The Stars and Stripes. Old Glory. The Star Spangled Banner. Each day we respect and salute our beloved American flag, but what do we really know about it? Are you aware of the history, interesting stories, and rules behind our flag?
Understanding the U.S. flag, a great part of American history, is an important way to better respect the flag, what it means, and why it matters so much to Americans.
Keep reading to learn some of the most fascinating facts about the American flag -- you might be surprised by what you learn!
1. There Are Six American Flags on the Moon
Wait, where!? Yes, unbelievably, there are currently six American flags on the moon, placed there by the Apollo astronauts over the course of several missions.
Although the flags have been bleached and weathered over time by the sunlight and lack of atmosphere on the moon, they remain there as a proud reminder of NASA’s accomplishments.
2. The Colors Red, White, and Blue Have Specific Meanings
Why were the colors red, white, and blue selected for the flag?
The colors were selected for certain important reasons. The color white stands for purity and innocence and red represents hardiness & valor. Blue is used to represent vigilance, perseverance & justice.
3. There Have Been 27 Versions of the U.S. Flag
Starting with the original flag in 1777, which had 13 stars and stripes, we are now up to the 27th version of the U.S. flag.
As the U.S. grew and expanded over time, updates to the flag were needed to represent the new states joining the nation. The flag has looked very different over time, but the fundamental design and colors have remained consistent.
4. The Current Flag Was Designed by a High School Student
Unbelievably, the current version of our flag was designed by a high school student.
After the newest states of Hawaii and Alaska joined the U.S., a new flag design was needed to represent all 50 states. The design selected came from 17-year-old Robert G. Heft, who had designed it as part of a school project. It came into being in 1960 and has been used ever since.
5. “Old Glory” Was a Particular Flag Owned by a Sea Captain
Old Glory is a popular nickname for the American flag, but the name actually came from American sea captain William Driver of the 19th century. He named his flag Old Glory. The flag was shown both on his ship and back at his home in Tennessee, and the name has stuck ever since as a nickname for the American flag.
6. You Can Visit the Original Flag that Inspired “The Star Spangled Banner”
Francis Scott Key wrote the iconic Star Spangled Banner as he watched the American flag continue to wave over Fort McHenry, despite the constant fire coming from the British in the War of 1812.
Amazingly, this huge flag has been carefully preserved for future generations. It can be seen at the National Museum of American History, part of the Smithsonian Institution, in the US capitol. A visit is an incredible way to learn more about this national treasure.
7. The Stars and Stripes Represent America’s Former Colonies and States
One of the most important facts to know about the U.S. flag is what it represents. The 13 red and white stripes are there to recognize the original 13 colonies that formed the USA. The 50 stars are, of course, there to represent the 50 states of the union.
Together, the flag is a beautiful representation of both federal and state importance.
8. There Are Rules for Flying the Flag
The United States Flag Code, first adopted at the 1923 National Flag Conference, sets out guidelines for flying and handling the flag.
The Flag Code states important guidelines, such as not to fly the flag in bad weather, proper ways to carry, lower, and hoist the flag, and the requirement that no other flag should be flown above the U.S. flag.
Here’s how to proudly hang the flag at home.
9. The Largest American Flag in the World Weighs 3,000 pounds
The largest American flag takes 500 people to stretch out and measures 505 feet by 225 feet. This huge flag, sometimes seen at stadiums, was owned by Thomas “Ski” Demski of Long Beach, CA.
He proudly flew the flag outside his home on a 132-foot flag pole, an incredible sight to see, no doubt. It was known as the ‘superflag’ and even made appearances at the Super Bowl.
10. Flag Day is June 14th
Flag Day, celebrated each June 14th, as a way to honor the flag and the freedom, history, and independence it represents. It came to be in 1916 when President Woodrow Wilson declared June 14th to be established as Flag Day. Later, in 1949, it was declared National Flag Day by an Act of Congress.
While it’s not an official American public holiday, it is still a day millions of Americans proudly fly their flags in honor of their country and the sacrifices by those who came before them.
Interestingly, June 14th is also the date of the founding of the American Army, back in 1775.
Flying the American flag at home is one of the best ways to show pride and support for your country, especially on Flag Day. It's also a great way to show community pride and encourage your neighbors to do the same.
11. The “Pledge of Allegiance” Has Honored the Flag for Over 100 Years
Everyone remembers reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in school, but did you realize it has been established for over 100 years?
It was written in 1892 by Francis Bellamy as a way to honor the flag and what it represents. School students still proudly recite the Pledge daily to their classroom flags.
Looking for More Facts About the American Flag?
Contact us with any questions about flying, storing, or displaying your flag. As one of America’s top online flag stores, we can also help with state flags, military flags, and flagpoles.
If these facts about the American flag have inspired you to proudly fly your own flag outside your home, we are happy to help.