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“I pledge allegiance to my flag and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."
THE AMERICAN FLAG.
There are many theories as to the origin of the Flag of the United States, but the first official recognition was by the American Congress, when, on the 14th day of June, 1777, it
“Resolved, That the Flag of the thirteen United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation.”
The original thirteen states were Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, and Virginia.
It is conceded by all authors of books touching upon the subject, that the first Flag was partially designed and made by Elizabeth Ross, at No. 89 Arch street (now No. 239), Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Although tradition speaks of the unfurling of the Stars and Stripes prior to its adoption by the American Congress, George Henry Preble, Rear Admiral, U. S. N., in his “History of the Flag of the United States of America,” has this to say:
“Beyond a doubt, the thirteen stars and stripes were unfurled at the battle of Brandywine, Septenı ber 11, 1777, eight days after the official promulgation of them at Philadelphia, and at Georgetown on the 4th day of October following; they witnessed the operation against and the surrender of Burgoyne, after the battle of Saratoga, October 17, 1777; and the sight of this new constellation helped to cheer the patriots of the army amid their sufferings around camp fires at Valley Forge the ensuing winter. They waved triumphant at the surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown, September 19, 1781; looked down upon the evacuation of New York, November 25, 1783; and shared in all the glories of the latter days of the revolution.”'
It waved for the first time over a foreign fortress when the Americans took possession of Fort Nassau, on the Island of New Providence, the seat of government of the Bahama Islands, on the 28th day of January, 1778.
Vermont having been admitted as a state March 4, 1791, and Kentucky June 1, 1792, Congress passed a bill, which was approved January 13, 1794, entitled :
“Be it enacted, etc., That from and after the first day of May, one thousand seven hundred and ninety-five, the Flag of the United States be fifteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be fifteen stars, white in a blue field.”
This Flag floated throughout the war of 1812–14.
The admission of the states of Tennessee, June 1, 1796 ; Ohio, November 29, 1802; Louisiana, April 30, 1812; Indiana, December 11, 1816, and Mississippi, December 10, 1817, made a change in the Flag necessary.
During the session of Congress in 1817, a committee was appointed to inquire into the expediency of altering the Flag, which committee reported a bill on the 2d day of January, 1817, which after long debate was not acted upon during that session, and not until the session of 1818 was the bill passed, and finally approved April 4, 1818, and reads as follows:
“An Act to ESTABLISH THE FLAG OF THE UNITED STATES. “SECTION 1. Be enacted, etc., That from and after the fourth day of July next, the Flag of the United States be thirteen horizontal stripes, alternate red and white; that the union have twenty stars, white in a blue field.
SEC. 2. And be it further enacted, That on the admission of every new State into the Union, one star be added to the union of the Flag; and that such addition shall take effect on the fourth of July next succeeding such admission.”
The “Washington Gazette," under date of April 10, 1818, published the following:
“By this regulation the thirteen stripes will represent the number of states whose valor and resources originally effected American independence; and the additional stars—the idea of which has been borrowed from the science of astronomy-will mark the increase of the states since the adoption of the present constitution. This is the second alteration which has taken place in the Flag of the United States, and we trust it will be the last. There is a manifest inconvenience in altering a national Flag; and in the present instance it may, in some degree, prove injurious to our navigation, considering the number of licentious privateers that are abroad. Our merchants and navigators would do well to attend to the alteration in time. The time allowed for the alteration contemplated by the Act of the 4th instant is, we fear, too short. It does not allow three months to persons interested to prepare themselves for the change; and it will take one month at