The National Anthem of the United States of America
The Stars and Stripes
Betsy Ross Flag
The 13 Star Flag
The Star Spangled Banner
The 1818 20 Star Flag
The 21 Star Flag
The Civil War 35 Star Flag
The 37 Star Flag
The 44 Star Flag
The 45 Star Flag
The 46 Star Flag
The 48 Star Flag
The 49 Star Flag
The 50 Star Flag
Flags of the Revolution
Grand Union Flag
Join or Die Flag
I AM THE FLAG OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
My name is Old Glory
I fly atop the world's tallest buildings.
I stand watch in America's halls of justice.
I fly majestically over institutions of learning.
I stand guard with power in the world.
Look up ... and see me.
I stand for peace, honor, truth and justice.
I stand for freedom.
I am confident.
I am arrogant.
I am proud.
When I am flown with my fellow banners, my head is a little higher, my colors a little bit truer.
I bow to no one!
I am recognized all over the world.
I am worshipped - I am saluted.
I am loved - I am revered.
I am respected -- and I am feared.
I have fought in every battle of every war for more then 200 years.
I was flown at Valley Forge, Gettysburg, Shiloh and Appomattox.
I was there at San Juan Hill, the trenches of France, in the Argonne
Forest, Anzio, Rome and the beaches of Normandy, Guam. Okinawa, Korea
and KheSan, Saigon, Vietnam know me, I was there. I'm presently in
the mountains of Afganistan and the hot and dusty deserts of Iraq
and wherever freedom is needed.
I led my troops, I was dirty, battleworn and tired, but my
soldiers cheered me.
And I was proud.
I have been burned, torn and trampled on the streets of countries
I have helped set free.
It does not hurt, for I am invincible.
I have been soiled upon, burned, torn and trampled on the streets
of my country. And when it's by those! whom I've served in battle -
But I shall overcome - for I am strong.
I have slipped the bonds of Earth and stood watch over the uncharted
frontiers of space from my vantage point on the moon.
I have borne silent witness to all of America's finest hours. But my
finest hours are yet to come.
When I am torn into strips and used as bandages for my wounded
comrades on the battlefield, When I am flown at half-mast to honor
my soldier, Or when I lie in the trembling arms of a grieving parent
at the grave of their fallen son or daughter,
I am proud
MY NAME IS OLD GLORY
LONG MAY I WAVE.
DEAR GOD IN HEAVEN
LONG MAY I WAVE
SALUTING THE FLAG
Salute the flag...
When it is six paces from the viewer and hold it until the flag has
passed six paces beyond. Salute the flag at the first note of the
National Anthem and hold the salute until the last note is played.
When in civilian attire...
MEN remove hats and hold at left shoulder with hand over heart; without
hat, place right hand, palm open, over heart.
WOMEN should place right hand, palm open, over heart. When in athletic
clothing, face the flag or music, remove hat or cap and stand at
attention; a hand salute is not given.
Never use a flag as a decoration - use bunting.
CARRYING THE FLAG
Carry the flag on the right in any procession or parade. If there are
many other flags, carry the flag in the front center position.
If you are carrying a flag...
Hold the flag at a slight angle from your body. You can also carry it
with one hand and rest it on your right shoulder.
DISPLAYING THE FLAG OUTDOORS
On a vehicle...
Attach the flag to the antenna or clamp the flagstaff to the right
fender. Do not lay the flag over the vehicle.
On a building...
Hang the flag on a staff or on a rope over the sidewalk with the stars
away from the building.
Over the street...
Hang the flag with the stars to the east on a north- south street or
north on an east-west street.
Above other flags...
Hang the flag above any other flag on the same pole.
Other flags, separate poles...
Hang all flags on equal poles. Hang the U.S. flag on its own right,
hoist it first and lower it last.
In a window...
Hang the flag vertically with the stars to the left of
anyone looking at it from the street.
This is a sign of mourning. Raise the flag to the top of the pole
then lower it to the half way point. Before lowering the flag, raise
it to the top again at the end of the day.
