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American Flag: Symbol of Patriotism

The American Flag has always been a symbol of American patriotism but it has become an even more powerful and popular representation of the American spirit since the attack on September 11. Flags can now be seen flying everywhere, in addition to their traditional location outside of government buildings, schools, and historical landmarks. It is not uncommon to see American Flags flying from flagpoles in people’s yards throughout neighborhoods, painted on someone’s vehicle, or even in the form of a T-shirt.

Occasionally this growing prevalence and varied use of the flag has caused controversy because some people say that the image of the American Flag should not be demeaned by its use for such common things—such as T-shirts or car paint jobs, for example. However, despite any trivial controversy, the reality is that everyone recognizes the American Flag and knows what it stands for, and you will be hard pressed to find an American that will not agree that it invokes a certain feeling of loyalty to the country.

The Design of the American Flag

The American Flag is made of thirteen red and white alternating horizontal stripes and a blue rectangle in the top left corner that holds fifty white stars. However, initially the flag had only thirteen stars, and they were arranged in the blue box without any set pattern. This original design was declared in a resolution adopted on June 14, 1777 by the Marine Committee of the Second Continental Congress.

In 1794, when Kentucky and Vermont were admitted to the Union as states, another resolution was adopted that changed the number of stars and stripes to fifteen—one for each state. However, in 1818, President Monroe announced that the flag would have thirteen stripes—one of each of the initial thirteen colonies—and twenty stars, with one star being added for each successive state admitted to the Union. Gradually, the flag grew to its present design of thirteen stripes and fifty stars, the last star being added in 1960 with Hawaii.

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