Few symbols are more recognized or more representative of the United States and its values than the American flag. The flag is so important to the country that it even has its own holiday! Of course, just because a symbol is recognized and admired doesn’t mean that all of the facts surrounding it are commonly known. Indeed, there are many mysteries surrounding the flag, of which the average American citizen may not be aware of. To shed some more light upon this national treasure, here is a collection of five surprising facts about the American flag.
Everybody knows that the flag is made up of vibrant shades of red, white and blue. However, what’s not common knowledge is the meaning behind those three hues.
Charles Thomson, the Secretary of Congress in 1782, declared the significance of the colors used like so: red symbolizes hardiness and valor, white signifies purity and innocence and blue stands for vigilance, perseverance and justice.
Fly me to the moon
The United States has conducted several different manned missions to the moon. During each mission, the astronauts involved left something behind: an American flag.
According to “ABC News,” six flags were planted on the moon, during the Apollo 11, Apollo 12, Apollo 14, Apollo 15, Apollo 16 and Apollo 17 missions. Five of them are still standing to this day, with only the original one Neil Armstrong planted having fallen over.
Made in America
“ABC News” reports that of all the U.S. flags that are manufactured every year, 95% are produced right here in the United States of America. The country with the next highest production of U.S. flags is China.
A “B-” assignment
There have been several iterations of the flag over the years. However, the most modern version was designed by a high school student in 1958. According to USFlag.org, Robert Heft of Lancaster, Ohio designed the flag as a part of a class assignment. Heft’s teacher awarded the Lancaster resident with a B- grade for his efforts.
However, once President Eisenhower chose Heft’s design out of several thousand others that were submitted to him, Heft’s grade was changed to an A. Heft’s design remains unchanged to this day.
Oh, say can you see
It’s no secret that the American flag inspired Francis Scott Key to draft the words to the poem that now serves as the national anthem. If you would like to see the very same flag that inspired Key to craft those words, you can.
The flag that flew over Fort McHenry during the War of 1812 now has a permanent home at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. Unfortunately, it’s not all in one piece, as a 2-inch by 5-inch section of the flag was removed in the 1800s. Regardless, it’s an incredible piece of American history that can still inspire pride in every U.S. citizen.
When it comes to one of our country’s greatest national symbols, there is never too much to learn.