he stripes represent the original 13 Colonies and the stars represent the 50 states of the Union. The colors of the flag are symbolic as well; red symbolizes hardiness and valor, white symbolizes purity and innocence, and blue represents vigilance, perseverance and justice.
KING’S COLORS FLAG
The new flag was variously called the King’s Colors or the Grand Union Flag. It is the banner under which the English colonization of America was effected, and remained the flag of the colonists for more than 100 years.
British Red Ensign Flag
By the treaty of 1763, Great Britain gained control over all of that vast territory of the new world east of the Mississippi River. France ceded the west to Spain. The British Red Ensign was the banner of the British troops who opposed Washington’s continentals all through the harrowing days of the American Revolution, and it was under its folds, that Cornwallis surrendered at Yorktown on that historic October 19, 1781. It was the British Flag of the French and Indian War.
Grand Union Flag
The colonists wanted only justice and their rights as Englishmen. They were united in their determination to secure them and to fight for them if necessary. The Grand Union Flag was raised at Cambridge, January 2, 1776, by General Washington, and given a salute of 13 guns. The occasion marked the beginning of our National existence. It continued to be the flag of the Revolution until the adoption of the Stars and Stripes by an Act of the Continental Congress, June 14, 1777, the birthday of the American Flag.
Bunker Hill Flag
It proclaimed the patriot’s love for his homeland with its pine-clad hills. And so it was that the pine tree emblem came into general use and one was placed in the canton of the Continental Banner. It thus became one of the series of the Pine Tree Flags. It is claimed that the Continental Flag, with a red field and the pine tree on the white canton, was one of the banners carried by the American troops, who, on that memorable day of June 17, 1775, fought it out with British Regulars on the grassy slopes of Bunker Hill and three times stopped the British charge.
Betsy Ross Flag
It is generally conceded that General Washington had a hand in designing this flag and it is fair to assume that the idea of the stars originated with him. The first Stars and Stripes displayed in the face of an armed enemy was at Fort Stanwix, August 3, 1777. The Flag was improvised. The white stripes and stars came from the soldier’s shirts; a captain’s cloak supplied the blue of the union; and the red stripes came from the flannel petticoats of the women of the garrison, who gladly donated them for the purpose.
Only about 100 of them ever got back to Burgoyne’s Army. It was the loss of these 900 men that contributed much to the failure of Burgoyne’s campaign, which ended in disaster with the surrender of his Army at Saratoga, New York, October 7, 1777, a death blow to the British. The Bennington Flag was presented to Colonel Stark’s Army by Nathaniel Fillmore, the father of the future President. It was made of homespun linen and hand sewn.
The Star Spangled Banner Flag
It was this banner under which the American Navy waged a war against the Barbary Pirates and which they hoisted over the fort at Derne, Tripoli, on April 27, 1805, following an assault on that place by American Marines and Bluejackets. It was the flag under which Commodore Perry won the battle of Lake Erie, and General Andrew Jackson signaled victory over the British Regulars under Sir Edward Pakenham at New Orleans.
To learn more about the Star Spangled Banner, see the links below.
General Lee Flag
It is claimed that the Gadsden Flag was flown on the “Alfred” as the personal banner of commander Esek Hopkins, Commander of the American Navy. It was run up by John Paul Jones. The words “Don’t Tread on Me” were evolved from an incident of the times. Lord North had declared that he would never relax his coercive measures until he had brought America to his feet. The sentence is an answer to his Highness and a warning as well. It said, that should he accomplish his purpose, it would be as dangerous to tread on America as it would be to tread on her symbol – the American rattler.
Stars and Bars
Union Civil War Flag
North Carolina State Flag
Flag Care and Repair
- Only flags made specifically for exterior use should be displayed outdoors.
- For the best results, do not expose your flag to rain, snow or abnormally high winds; these forces of nature can shorten its life considerably. Should the flag become wet, it should be spread out and allowed to dry completely. Do not fold or roll-up a wet or damp flag.
- To keep its rich colors looking bright, clean your flag regularly, before soiling and discoloration from dirt, smoke, dust and other airborne contaminants “set” in the fabric. Outdoor flags can be hand-washed with cold water and a mild soap, then thoroughly rinsed and spread out to dry. Do not let the flag stand in the wash water or you might experience some color bleed onto the white stripes. Professional dry cleaning is recommended for indoor/parade flags. Incidentally, many establishments will clean Old Glory free of charge, especially during the period just prior to Flag Day, June 14.
- Do not place the flag where the wind will whip it against rough surfaces, tree branches, wires, cables, etc. The smallest tear can soon result in a tattered flag. Keep pole surfaces free of heavy dirt, rust, scale and corrosion that could damage your flag.
- Inspect your flag regularly for signs of wear. In particular, look for “normal wear” fabric or thread breaks which may occur in the “fly” end. This is the end farthest from the staff. Trimming off and re-hemming torn or frayed ends will help extend the life of your flag.
There is no exact answer. The U.S. Government generally expects a nylon or cotton bunting flag to last approximately 90 days, based on daily usage from sunrise to sunset – but not during periods of inclement weather. Tests have shown that in some cases a flag flown 24 hours a day will last only one-fourth as long as one flown during the daylight hours only.
Regardless of how well it is constructed, a flag is, after all, only a piece of cloth and will sooner or later succumb to the elements. However, it has been well documented that reasonably good care can contribute greatly to longer life.