The United States was formed when 13 colonies rose against the British in 1775. They declared their independence from Britain on July 4, 1776. The first flag used by the Americans was an adaptation of the British Red Ensign, known as the “Grand Union Flag,” (see page 12). From this developed the distinctive “Stars and Stripes,” as it known today, which still has the 13 stripes for each of the original colonies to join the Union, and a star for each state which is now part of the USA. The latest star was added on July 4, 1960, after Hawaii became a state in 1959.
A TRULY NATIONAL FLAG The flag of 1777 (see page 12), marked a break with old colonial ties. It became the first of a new kind of flag, one which was truly a national flag in the modern sense. Its basic design and color combination was soon copied by other new nations. The Stars and Stripes is an all-purpose flag, but the USA is rich in flags of many other kinds.
THE PRESIDENT’S STANDARD The Presidential standard, in use today, contains the President’s version of the national arms, and a ring of 50 stars. The coat of arms depicts a spread eagle holding a shield in the style of the Stars and Stripes, 13 arrows, and 13 olive leaves, indicating the country is prepared for either war or peace. The motto “E Pluribus Unum,” meaning “Out of many, one,” reflects the federal nature of the United States.
The 50 stars stand for each of the current states of the Union If a new state joins the Union a star is added the following July 4 13 stripes stand for the original 13 colonies which formed the United States