The first official flag was established on June 14th, 1777 by the Continental Congress. They resolved that the flag would have 13 stars and 13 stripes to represent the 13 colonies. The stars of white would reside on a field of blue to represent a new constellation. In honor of our flag on August 3rd 1949 President Harry S. Truman declared June 14th as the official Flag Day!
So how did the idea of the American flag come about? It is believed that Francis Hopkinson, a representative of New Jersey in the Continental Congress and a signer of the Declaration of Independence designed the flag. The exact origin of the very first American flag created is unknown, but just like much of our US history there are some widely accepted theories. Legend has it that Betsy Ross, an upholster and friend of George Washington sewed the original drawing of flag. In 1776 the congressional committee that was made up of George Washington, Robert Morris and George Ross, a relative of Mrs. Ross came to Betsy looking for help. Washington pulled out a rough sketch of his vision for the flag. The design had 13 red and white stripes as well as 13 stars. When Betsy was asked if she was up to the challenge she replied, "I do not know, but I will try". Before she got to work Mrs. Ross made a suggestion to Washington's Sketch. She wanted to change the six-pointed stars to five-pointed ones. The Continental Congress approved of this alteration and she changed history by sewing the first flag.
Since the original design of the flag, Congress passed several acts that changed the shape, design and arrangement of the flag and allowed stars and stripes to be added to reflect the admission of each new state. From 1795 to 1960 the flag has been altered to accommodate new states. The 14th star was claimed by Vermont in 1791 and the 50th star belongs to Hawaii in 1960. Today the flag design has 13 alternating stripes (seven red and six white) representing the original 13 colonies. The 50 stars on a field of blue represent the states of the Union.
Why do we call our flag Old Glory? A well-known nickname for the flag is “Old Glory.” This name was coined by Captain William Driver in 1831. Old Glory was actually the name of his personal flag, a gift given to him by his mother and other ladies of the town. It was a very large flag designed for a ships mast and originally having only 24 stars. Since this flag was designed for a ship a small anchor was sewn in the corner to represent its nautical affiliations.
The captain was very pleased with this flag so as he was leaving on a voyage aboard the Charles Doggett he hoisted the flag up the pole. As the wind caught this enormous flag he shouted “Old Glory!” Old Glory served as the ship's official flag throughout the voyage.
In 1861 the Civil War broke out and Tennessee seceded from the union. Driver was worried the rebel government would try to destroy his famous Old Glory. To keep it safe and completely concealed he had the flag sewn inside a comforter. Once Nashville was taken by the Union, Driver safely hoisted Old Glory at the state capitol. That would be the last time the flag resided on a flagpole. A unit of Federal troops who were present would adopt the motto "Old Glory.” With such publicity over this event the Old Glory name had become the nationally recognized name.