SAN ANGELO, TX – On this day 243 years ago the Continental Congress passed the act that would establish the official flag of what would become the United States of America. The flag has without a doubt become an iconic symbol in America and around the world it hasn't always looked the way we know it to be in this day and age.
The resolution passed by the Continental Congress stated: “Resolved, that the flag of the United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation.”
According to historians, the design of the first version has often been attributed for centuries to New Jersey Congressman Francis Hopkinson and believed to be sewn by Betsy Ross. Exact details regarding the design and creation of the first flag are still unknown to this day.
Nearly 20 years later in 1795, Congress enacted the second Flag Resolution that required new stars and stripes to be added to the flag as new colonies and territories gained statehood.
By 1818 Congress enacted the final Resolution that required the number of stripes to remain at 13 and that new stars would be added on the most patriotic day of all, the Fourth of July after a state gained admission.
After Hawaii became the 50th state admitted to the union in 1959, a total of 27 official versions of the flag had been approved in less than 200 years.
Even though no official meaning or symbolism has been attached to the colors used in the flag, back in 1777 the Secretary of the Continental Congress Charles Thomsons suggested the following symbolism:
“White signifies purity and innocence, Red, hardiness & valor, and Blue…signifies vigilance, perseverance, & justice.”
For more than 2 centuries the flag has stood for the ideals that this country was intended to always protect and the firm belief that “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Sources: History.com & Encyclopedia Britannica