There’s not much that beats the feeling of waving an American flag on a hot Fourth of July. The stars and stripes seem to embody sheer patriotism in one outstanding symbol.
But does your love for the country match up with how much you know about it?
Here are 10 surprising facts about the U.S. flag that they didn’t teach you in school.
1. The flag that flies today was actually designed by a 17-year-old student as part of a history project.
Robert G. Heft actualized the 50-star version of the flag right before Alaska and Hawaii became states. Although he only received a B- on his homework, he submitted it to congress. President Dwight D. Eisenhower picked his design from over 1,500 other applicants.
2. Everyone knows America’s colors are red white and blue—but you might not know this.
The U.S. Department of State has specified names for the flag’s official colors: old glory red, white, and old glory blue.
3. American flag sales are on the rise.
On September 11, 2001, Walmart sold over 115,000
American flags. The year prior, they sold only 6,400 flags. But the year after 9/11, Walmart sold an astounding 7.8 million American flags.
4. Did you know that 5 out of the 6 original flags placed on the moon are still standing?
Buzz Aldrin explained that one of the flags fell down during Apollo 11’s liftoff.
5. Remember Gilligan’s Island?
If you look closely during the opening sequence (fast forward to 22 seconds in) you will be able to spot an American flag flying at half mast. The show did this to honor President Kennedy—he was assassinated the same day that the pilot episode was shot.
6. You probably remember learning that Betsy Ross designed the first American flag.
But studies show that there is actually no factual evidence to back this up. Her involvement in this claim came from her grandson, who in 1870 presented affidavits from family members to the Historial Society of Pennsylvania. According to historians, the flag’s actual designer is Francis Hopkins.
7. How did the flag get its nickname?
“Old Glory” was the name of an American flag owned by sea captain William Driver. He was given the flag by residents in his hometown, Salem Massachusettts. Upon seeing the flag sailing on his ship’s mast in 1831, he gave it the famous nickname.
8. Remember this movie?
The director of “Who Framed Roger Rabbit,” Richard Williams, based the main character off of traits of the U.S. flag. The rabbit has red overalls, white fur, and a blue tie.
9. Federal law governs handling of the flag.
The U.S. flag code includes a list of restrictions such as the use of the flag’s image for advertising purposes or for printing.
10. What is flag day?
It’s not a federal holiday, and is only a state holiday in Pennsylvania and New York.
The United States flag is more than a symbol of your country–it represents the journey and the struggle to obtain the freedom that we know today.
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