Probably one of the most recognized flags in the world, the flag of the United States was officially adopted in 1777, just two years after the U.S. declared independence. The flag is a rectangular shape and has thirteen horizontal stripes, alternating red and white colors, representing the thirteen original colonies that rebelled against the British monarchy in 1775. The blue rectangle in the upper left corner contains fifty white, five-pointed stars, representing the fifty states.
When the U.S. flag was first created in 1777, it contained thirteen stars instead of the current fifty, representing the thirteen states that existed at the time. Most historians agree that Congressman Francis Hopkinson designed the flag, although popular historical tells us that the Philadelphia seamstress Betsy Ross made the first flag.
In January 1794, a new version of the flag was created with fifteen stripes and fifteen stars. As the United States of America continued to grow and include more and more states, President Monroe signed the Act of April 4, 1818, mandating that the U.S. flag have the original thirteen stripes and that, on the fourth of July following the admission of a new state, a new star be added to the flag. The fifty-star version of the flag was officially adopted in the Executive Order of President Eisenhower on August 21, 1959.
The flag has gone by many names, including the Stars and Stripes, the Old Glory, and The Star Spangled Banner.
The U.S. flag is flown at full staff on New Year’s Day (January 1), Martin Luther King Jr. Day (the third Monday in January), the Presidential Inauguration Day (January 20 every four years), Lincoln’s Birthday (February 12), Presidents’ Day (third Monday in February), Armed Forces Day (third Saturday in May), Memorial Day (last Monday in May; the flag is flown at half-staff until noon), Flag Day (June 14), Independence Day (July 4), Labor Day (first Monday in September), Constitution Day (September 17), Columbus Day (second Monday in October), Navy Day (October 27), Veterans Day (November 11), and Thanksgiving (fourth Thursday in November).
The flag is flown at half-staff on Peace Officers Memorial Day (May 15), Memorial Day (until noon), Korean War Veterans Day (July 27), Patriot Day (September 11), Fire Prevention Week (only the first day; first Sunday in October), and National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day (December 7).