luni, 20 august 2007

United States Flag

No one knows with absolute certainty who designed the first stars and stripes or who made it.

Until the Executive Order of June 24, 1912, neither the order of the stars nor the proportions of the flag was prescribed. Consequently, flags dating before this period sometimes shows unusual arrangements of the stars and odd proportions, these features being left to the discretion of the flag maker. In general, however, straight rows of stars and proportions similar to those later adopted officially were used. The principal acts affecting the flag of the United States are the following:

• On June 14, 1777, in order to establish an official flag for the new nation, the Continental Congress passed the first Flag Act: "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."
• Act of January 13, 1794 - provided for 15 stripes and 15 stars after May 1795.

• Act of April 4, 1818 - provided for 13 stripes and one star for each state, to be added to the flag on the 4th of July following the admission of each new state, signed by President Monroe.

• Executive Order of President Taft dated June 24, 1912 - established proportions of the flag and provided for arrangement of the stars in six horizontal rows of eight each, a single point of each star to be upward.

• Executive Order of President Eisenhower dated January 3, 1959 - provided for the arrangement of the stars in seven rows of seven stars each, staggered horizontally and vertically.

• Executive Order of President Eisenhower dated August 21, 1959 - provided for the arrangement of the stars in nine rows of stars staggered horizon tally and eleven rows of stars staggered vertically.

The true history of the origin of the flag of the USA has become so overcrowded with traditions and legends that at times it is next to impossible to establish the true facts.

The US flag was raised in its first unified form on January 2, 1776 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It consisted of 13 alternate red and white straps (stripes), equal to the number of states. The original states were Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, and Virginia. For that flag, on June 14, 1777, "Flag Day", Congress sub-stituted a similarly striped flag with 13 white stars on a blue field in the left-hand corner.

In 1794, with the admission of Vermont and Kentucky, Congress added two more stripes and two more stars. The new country began to grow. More states joined it. But there was no place on the flag for more stripes. So in 1818 the original 13 stripes were restored, to remain unchanged thereafter; for each new state admitted to the Union, however, a new star was to be added. Today the USA flag has 13 horizontal (7 red and 6 white) stripes and 50 white stars on the blue background representing the 50 states. The red stripes proclaim courage, the white stripes proclaim liberty, and the field of blue stands for loyalty. The US flag is known as "Old Glory", the "Stars and Stripes" or the "Star-spangled Banner". The latter name comes from the title of the national anthem of the USA, beginning with "Oh, say can you see by the dawns early light ... the Star-Spangled Banner...” The words were created by Francis Scott Key who watched the bombardment of Fort McHenry in September 1814, during the war between the USA and Great Britain in 1812-1815. The melody was taken from an English song composed by John Stafford Smith (1750-1836).
The US flag is the symbol of the revolutionary struggle of the American people, of the American Revolution. The coat of arms of the US represents an eagle with wings outspread, holding a bundle of rods - the symbol of administering - in the left claw and an olive twig - the emblem of love - in the right claw. The motto on the coat of arms is "E Pluribus Unum".

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