), South Dakota (November 2, 1889), Montana (November 8, 1889), Washington (November 11, 1889), Idaho (July 3, 1890)
 1891: 44 stars (Wyoming), 1896: 45 stars (Utah)
 1897: Adoption of State Flag Desecration Statutes
 1908: American Flag with 46 stars (Oklahoma)
 1912: 48 stars (New Mexico, Arizona)

1912: Executive Order of President Taft established proportions of the American flag and provided for arrangement of the stars in six horizontal rows of eight each, a single point of each star to be upward pointing

 1942: American President Roosevelt approved the Federal Flag Code
 1949 August 3: American Flag Day (June 14) observance each year by proclamation.
 1959: American Flag with 49 stars (Alaska)

1959: Executive Order of President Eisenhower provided for the arrangement of the stars in nine rows staggered horizontally and eleven rows staggered vertically

 1960: American Flag with 50 stars (Hawaii)

When was the American Flag officially adopted by legislature? (Most US flags were designed in 19th & 20th centuries)
 The American Flag was officially adopted January 31, 1861
What is the American Pledge of Allegiance and Salute?
  The American Pledge of Allegiance is as follows:

"I 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 salute should be made by standing at attention facing the flag with the right hand over the heart.

The American Flag is kept and used as required by the code specified in the Constitution of the United States.

Pictures of Old American Flags
The Old American flags play an important role in the history and development of the American flag. Recommended reading: Star Spangled Stars History.

Picture of the First Grand Union FlagPicture of the Hopkinson Banner
Picture of the First Grand Union BannerPicture of the Hopkinson Banner
Picture of the Betsy RossPicture of the Star Spangled Banner - 15 Stars
Picture of the Betsy Ross Picture of the Star Spangled Banner - 15 Stars

Sizes, Dimensions and Specifications of the American Flag
The sizes, specification and dimensions of the American Flag are detailed below and ensures that the stars and stripes are all correctly proportioned. These sizes and specifications are contained in Executive Order No. 10798 of January 3, 1959, which, strictly speaking, governs only flags made for or by the American government. However, many American national flags on general sale have a different length-to-width ratios.

Sizes, Specifications and Dimensions of the American Flag

Parts of the Flag

American Flag Ratio: 1:5
Hoist (width) of the flag: 1.0
Fly (length) of the flag: 1.9
Width of the canton: 0.5385
Length of the canton: 0.76
Diameter of stars: 0.0616
Width of stripe: 0.0769 (One thirteenth of the flag width)

Picture of Flag of the United States

The most common sizes are 2 3 ft. or 4 6 ft. (flag ratio 1.5), 2.5 4 ft. or 5 8 ft. (ratio 1.6), or 3 5 ft. or 6 10 ft. (ratio 1.667).


American Flag for Kids

Meaning & recent pictures of the American flag
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Meaning, Pictures History and Pictures for kids
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Nickname: Stars and Stripes, Old Glory the Star Spangled Banner and the Red, White and Blue

Meaning, pictures and images of the American Flag for schools, kids and children

American Flag for Kids

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