I pledge Allegiance to the flag
of the United States of America
and to the Republic
for which it stands,
one nation under God,
with Liberty, and Justice for all
Congress first authorized the United States Flag on June 14, 1777, the
day we currently celebrate Flag Day in America. This date is also
significant in that it qualifies our flag as the third oldest of the
National Standards of the world, even older than BritainÂ’s Union Jack.
First flown from Fort Stanwix, on the site of the present city of Rome,
New York, on August 3, 1777, the flag had a tumultuous beginning, going
through the Battle of Oriskany when it was only three days old on August
The flag's original design called for a star and a stripe for each
state, making thirteen of each, to correspond to the original thirteen
colonies. In 1791, Vermont was admitted to the union, followed by
Kentucky in 1792. The number of stars and stripes was accordingly raised
to fifteen. As other states joined, it was clear something would have to
be done about the ever-expanding flag. An act of Congress in 1818
reduced and restricted the number of stripes on the flag to thirteen. A
star would be added for each new state.
The individual stars depicting the states represent the power of our
Federal Constitution, which reserves to the States their individual
sovereignty, except as to rights delegated by them to the Federal
George Washington said of the flagÂ’s symbolism, "We take the stars from
Heaven, the red from our mother country, separating it by white stripes,
thus showing that we have separated from her, and the white stripes
shall go down to posterity representing Liberty."
About the author
Cheri Sicard is the editor of
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