British American Group

Symbols of America – Flags

Posted on: November 24, 2006

Nicknamed “Old Glory” , this flag is one of the most prominant symbols of the United States of America. To many, it is the symbol of individual and personal liberty. Our patriotic national anthem, “Star Spangled Banner”, pays tribute to the flag still flying high during the war of 1812.

The anthem was first written as a poem by Francis Scott Key after witnessing the bombardment of Fort McHenry in Baltimore, Maryland, by British ships in Chesapeake Bay. Interestingly, the tune for this song is actually the tune of “To Anacreon in Heaven,” a popular British drinking song!

We recite our Pledge of Allegiance, the promise or oath of allegiance to the United States, while saluting this flag.

The origin of the current U.S. flag design is uncertain. A popular story credits Betsy Ross for sewing the first flag from a pencil sketch by George Washington who personally commissioned her for the job. However, it is the Grand Union Flag (left), also known as The Continental Colors, that is the first true Flag of the United States.

This flag consisted of 13 red and white stripes, signifying the Thirteen British Colonies, with the British Union Flag in the canton as a symbol of the colonial leaders’ wishes to keep close ties with Great Britain.

Notice that the Union Flag in the canton representing Britain is slightly different from the British Union Jack of today. The form of the Union Jack used here is the version from before their union with Ireland. Thus there is no smaller red cross (St. Patrick’s cross of Ireland) within. This version contains only St. George’s cross of England and St. Andrew’s cross of Scotland.

To see the individual state flags of the United States, visit Wikipedia here!


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