An upside-down flag is considered a distress signal.
DISPLAYING THE FLAG INDOORS
If you display the flag on a staff with other flags around it, place the
flag at the center and highest point. Crossed staffs - Keep the flagstaff
higher and on its own right.
Behind a speaker...
Hang the flag flat on the wall. Do not decorate the podium or table with
the flag. Use bunting for decoration.
Next to a speaker...
Place the flag in a stand on the speaker's right. Use the same placement
for a religious service.
In a hall or lobby...
Hang the flag vertically across from the main entrance with the stars
to the left of anyone coming through the door.
On a casket...
Drape the flag with its canton at the head and over the left shoulder of
the body. Do not lower the flag into the grave.
(1) What do the colors of the flag represent?
According to the book, "Our Flag" published in 1989 by the House of
Representatives, "The colors red, white, and blue did not have meanings
for The Stars and Stripes when it was adopted in 1777."Tradition however
has given the following meanings to the colors:
WHITE: purity and innocence
RED: hardiness and valor
BLUE: vigilance, perseverance and justice
(2) What should I do with the flag if it is no longer usable?
The US Code says, "The flag, when it is in such condition that
it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, should be destroyed in a
dignified way, preferably by burning." In many communities organizations
like the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and Boy Scouts
have ceremonies to retire flags on Flag Day (June 14th).
(3) Can the flag be flown 24 hours a day?
The US Code says, "when a patriotic effect is desired, the flag may be
displayed twenty-four hours a day if properly illuminated during the
hours of darkness.... The flag should not be displayed on days when the
weather is inclement, except when an all weather flag is displayed."
(4) Where is the flag always flown 24 hours a day?
This is a common trivia question. Either by Law or Presidential
Proclamation, the US Flag is required to be flown 24 hours a day at the
(1) Fort McHenry, Baltimore, Maryland (by Presidential
(2) Village Green of the Town of Lexington, Massachusetts
(3) Marine Corp Memorial, Arlington, Virginia (by
(4) Valley Forge State Park, Pennsylvania (by law).
(5) The White House, Washington, DC (by Presidential
(6) Washington Monument, Washington, DC (by Presidential
(7) Flag House Square, Albemarle and Pratt Streets,
Baltimore Maryland (by law).
(8) Any U. S. Customs Ports of Entry which are continually
open (by Presidential Proclamation).
The flag is also flown 24 hours a day over the Capital but this is by
custom only. And there are also the flags left on the moon!
(5) When should the flag be flown at half-staff?
The US Code only says, "On Memorial Day the flag should be displayed at
half-staff until noon only, then raised to the top of the staff.
By order of the President, the flag shall be flown at half-staff upon the
death of principal figures of the United States Government and the Governor
of a State, territory, or possession, as a mark of respect to their memory.
In the event of the death of other officials or foreign dignitaries, the
flag is to be displayed at half-staff according to Presidential
instructions or orders, or
* in accordance with recognized customs or practices not inconsistent with law.
In the event of the death of a present or former official of the government
of any State, territory, or possession of the United States, the Governor
of that State, territory, or possession may proclaim that the National flag
shall be flown at half-staff...
The flag shall be flown at half-staff on Peace Officers Memorial Day, unless
that day is also Armed Forces Day."
* (This highlighted section is what most local governments, fire departments
and many other groups use to justify flying their flags at half-staff.)
( 6) Where should I put the flag on a stage?
The US Code says, The flag should be on the "speaker's right as he faces the
audience." (All other flags should be on the speakers left.)
(7) What is the correct position to hang the flag from a wall?
The US Code says, when the flag is displayed either horizontally or vertically
against a wall, the Union (the blue portion) should be at the top and to the
(8) Where can I buy a flag that has flown over the Capitol?
To buy a flag that has flown over the Capitol, just contact your Senator
and ask to buy a flag that has flown over the Capitol.
To contact a Senator just follow this link:
These flags are both good quality and very reasonably priced.
(10) What are the proper dimensions for the flag?
