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American Flag History

The American flag is a symbol of the United States of America and its people. The flag has undergone many changes over the years, reflecting the growth and development of the country. Here is a brief timeline of the history of the American flag:

  • In 1775, American ships in New England waters flew a “Liberty Tree” flag with a green pine tree on a white background, with the words “An Appeal to Heaven.”

  • In 1775, the Continental Navy used a flag with the warning “Don’t Tread on Me.”

  • In 1776, the Grand Union flag (Continental Colors) was displayed on Prospect Hill. It had 13 alternate red and white stripes and the British Union Jack in the upper left-hand corner (the canton).

  • In May 1776, Betsy Ross reported that she sewed the first American flag.

  • In 1777, Congress adopted a resolution stating that “the flag of the United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation.” The stars represented Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Georgia, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maryland, South Carolina, New Hampshire, Virginia, New York, North Carolina, and Rhode Island.

  • In 1795, a flag with 15 stars and 15 stripes was adopted after Vermont and Kentucky joined the Union.

  • In 1814, Francis Scott Key wrote “The Star-Spangled Banner,” which officially became the national anthem in 1931.

  • In 1818, Congress passed an act providing for 13 stripes and one star for each state to be added to the flag on the Fourth of July following admission to the Union. The number of stars is now fixed at 50.

The American flag has been an enduring symbol of freedom and democracy for over two centuries. It has flown over many historic events and has been carried into battle by countless brave men and women. Today it continues to inspire Americans to strive for unity and justice for all.

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