The original Stars and Stripes
The making of the original Stars and Stripes, the flag of the United States, is often credited to Betsy Ross (1/1/1752-1/30/1836).
It is told by the Betsy Ross House that upon visiting her upholstery store in Philadelphia in 1777, George Washington, accompanied by Robert Morris and George Ross (the delegate, not related to her), handed her a sketch of a flag with 13 stars and 13 stripes which she proceeded to make.
She would make many of these flags, becoming know as the flag maker of the American Revolutionary War (1775-1783). Betsy Ross was patriotic, siding with the Fighting Quakers and running a munitions depot from her basement.
Many revolutionary flags featured the 13 stripes before 1777. It is not quite clear who actually designed the first Stars and Stripes, although some credit it to Francis Hopkinson, but it was “Betsy’s flag” that was adopted by Congress as the national flag on June, 14 1777. The flag was also the inspiration for The Star Spangled Banner, penned by Frances Scott Key in 1814.
The Stars and Stripes
The idea for using 50 stars on the flag came from Robert G Heft (b. 1941).
In 1958, 17-year-old Bob Heft proposed a 50-star American flag as his class project. The Stars and Stripes then had only 48 stars. The teacher, Stanley Pratt, turned down the idea but Heft went ahead, receiving a B minus. Pratt promised to deliver a better grade if he could get the US Congress to accept his design.
In 1959, Alaska and Hawaii were incorporated into the Union. The 50-star flag became official on July, 4 1960.
Since then, Heft he’s been in all 50 state, and made hundreds of speeches across the world. He has been the guest of nine US presidents at the White House. Heft (pictured) also copyrighted the design for the Stars and Stripes featuring 51- up to 60 stars. “Just in case,” he says.
The only place where the Stars and Stripes never comes down and never flies half-mast is the moon.
Also see: List of national flags