The Oranges of Old Glory

Despite President Trump’s strange rehash of history, including airports and rockets’ red glare (Fort McHenry) being part of the American Revolutionary War and the remit of the Continental Army (not actually named for George Washington either), a brief look at the oranges of the American flag might be in order.

Not Your Public School History

In 1775, the time reference of the President’s naritive, there was no “Stars and Stripes” or “Old Glory”. The flag of the Continental Army had 13 strips, to be sure, but it had the British “Jack” in the corner where the star field would appear some time later. This flag (shown below) was known as the “Old Union Flag” or “Continental Colors”. It was flown for another 2 years.

Flag of the Continental Army

It wasn’t until June of 1776 that the “Betsy Ross” flag, with the circle of stars in the corner, appeared, just in time for the Declaration of Independence the following month. Seen below, it was the first federal flag that could be called “Stars and Stripes”.

Betsy Ross Flag

And, as for the Fort McHenry reference, that is a completely different kettle of fish. The revolutionary war was long over. It was during the War of 1812 that the British burned the White House and much of Washington DC and attacked Fort McHenry (Baltimore) where their rockets’ red glare and bombs bursting in air gave birth to the poem that would become the country’s national anthem. The “Garrison Flag”, with just 15 stars, flying at the time (some 36 years after nationhood), and shown below, was also known as the “Star-Spangled Banner”.

Fort McHenry Garrison Flag

Important Quiz Questions

  • Why are there 13 stripes on the American flag?
  • How many stars are there on the current U.S. flag?

And The Videos That Explain The Oranges

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