American Flag Facts: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Debra Patuto

Debra has taught at elementary levels and has an M.ed with certification in elementary education and special education

June 14 is Flag Day, the day that Americans celebrate the American flag and all of its stars and stripes. In this lesson, we'll learn about the American flag, its design, who made it, and the deeper meaning in those stars and stripes.

The American Flag

Have you ever heard someone refer to the American flag as Old Glory? Our country's flag earned this nickname back in the mid-1800s when sea captain William Driver raised the flag on his boat's main mast and soon developed a deep passion for the flag. Driver is quoted as saying:

It has ever been my staunch companion and protection. Savages and heathens, lowly and oppressed, hailed and welcomed it at the far end of the wide world. Then, why should it not be called Old Glory?

The American flag
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Today, Americans still express a deep passion for the American flag. In fact, there have been laws forbidding Americans from destroying the flag, and there's strict etiquette about how to store and display the flag. Let's learn more!

Design of the American Flag

Congress passed the first Flag Act on June 14, 1777. This act determined that the American flag would be made up of 13 alternating red and white stripes and 13 white stars on a field of blue. (More Flag Acts would come later as the design of the flag changed.)

The original U.S flag
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The 13 stars and stripes represent the 13 colonies that declared independence from Great Britain. As the United States began incorporating more states, it added stars to the flag to represent each. There were many different designs over the years. The last state, Hawaii, was added on July 4, 1960. A contest was held for the updated design of the flag, and a 17-year-old-boy won! His design with all 50 states represented by stars is still our flag today.

Who Made the First Flag?

Betsy Ross is believed to have made our nation's first flag, but this fact has never been confirmed. It has been said that she was friends with George Washington, the first president, and had become his seamstress. He was impressed with her work and chose her to sew the flag.

An illustration of Betsy Ross presenting the first American flag to George Washington
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