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Indian Nations CouncilThe Greatest Show on Earth


What Is A Flag ?

The World Book Dictionary defines a flag as "a piece of cloth with a pattern or picture on it that stands for some country, city, party, club, or other group, or that gives some information or signal."

Normally when we think of a flag we think of our national flag, which is as it should be. However if we look at the definition above we see that a flag can represent many other things. A flag is a symbol, it represents people united by a common bond or cause. It is a source of pride, for a flag encompasses the hopes and ideals of the people it represents.

We see the American flag many times a day - flying at school, over office buildings, decals on vehicles - we even wear it on our Scout uniforms, but how well do we really know "Old Glory"?

¥ On January 1, 1776 the Continental Army was formed and a common flag was hoisted. It was a British Meteor flag with 6 horizonal white stripes on a red field. It was called the Grand Union flag and later called the Cambridge flag and the Continental flag. It's origin is unknown and it was never officially approved. It was widely used aboard ships until July 4, 1776 and there is no record of it ever being carried into battle on land. After the signing of the Declaration on Independence, the Grand Union became obsolete and was used less and less. It's last recorded usage was at Fort Schuyler, New York in August 1777.

¥ On June 14, 1777, Congress passed a short resolution stating:  "that the flag of the United States be made of thirteen strips, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars white in a blue field, representing a new constellation."

¥ The Continental Congress left no record to show why it chose red, white, and blue as the colors for the flag. But in 1782, the Congress of the Confederation chose these same colors for the newly designed Great Seal of the United States. Red was for hardiness and courage, white was for purity and innocence, and blue for vigilance, perseverance, and justice.

¥ May 1, 1795, Congress passes the Second Flag Law, adding two stripes and stars to the national flag in recognition of Vermont and Kentucky. The 15-striped, 15-star flag is the second official version of the national flag.

¥ The 15-star and 15-strip Star-Spangled Banner is the only flag to have a national anthem written for it.

¥ On April 4, 1818, Congress passes the Third Flag Act. The flag reverts back to 13 strips representing the 13 original colonies and 1 star for each state admitted to the Union.

How We Evolved As A Country



13The original thirteen founding states:  Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Georgia, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maryland, South Carolina, New Hampshire, Virginia, New York, North Carolina, Rhode Island.

15Vermont (1791), Kentucky (1792)

20Tennessee (1796), Ohio (1803), Louisiana (1812), Indiana (1816), Mississippi (1817)

21Illinois (1818)

23Alabama (1819), Maine (1820)

24Missouri (1821)

25Arkansas (1836)

26Michigan (1837)

27Florida (1845)

Page XKeeping the Promise

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