us_historical_flags-united_states_of_americaThe American flag is a symbol of the battles during war, the respect during death, and the pride during ceremonies; and the history of the American flag is as rich and exciting as the country it represents.

As most American children know, the 1814 garrison flag that was still miraculously flying after the 25-hour long shelling of Fort McHenry in Baltimore by British troops, was the inspiration for Francis Scott Key to write the words to The Star-Spangled Banner, on September 14, 1814. According to the website US History (http://www.ushistory.org/betsy/flagtriv.html) Francis Scott Key wrote it on the back of an envelope, and the music came from an old English drinking song called “To Anacreon in Heaven.”

This song has become a loving tribute to the determination and perseverance of the country and its people and officially became the national anthem in 1931.This flag that inspired Key and so many others is very important to the United States. That very flag, soiled and fragile, is being restored. According to the PBS website, The Capitol Fourth, (http://www.pbs.org/a-capitol-fourth/history/old-glory/), the flag is now stored at a 10-degree angle in a special low-oxygen, filtered light chamber and is periodically examined at a microscopic level to detect signs of decay or damage within its individual fibers.

The flag has come to mean so much to the citizens of the United States. According to AC Flag and Banner in Denver, in 1892 the red, white and blue American flag inspired the writing of The Pledge of Allegiance by James B. Upham and Francis Bellamy. The Pledge of Allegiance was first written in The Youth’s Companion magazine.

AC Flag and Banner in Denver points out the American flag has been taken to some unusual places.

According to the website US History (http://www.ushistory.org/betsy/flagtriv.html), the American flag was first flown overseas at Fort Derne (a foreign fort in Libya), on the shores of Tripoli in 1805.

When Robert Peary led an expedition to the North Pole in 1909, he left an American flag sewn by his wife. Although the flag should never be used in a way to cause it to be ripped, soiled, or damaged, Robert Peary was honored for leaving cut-up pieces of another flag along the expedition of the North Pole.

An American flag, the symbol of the adventurous spirit of Americans, was left on the top of Mount Everest in 1963.

The American flag was even flown in space in July 1969, when astronaut Neil Armstrong left the flag on the moon. Additional flags have been left on the moon in each of the six manned Apollo landings.

The history of the American flag is patriotic, historic, and symbolic. According to the website US History (http://www.ushistory.org/betsy/flagtriv.html), keeping the spirit of our flag’s history alive is a vexillologist, who is an expert in the history of flags.

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