Our Flag

 

INTRODUCTION

During the night of September 13, 1814, the British fleet bombarded Fort McHenry in the harbor at Baltimore, Maryland. Francis Scott Key, a 34-year old lawyer-poet, watched the attack from the deck of a British prisoner-exchange ship. He had gone to seek the release of a friend but they were refused permission to go ashore until after the attack had been made. As the battle ceased on the following morning, Key turned his telescope to the fort and saw that the American flag was still waving. The sight so inspired him that he pulled a letter from his pocket and began to write the poem which eventually was adopted as the national anthem of the United States--"The Star Spangled Banner." Key was returned to Baltimore and later that day took a room at a Baltimore tavern where he completed the poem. Years later, Key told a hometown audience in Frederick, Maryland:

"I saw the flag of my country waving over a city-the strength and pride of my native State-a city devoted to plunder and desolation by its assailants. I witnessed the preparation for its assaults. I saw the array of its enemies as they advanced to the attack. I heard the sound of battle; the noise of the conflict fell upon my listening ear, and told me that 'the brave and the free' had met the invaders."

The joint Committee on Printing is pleased to present the latest edition of Our Flag. This Congressional publication briefly describes the history of the flag, and sets forth the practices and observances appropriate to its display. The Committee hopes that this document will be both useful and informative to its audience.

 

"Let the praise, then, if any be due, be given, not to me, who only did what I could not help doing, not to the writer, but to the inspirers of the song!"

-Francis Scott Key

HISTORICAL FLAGS

 

Fort Moultrie flag.

FORT MOULTRIE

South Carolinians defending Fort Moultrie in Charleston Harbor in 1776 raised one of the earliest flags of American liberty. The silver crescent appeared as a badge worn on their caps. The cause for which they fought-liberty-was emblazoned on the crescent.

Green Mountain Boys flag.

GREEN MOUNTAIN BOYS

General John Stark of New Hampshire commanded a militia brigade known as the "Green Mountain Boys.' Tradition relates that its green flag was flown at the Battle of Bennington on August 16, 1777. As in many American flags, the stars here were arranged in an arbitrary fashion. Nevertheless they signified the unity of the Thirteen Colonies in their struggle for independence.

 

Rhode Island Regiment flag.

RHODE ISLAND REGIMENT

The State flags of America found their earliest forms during the Revolutionary War. The starry canton in the flag of the Rhode Island Regiment symbolized national unity, but the white field corresponded to the uniform of the State troops. The anchor symbol and motto which completed the design had been used for more than a century. The original flag may be found in the State House in Providence.

 

Commodore Perry's flag.

COMMODORE PERRY'S FLAG

During the War of 1812 Captain James Lawrence of the Chesapeake encouraged his men, as he lay dying by exhorting "Don't Give Up the Ship." Three months later at the Battle of Lake Erie, Commodore Perry emblazoned these words on a flag which carried him to victory. Similar flags and mottoes have inspired Americans throughout our two centuries of existence.

Bennington flag.

BENNINGTON FLAG

Originally believed to have been carried during the Revolution, this flag is now seen as having probably been made for the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence in 1826. Its design is typical of the exuberant artistic expressions found in flags of the 19th century.

Cavalry Guidon flag.

CAVALRY GUIDON

During the Civil War a special version of the United States flag-with swallowtail and stars of gold instead of white-was carried by the cavalry. General Custer and others used the flag in succeeding decades in the West.

Follow these links for more about our flag.

Table of Contents


History of the Stars and Stripes
An Early Stars and Stripes
The Grand Union Flag
Fifteen Stars and Stripes
Early American Flags
The Flag Today
Flag Laws and Regulations
Flag Presentation
Folding the Flag
Care of your Flag
Sizes of Flags
Flags at the United States Capitol
How to Obtain a Flag Flown Over the Capitol
American War Mothers Flag
How to Obtain a Burial Flag For a Veteran
Flags of States and Territories
Flag Day
The Great Seal of the United States
Fort McHenry
The Flag House
Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag
The American's Creed
School Projects

OUR FLAG

Joint Committee on Printing
United States Congress

Image of USA flag."I PLEDGE ALLEGIANCE TO THE FLAG OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA AND TO THE REPUBLIC FOR WHICH IT STANDS, ONE NATION UNDER GOD, INDIVISIBLE, WITH LIBERTY AND JUSTICE FOR ALL."

Jukebox of many flag related patriotic midi songs. Make sure your speakers are turned on and the volume is turned up. Then click on.

Star Spangled Banner

America

America The Beautiful

Battle Hymn of the Republic

Bugle Boy

Grand Flag

It's A Grand Old Flag

Keep The Star Spangled Banner Flying

My Country

Rally Round The Flag

Semper Fi

Star Spangled Banner Waves Somewhere

Stars and Stripes

Taps

Washington Post March

When Johnny Comes Marching Home

Yankee Doodle

You're A Grand Old Flag

Zipadee Doodah

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