Following the tragedies in New York, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania, Americans are seeking ways to publicly express a wide range of emotions as well as support for one another during this difficult time. One of the most popular methods of showing support is displaying the flag of the United States of America.
The Boy Scouts of America is pleased to share the information presented in this handout—adapted from Your Flag, published by the Boy Scouts of America—to help you properly display and care for your symbol of our nation’s unity, glory, and resolve.
Captain Samuel C. Reid, U.S. Navy, who commanded the General Armstrong during the War of 1812, suggested to Congress that the stripes be fixed at 13 to represent the original colonies and that a star be added to the blue field for every state coming into the union.
Congress made this suggestion into law on July 4, 1818, and provided for one star for each new state be added to the flag on the 4th of July following the state’s admission.
After the signing of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, Americans realized they needed a national flag to take the place of all the individual banners carried by the various regiments—one that would symbolize the newly created union of states. Finally, on June 14, 1777, the Continental Congress adopted the following brief resolution:
“RESOLVED, that the flag of the 13 United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white: That the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation.”
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