|Flag Name(s)||The Star-Spangled Banner, The American flag, The Stars and Stripes, Red White and Blue, Old Glory, United States US flag [Flag Of United States]|
|Color and Design|
Thirteen horizontal stripes alternating red and white; in the canton, 50 white stars of alternating numbers of six and five per horizontal row on a blue field.
|Meaning & Symbolism||The fifty stars represent the fifty states in the Union, while the thirteen stripes represent the thirteen colonies that united to form the nation during the Revolutionary War. The flag's colors did not have any specific symbolic meanings when they were first adopted, but they have gained meaning in the time since the flag first came into use. The white sections represent innocence and purity, the blue stands for justice, and the red represents valor.|
|Description and Brief History|
The national flag of the United States, (well-known nickname: Star-Spangled Banner) consists of thirteen equal horizontal stripes of red (top and bottom) alternating with white, with a blue rectangle in the canton (referred to specifically as the "union") bearing fifty small, white, five-pointed stars arranged in nine offset horizontal rows, where rows of six stars (top and bottom) alternate with rows of five stars. The 50 stars on the flag represent the 50 states of the United States of America, and the 13 stripes represent the thirteen British colonies that declared independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain, and became the first states in the U.S.
The current design of the U.S. flag is its 27th; the design of the flag has been modified officially 26 times since 1777. The 48-star flag was in effect for 47 years until the 49-star version became official on July 4, 1959. The 50-star flag was ordered by then president Eisenhower on August 21, 1959, and was adopted in July 1960.
The first United States of America flag was flown by the Continental Navy as an ensign during the first year of the American Revolution. It had the same stripes as the modern flag, but it used a Union Jack in place of the stars in the canton. That flag fell out of use when the Second Continental Congress passed a law that described a unique flag of the United States in 1777. The law specified that the flag should have thirteen alternating stripes of red and white along with white stars in a blue field, but it did not specify the arrangement of those stars. Each person who sewed a flag in that period arranged the stars differently, but the most famous of them is the circle of stars from the Betsy Ross flag.
The number of stars on the flag has changed many times over the course of the nation's history in order to reflect the increasing number of states. The first such change occurred in 1795 to reflect the admission of Vermont and Kentucky, while the last change occurred in 1960 due to the admission of Hawaii.
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