7 Incredible Things You Never Knew About the Flag of the USA
A Native American Commissioned the First Flag
In 1777, a Native American named Thomas Green wanted to visit Philadelphia. However, there was no flag he could take on his travels and he was worried that he wouldn't be safe. Green decided that a flag needed to be made and sent a petition to Congress and offered to pay with three wampum strings. Luckily, 10 days later, on the 14th of June, Congress responded with the Flag Resolution, which we all know as Flag Day today.
In 1959, as Hawaii and Alaska became part of the US, there was a need for a new design for the flag and even though a lot of people around the nation took up the challenge, the winner was a student from Ohio. Without ever having made or designed a flag in his life, Robert Heft submitted a design with 50 stars for a school project and got a B- from his teacher because the two states weren't in the Union at the time. Heft and his teacher agreed that if his design were to get selected by Congress, the teacher would change the grade to an A. When Congress did select his flag out of 1,500 submissions, Heft was given an A by his teacher.
As the US was growing and states were joining the Union, the flag changed a lot. It is generally uncommon for countries to change their flag as they expand so the US flag is quite special because it reflects the change. As the flag was changing and getting redesigned every time a new state was included, regular citizens were asked to submit designs and there were even 27 versions of the flag to this day.
Star Spangled Banner
The flag that inspired Francis Scott Key to write the national anthem of the US had 15 stars and stripes on it in 1812. Key was a lawyer who witnessed the Battle of Baltimore and was inspired to write the poem. However, a lot of people don't know that the flag Key was inspired by is actually in Washington, DC and it is held in the Smithsonian. The flag still exists, it is very old and some parts of it were removed and sold.
Flags on the Moon
The astronauts that landed on the moon in the Apollo program were given six Lunar Flag Assembly kits which they planted on the surface of the moon in 1969. After many years, experts believe that 5 flags are still standing however, there are theories saying that all the flags might have faded to white because of the moon's atmosphere and UV radiation.
The Meaning Behind the Colors
The red, white and blue colors that are found on the flag didn't actually have a meaning in 1777. In 1782, when the Great Seal was designed, a meaning was assigned to the colors on the flag. The red is a symbol of valor, the white symbolizes purity and blue is a symbol of justice and vigilance.
The Flag Isn't Protected by Law
In many countries, some laws protect the flag in case someone destroys it or vandalizes it in any way. However, in the US, such laws don't exist because of a valid reason. The flag represents freedom, so it should serve as a symbol that can be shown proudly or destroyed. Even though a law was established to protect it from abuse in 1969, the Supreme Court decided in 1990 that it's a citizen's right to do whatever they please with the symbol, even if that means abusing it.