Handmade birch bark & wood American flag by MadeAtTheLake
Since the 4th of July is tomorrow, I deemed it appropriate to focus a blog post on our nation's history. One piece that seems to always be in disagreement or misinformation is the origin of the American flag. Did Betsy Ross really sew the first flag? Did Washington create the first flag design? I decided to dig up some answers...

It is believed by most notable scholars and historians today that Francis Hopkinson is the original designer of our American flag and is recorded thus in journals from the Continental Congress. On June 14, 1777, the Continental Congress passed the first Flag Act saying: "Resolved, That the flag of the United States be made of thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new Constellation." June 14th is now known as flag day for this commemorative event.

Eventually, as states were added, so were stars and stripes. On April 4, 1818 President James Monroe signed an act that stated there would be 13 stripes (one for each original U.S. colony and one star for each state. New states' stars would be added on July 4th after their admission to the Union. ) Throughout the course of the 20th century, alterations were made to the alignment of stars (six rows of eight each, seven rows of seven each, etc.) 

Robert G. Heft is actually the designer for our most current flag and originally designed it as a school project when he was 17 years old. This was a time when Hawaii and Alaska were being discussed as possible states. His teacher gave him a B minus since she stated "It lacked creativity". His teacher told him he could raise his grade if it was adopted by Congress. So naturally, he sent it to his representative, where it eventually became our most current United States flag design.

Before his death in 2009, Heft said, "I never thought when I designed the flag that it would outlast the 48-star flag. I think of all the things it stood for in the past, the things we've done as a nation that we're proud of. It's not a perfect country, but where else would I like to live?" 

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