U.S. flag history

Our pledge

"I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all"

History of our nation's flag

On September 8, 1892, the Boston-based "The Youth's Companion" magazine published a few words written by Francis Bellamy for students to repeat on Columbus Day that year. At the first National Flag Conference in Washington D.C., on June14, 1923, a change was made. For clarity, the words "the Flag of the United States" replaced "my flag".

It was not until 1942 that Congress officially recognized the Pledge of Allegiance. One year later, in June 1943, the Supreme Court ruled that school children could not be forced to recite it. In fact, today only half of our fifty states have laws that encourage the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance in the classroom!

In June of 1954 an amendment was made to add the words "under God". Then-President Dwight D. Eisenhower said "In this way we are reaffirming the transcendence of religious faith in America's heritage and future; in this way we shall constantly strengthen those spiritual weapons which forever will be our country's most powerful resource in peace and war."

On July 19, 2006, North Carolina Governor Mike Easley signed into law (Session Law 2006-137) Senate Bill 700 which REQUIRES. . . "Daily Recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance and Teaching of the meaning of the American Flag and the Pledge of Allegiance in the schools of North Carolina."

Flag Trivia

• Did you know that there are 27 official United States flags from 1776 to 1960 totaling 882 stars and 353 stripes?

• ALL of these official U.S. flags (plus nearly 300 more) were donated and are currently on display at the House of Flags Museum in Green Creek, Polk County, North Carolina.

• Ours is THE ONLY Flag Museum to display all 27 official United States flags.

• Our Flag has changed its stars and stripes 27 times in its history. This year, on July 5th 2007 the current 50-star Flag will become the longest flying flag in US history. (47 years, 1 day since the 48-star Flag was officially replaced with the 50 star flag, July 4th 1960)

• The 50-star flag was designed by high school senior Bob Heft as a history project in 1958 when we only had 49 states. His teacher gave him a B-minus because it had too many stars. On July 4, 1960, Bob Haft found himself in Washington, D.C., standing next to President Dwight Eisenhower, watching as his 50-star flag was raised for the first time over the U.S. Capitol building. (www.americanprofile.com)

• Flag Day - the anniversary of the Flag Resolution of June 14th 1777

Evolution of Our Flag

First British flagThe first British flag in North America was, St. George's Cross, a red and white flag. This flag was brought here by British explorers in the 1500's. Their exact landing location is still questionable. But the red and white was seen on our shores for the first time.

Kings ColorsWhen the Pilgrims came in the 1600 they brought with them the Kings Colors. This flag had the cross of St. George prominently displayed in it but it also had acquired a white X with a blue background from St. Andrew's Flag of Scotland. This then added the blue.

Colonial Red EnsignIn 1720 the Colonial Red Ensign was chosen and flying in our skies. More red than calming blue and pure white. Under this banner dissension's rose and the colonist became angry about taxes. They then sought their freedom from British rule but the basic flag design was visible.

Grand Union FlagIn 1776, in the wars early days, its reported a patriot sewed six white stripes on the Red Ensign to show his displeasure with the British and created the Continental Colors, or, the flag Washington called the Grand Union Flag when he raised it at the battle of Cambridge. It was here that stripes became visible.

Grand Union FlagOn June 14th 1777, the Second Continental Congress, in a resolution described a flag that would unify all 13 colonies. It should be one with 13 stripes, 7 red and 6 white with 13 stars forming a new constellation in a field of blue. This flag was first flown at Fort Stanwix in New York on August 3, 1777. The now stars completed the design of today's flag.

1777 U.S. FlagIn 1795 when two more states joined the union, 2 stars and 2 stripes were added to the flag. This flag is the only flag with more than 13 stripes. It was also the flag that Francis Scott Key wrote about in 1814 when he composed, the Star Spangle Banner, our National Anthem.

1818 U.S. flagIn 1818 Congress decided to specify a specific design and wrote the first flag code. The flag would have 13 stripes one for each of the first 13 colonies and 20 stars in a field of blue for each state. Stars would be added on July 4th following each states admittance. The star design would be specified by the President. Our 20 star flag also became a little longer than wider.

The rest is history, a proud history of accomplishment, by a determined people in a free atmosphere. We have grown from 13 to 50 states; we have five territories and the District of Columbia, all still united after more than 200 years. We should be proud of our heritage and the rights we have. We should honor our flag and give thanks to all those who fought to secure our freedom through the years.

Stand quietly each time you hear our National Anthem played. Recite the pledge of allegiance often. Salute Old Glory when she is presented. Let's show the world that Americans are a proud people, who love freedom, and know how to handle it.

Flag History & US Flag Code

Betsy Ross & Flag History

Federal Laws relating to the US Flag

North Carolina’s 1st Historical Flag: The “Hornet’s Nest Flag”

First North Carolina flagAfter being driven out by fierce opposition of Charlotte’s & Mecklenburg’s citizens to British occupation in 1780 during the American Revolutionary War British General Cornwallis wrote that “Charlotte Town was a hornet’s nest of rebellion.” The date “May 20, 1775” reflects the date that the citizens of Mecklenburg declared independence from Britain… more than a year before the Continental Congress in Philadelphia declared independence from Britain.

"The first flag of North Carolina… was white and bore a hornet’s nest and the date May 20, 1775…” (page 627: Preble, George Henry. Origin and History of the American Flag…Fourth Edition 1894, First Edition 1872 Boston.

Note: A 3-foot by 5-foot reproduction of the “Hornet’s Nest Flag” is available from the House of Flags Museum, Inc. We had these high-quality flags produced by Annin & Company with our design on their dense 200 denier Nyl-Glo, DuPont Solar-Max nylon flag material, using the Anco Dye sublimation process.

U.S. flag

Grand Union Jack

North Carolina state flag

15 Star United States Flag
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Hours of Operation
Tuesday / Thursday, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Tour Groups
For school and group tours contact the House of Flags at 828-894-5640 or email flagmuseum @gmail (dot) com. Donations are accepted to cover expenses.

33 Gibson Street, Columbus NC 28722
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Email: flagmuseum @gmail (dot) com