What—This Old Flag?

Hey, Flag Aficionados!

Today is National Flag Day—a day to put out your flag and appreciate the banner that symbolizes your country. Flags are national symbols. Every country has a flag. Yet, the first flags were flown before the world’s countries ever existed! Let’s take a look into the history of flags to better understand how we got our own U.S. Flag.

Initially used for easy identification in warfare, the people of the High and Late Middle Ages would paint their shields with patterns to show whether they were a friend or foe. It became common, then, for knights, infantry commanders, and other leaders to fly a heraldic flag on their saddle in order to grab even more eyes with even more ease.

It didn’t take long before the practice became commonplace for troops to carry their own flag out to the battlefield simply to distinguish their unit.You're a grand ol' flag, you're a high-flyin' flag!In the early 17th century, when sailing reached an all-time peak in popularity, it became the law that ships had to carry flags in order to designate their nationality.And these are the flags evolved and transformed into the national flags and maritime flags of today.

And once flags had shown their purpose at sea, they made themselves useful as a means of simple communication from across the water as well by means of interactive systems.

The earliest national flag belongs to Denmark. It is referred to as the Dannebrog and, adopted in 1219, it is the oldest national flag of any country. However, by the end of the 1700s, it was one among an incredible number. And that number didn’t stop growing until every sovereign state had a national flag.

The American Flag features 13 red and white stripes and 50 stars to symbolize the 50 states and 13 original colonies, the American Flag is an incredibly iconic image, but it hasn’t always looked the same. Our original Flag (modernly known as the Betsy-Ross Flag or Colonial Flag) has been changed more than 25 times as stars continued to be added as territories were annexed into states. We finally designed our modern flag in 1960 after Hawaii, our 50th state, was granted its statehood.

Show your appreciation for our flag today and, as always, thanks for reading, Summer Camp Fans!

- John

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