1. There have been 27 official versions of the American flag, each with a different number of stars in the blue union. The official original flag contained 13 stripes and 13 stars, both symbolizing the first colonies.
2. The flag didn’t always have 13 stripes. In 1794, Kentucky and Vermont were added to the Union, resulting in a 15-star, 15-stripe flag that inspired Francis Scott Key’s “Star Spangled Banner,” which was written after the battle at Fort McHenry during the War of 1812.
3. The latest version of the American flag is the longest to last, celebrating its 54th anniversary this year.
4. There is no written record of Betsy Ross being the creator of the American flag. The story was largely unheard of until 1870 when Ross’s grandson, William Canby, brought it up to the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. The family swears by the oral history and recorded government payments to Betsy Ross seem to suggest that what they say is true.
5. The colors of the flag are symbolic. Red stands for valor, white stands for purity, and blue stands for perseverance and justice.
6. The flag was first called “Old Glory” by a young sea captain named William Driver in 1824.
The flag is, after all, the greatest emblem of our nation. As President Coolidge said:
“We identify the flag with almost everything we hold dear on earth. It represents our peace and security, our civil and political liberty, our freedom of religious worship, our family, our friends, our home. We see it in the great multitude of blessings, of rights and privileges that make up our country.”