Go to this link:
Please note: The actual size doesn't matter.
The Proportions are what is important. The "typical" flag is usually
either 3'x5' or 5'x8'.
(11) What size flag should I fly?
A good rule of thumb is the lenght of your flag should be 1/4 the height
of your flag pole.
(12) How many official versions of the US flag have there been?
There have been 27 Official US flags. (Flags approved by an act of
Congress.) The gallery of these and other flags in our history
can be found at:
(13) What is inside the ball at the top of a flag pole?
It is either a hollow ball or a solid metal ball. There is
absolutely no truth to the story about it containing
a razor blade, a match and a bullet.
(14) What is the proper way to clean the Flag?
It depends on the material, but in general either Dry
Cleaning or a washing machine are both fine.
Remember: By law, respect for the flag means keeping it looking
like a "fitting emblem" of the United States. That means keeping
it clean and in good repair. (It is also OK to repair a flag as
long as the repair is not noticeable.)
The Star Spangled Banner
The National Anthem of the United States of America
Oh, say! can you see by the dawn's early light
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming;
Whose broad stripes and bright stars, through the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there:
Oh, say! does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?
On the shore, dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam,
In fully glory reflected now shines in the stream:
'Tis the star-spangled banner! Oh, long may it wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!
And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion
A home and a country should leave us no more?
Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps' pollution!
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave:
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.
Oh, thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war's desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav'n-rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: "In God is our trust":
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.
The History of Flag Day
The first celebration of the U.S. Flag's birthday was held in 1877 on the 100th anniversary of the Flag
Resolution of 1777. However, it is believed that the first annual recognition of the flag's birthday dates back
to 1885 when school teacher, BJ Cigrand, first organized a group of Wisconsin school children to observe June
14 - the 108th anniversary of the official adoption of The Stars and Stripes as the Flag's Birthday. Cigrand,
now known as the 'Father of Flag Day,' continued to publically advocate the observance of June 14 as the flag's
'birthday', or 'Flag Day' for years.
Just a few years later the efforts of another school teacher, George Balch, led to the formal observance of
'Flag Day' on June 14 by the New York State Board of Education. Over the following years as many as 36 state
and local governments began adopted the annual observance. For over 30 years Flag Day remained a state and
In 1916, the anniversary of the Flag Resolution of 1777 became a nationally observed event by a proclamation by
President Woodrow Wilson. However, it was not designated as National Flag Day until August 3rd, 1949, when an
Act of Congress designated June 14th of each year as National Flag Day.
Today, Flag Day is celebrated with parades, essay contests, ceremonies, and picnics sponsored by veterans'
groups, schools, and groups like the National Flag Day foundation whose goal is to preserve the traditions,
history, pride, and respect that are due the nation's symbol, Old Glory.
The Stars and Stripes originated as a result of a resolution adopted by the Marine Committee of the Second
Continental Congress at Philadelphia on June 14, 1777. The resolution read: "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. "
The resolution gave no instruction as to how many points the stars should have, nor how the stars should be
arranged on the blue union. Consequently, some flags had stars scattered on the blue field without any specific
design, some arranged the stars in rows, and some in a circle. The first Navy Stars and Stripes had the stars
arranged in staggered formation in alternate rows of threes and twos on a blue field. Other Stars and Stripes
flags had stars arranged in alternate rows of four, five and four. Some stars had six points while others had
Strong evidence indicates that Francis Hopkinson of New Jersey, a signer of the Declaration of Independence,
was responsible for the stars in the U.S. flag. At the time that the flag resolution was adopted, Hopkinson
was the Chairman of the Continental Navy Board's Middle Department. Hopkinson also helped design other devices
for the Government including the Great Seal of the United States. For his services, Hopkinson submitted a
letter to the Continental Admiralty Board asking "whether a Quarter Cask of the public Wine will not be a
proper & reasonable Reward for these Labours of Fancy and a suitable Encouragement to future Exertions of a
like Nature." His request was turned down since the Congress regarded him as a public servant.