5 Things You Didn't Know About The American Flag

On January 13, 1794, President George Washington approved a measure adding two stars and two stripes to the American flag, following the admission of Vermont and Kentucky to the union. Here are 5 surprising facts that you may not know about the flag of the United States of America...

 
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The Current American Flag Was Designed by a Teenager The modern American flag was designed by Robert G. Heft, a 17-year-old student. Because Hawaii and Alaska were being admitted to the Union in 1959, a design contest was held, which received more than 1,500 applicants. Heft’s design was chosen by President Dwight Eisenhower over all the rest. As a class history project to design a new flag, Heft submitted his design and received a B- for his project from his teacher. But after his flag was chosen, the teacher changed his grade to an A.

The Flag Probably Wasn’t Designed by Betsy Ross While Betsy Ross is commonly given credit for the design of the American flag, evidence is lacking about whether she actually designed it. The only proof of her involvement in the design of the flag came from her own family when her grandson provided affidavits from his family members to the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. However, early Continental Congress records clearly name Francis Hopkinson as the designer of the flag.

 
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We All Know The Flag Has 13 Stripes, But For 23 years, it Had 15 Up until 1795, the flag had one stripe and one star for each of the 13 states. After Vermont and Kentucky were added to the union in 1791 and 1792, respectively, the flag was due for its first major redesign in the country's history. Not only were two stars added to the blue field to represent the new states (a tradition that continues to this day), but designers also added two stripes.The 15-star, 15-stripe flag existed from 1795 until 1818, when five more states were added. Designers realized that adding more stripes would quickly become unwieldy, so they dropped the stripe count back to 13.

The Flag Was Nicknamed “Old Glory” by a Sea Captain A sea captain named William Driver had been given an American flag by women in Salem, Massachusetts, his hometown. Once he saw it proudly flying onboard the mast of his ship in 1831, he nicknamed it Old Glory. The name caught on, and it became a nickname nationwide for the American flag.

The Television Show "Gilligan’s Island" Shows the American Flag at Half-Mast In the 1960s television series “Gilligan's Island,” the American flag is shown in the distance flying at half-mast in the opening of the first season of the show. It turns out that the pilot episode was filmed on November 22, 1963. This was the same day as the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, so the flag had been lowered to reflect that day of mourning.