Issue Date: May 1, 2009
City: Washington, DC
“I swing before your eyes as a bright gleam of color, a symbol of yourself, the pictured suggestion of that big thing which makes this nation. My stars and stripes are your dream and your labors. They are bright with cheer, brilliant with courage, firm with faith, because you have made them out of your heart. For you are the makers of the flag and it is well that you glory in the making.” Franklin Knight Lane, former United States Secretary of the Interior, made this statement of extreme reverence for the flag and the people it stands for.
The early years of America’s flag were turbulent times, when the nation was at war and struggled to find a symbol to represent itself. It wasn’t until June 14, 1777, that America officially adopted its first flag. The first Flag Act, passed by the Continental Congress, stated: “Resolved, that the flag of the United States be made of thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white on a blue field, representing a new Constellation.”
Although the flag has changed slightly over the years, the original design is still intact. The only change has been the number of stars, representing the number of states in the Union throughout America’s period of expansion during the 18th through 20th centuries.