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A Brief History of the USA Flag

There are few symbols in American history greater than the American flag. It has been honored in song, fashion, famous speeches, etc. Some citizens of other countries look to the American flag as a long-standing symbol of freedom. While the meaning of the symbolism behind the American flag may vary from person to person, very few people know and appreciate the history of the US flag.

Did you know that the design of the US flag was not always the same as what it is today? The flag has been redesigned a total of 26 times since 1777! Every young child in American schools learns the story of Betsy Ross, who is credited with sewing the first American flag. It originally had 13 stars, each star representing the 13 colonies. What people don’t know about the flag is that Betsy originally sewed the stars with 6 points -- a design feature that was difficult to reproduce. Later models had 5 points, a design that was much easier for a banner maker to create. When the United States became an independent country, more stars were added as the country continued to expand.

Today the flag consist of 50 stars and 13 red, horizontal stripes. The stars are arranged in 9 rows, alternating between 6 and 5 stars. The fifty stars represent the 50 states that make up the United States. Interestingly enough, banner makers did not make the 50 stars to include the capital of the United States, Washington, D.C. For many foreigners, as well as some young Americans who are learning the history of the country, not including the capital seems strange. The reason is because Washington, D.C. is a district, not a state. As a matter of fact, D.C. is short for, “District of Columbia.”

The history of the United States is quite literally woven into the very fabric of the American flag. Our country’s earliest banner makers can be considered part artist and part historian, given their ability to create a flag that has become the symbol for freedom around the world. At Gates, we provide a whole array of different United States flags. We carry different sizes and materials, but we also carry traditional flags, like Betsy Ross's original design. So, the next time you see an American flag, give thanks to Betsy Ross and other banner makers who had the vision and talent to create this long lasting symbol of democracy.