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Facts about the American Flag

The American flag is sometimes called "the star spangled banner" and there is a song of the same name about it.
The American flag is sometimes called "the star spangled banner" and there is a song of the same name about it.
Photo by Eric Thayer/Getty Images

The American flag is one of the most recognizable and visually appealing flags in the world. Although the color combination of red, white and blue is far from unique (we share these colors with France, Great Britain, New Zealand, Australia, and several other nations), our use of stars and stripes have created a stand-out visual effect. Most people from across the globe can easily identify the American flag and, in polls to judge the “prettiest flag,” the United States “Stars and Stripes” consistently takes a top spot.

The American flag's unique design makes it easily recongizable.
Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Although most people with an artistic flare appreciate the American flag for its visual appeal alone, the placement of the stars and stripes actually have symbolic meaning—as do each of the colors. Although the red, white and blue hues were probably chosen due to convenience (since, in the 1700s, America was ruled by the English who have a flag of the same colors and, therefore, those hues were the most widely available) the colors were given special meaning. For example the 13 red and white stripes represent the first 13 colonies and the stars each represent a state. Currently there are 50 stars on the American flag, placed in several rows along the blue square patch on the upper left corner (the original flag had 13 stars in a circle). The white symbolizes purity and hope. The red symbolizes valor and hardiness and the blue signifies vigilance, persistence and justice.

Although most people are aware that the American flag was formed in the 1700s and that Betsy Ross is widely credited for having sewn/created it, few people know the deeper meaning behind the flag aside from the fact that each star represents a state. By understanding the entire symbolism of the flag of the United States of America we gain a better insight into our nation’s history and the traits that we value in our society.