Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Studying The Stars and Stripes

I wanted a review on the symbolism included in the United States flag and its history, so here are a few of the details. Some of this I remembered, and some I didn't know. I had hoped to put out my flag on the front of my house a couple of weeks ago, but sadly, I didn't. That is, not yet. Hopefully, this evening. It is one of the many tasks I hope to accomplish tonight while preparing for tomorrow's festivities.
HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY to all my friends and family in blogland!

* The 13 (alternating red and white) stripes stand for the 13 original colonies that fought for independence from England.
* The white stars represent the 50 states within our country.
* The colors of the flag were standardized in 1934, and there is an actual Pantone color for the red and blue. (I should have known!) Old Glory Red = Pantone 193, Old Glory Blue = Pantone 281
* While the colors did not seem to have meanings when the flag was adopted (1777), the House of Representatives published a book, "Our Flag," and defined the three colors' symbolism when creating the United States Seal in 1782. "White signifies Purity and Innocence; Red, Hardiness and Valor; Blue signifies Vigilance, Perseverance and Justice."
* George Washington stated, "We take the stars from Heaven, the red from our 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."
* The blue portion of the flag is called the "canton." This term refers to a quarter of a flag and, most of the time, specifically the upper left quarter.
* The canton on the United States flag is also considered the "union" or the maritime flag (called Union Jack.)
* The United States Code allows eleven different sizes of flags to be created. Most abide by the following ratio: If the height (usually called width, side parallel to the flagpole) of the flag is 1.0, the length (called length) of the flag should be 1.9, the width of the union should be .5385 (covering seven stripes), and the length of the union should be .76 (2/5 of the flag length). Width of the the stripes? .0769 which is, of course, 1/13 of the width.
* Our last change to the flag was the addition of the 50th star on July 4, 1960 to represent Hawaii. Since 1818, each increase in stars (to represent the addition of states into the Union) has been added the following July 4 after the inclusion of those states.
* The United States Army Institute of Heraldry has plans for flags with up to 56 stars already designed - should the need arise.
* Prior to the 48 star pattern that was affirmed by proclamation by President Taft in 1912, there were no official arrangements of the stars... just arrangements that were adopted by most.
* The flag has changed 26 times since the 13 state Union adopted it.
* The 48 star version flew over our country for 47 years (1912-1959), the longest time our nation's flag has gone without a modification. However, tomorrow, our current flag will surpass that record after flying in its present form from July 4, 1960 through July 4, 2007.


Chris said...

Interesting - thanks for posting the history and facts of the flag. Like you, I knew quite a few, but not all.

Right now I am reading "The Summer of 1787: The Men Who Invented the Constitution" by David O. Stewart. It is quite fascinating reading the struggles our founding fathers went through as they penned the Constitution, and helped to create a nation which would defend the liberties achieved by our independence from Great Britain.

Truly God blessed their work to establish "a more perfect union."

Good post, I really enjoyed it!

jsarber said...

I love history stuff like this. I thank you for this partly new knowledge. Now I just need to find someone talking about the flag so I can join in and make use of this new wisdom. ;)