FLAG FACTS

Betsy Ross sewed the first American flag. It is not clear who actually designed it, but the experts at the Betsy Ross House suggest it was Francis Hopkinson, a New Jersey delegate to the Continental Congress and a signer of the Declaration of Independence.

The flag has 13 stripes representing the original 13 colonies (7 red and 6 white). In the upper left corner is a navy blue field with 50 white stars that represents the states.

There is no official designation or meaning for the colors of the flag.

There is no record stating why red, white, and blue where chosen for the flag. However, when the Great Seal of the United States was chosen this is what was listed for them: "white for purity and innocence, red for valor and hardiness, blue for vigilance, perseverance, and justice."

Folktales says that George Washington interpreted the flag in this way: the stars were taken from the sky, the red from the British colors, and the white stripes signified the secession from the home country.

If the flag is flown upside down it signals distress. It means "I need help, I'm in trouble".

Worn out flags are destroyed, usually by burning.

When flown at half-staff, the flag is raised to the top of the flagpole then lowered to half-staff. When taken down, the flag is again raised to the top and then brought down.

A flag is flown from dawn to dusk. However, it may be flown for 24 hours if illuminated during the hours of darkness.

The flag should never touch the ground, the floor, or water.

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