Fun Facts about the U.S. Flag
When the flag was first designed, it sported thirteen stripes and thirteen stars for the original thirteen colonies. When Vermont and Kentucky were added to the Union, they were states 14 and 15. Originally two new stripes and two new stars were added to recognize the new states. But would that mean that the U.S. flag would always have to add more stripes as more states were formed? The decision was made to return to the original thirteen stripes and represent new states by adding stars.
Dwight D. Eisenhower was president when Alaska and Hawaii became states 49 and 50. Thousands of ideas for the new flag were mailed to the White House. The design that was chosen was the one we know today featuring alternating rows of five and six stars. It was suggested by a 16-year-old student at Lancaster High School in Ohio. A history teacher at the school assigned the class to redesign the national banner to recognize Alaska and Hawaii. Robert G. Heft (1941-2009) removed the blue field from his family’s 48-star flag. He stitched in new blue fabricthat cost him $2.87. He then handcut 100 white stars from iron-on fabric and placed the stars on both sides of the fabric in the design we know today. Heft was one of several who submitted a similar design, but apparently he was the only person who actually stitched it together and shipped it to D.C.
The 50-star flag is the first to have lasted for a full fifty years.
Six flags have been planted on the moon. Five are still waving.
The flag that inspired The Star Spangled Banner was the one that flew over Fort McHenry, Maryland during the War of 1812. That same flag still exists and is on display at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. To read the full story of the Star Spangled Banner, and when and how it was composed, read “Francis Scott Key: How the Star Spangled Banner Came to be Written.”