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We the people love and honor the Stars and Stripes but have not learned its entire truth

A artwork by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris (circa 1920) of Betsy Ross and George Washington (far left)

Americans love our banner. We show it at concerts and stadiums to commemorate, as well as times during the nationwide tragedy to exhibit our resolve.

We now have our schoolchildren pledge allegiance to it; we now have consecrated it within our anthem that is national have a vacation, Flag Day, to honor it every June 14, as well as own it on prominent display when it comes to Fourth of July.

Yet the iconography and reputation for the flag that is american specially its very very early history, are infused with misconception and misrepresentation. Listed here are five of the very myths that are prevalent.

Myth # 1: Betsy Ross made the very first US banner.

The Betsy Ross tale is one of piece that is tenacious of relating to the banner. There just is not any legitimate historical proof — letters, diaries, magazine records, bills of purchase — that Ross (then referred to as Elizabeth Claypoole) either made or had a turn in creating the US banner before it made its first in 1777.

The tale cropped up in 1870, very nearly a century following the flag that is first supposedly sewn, whenever William Canby, pay for essay Ross’ grandson, told the Historical Society of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia that their grandmother made the banner at George Washington’s behest. Canby’s evidence that is sole affidavits from nearest and dearest. The iconic 1893 artwork of Ross sitting in her Philadelphia parlor utilizing the sunlight beaming straight down in the banner inside her lap is just a scene conceived by Charles H. Weisgerber, the musician and business owner whom profited through the Betsy Ross legend.

While Ross did make flags in Philadelphia into the belated 1770s, it’s all but sure that the tale about her producing the flag that is american a misconception.

As President Woodrow Wilson, whom presided throughout the very first formal nationwide Flag Day on June 14, 1916, is thought to have replied when expected their thoughts in the tale: «Would so it had been real.»

Library of Congress

Much symbolism is caused by them, however the colors of this US banner have never ever had almost any formal imprimatur.

Myth number 2. The red, white and blue colors signify American sacrifice.

No law that is federal resolution or professional order exists supplying the official cause for the flag’s colors — or their meaning. The closest thing to a conclusion would be the terms of Charles Thomson, the assistant for the Continental Congress, who was simply instrumental within the design for the Great Seal associated with the united states of america.

Thomson’s report to Congress on 20, 1782, the day the seal was approved, contained a description of the colors, the same as those in the flag: «White signifies purity and innocence june. Red and Blue . Signifies vigilance, justice and perseverance.»

Various documents that are official proclamations — including one by President Ronald Reagan marking 1986 since the «12 months regarding the Flag» — have actually echoed that thinking.

However the colors would not have, nor have actually they ever endured, any imprimatur that is official. Historians genuinely believe that the employment of red, white and blue into the Stars and Stripes is because of the inescapable fact that they certainly were the colors associated with first banner associated with United states colonies, the Continental Colors. And there’s doubt that is little the red, white and blue of this Continental Colors arrived from: the Union Jack of this great britain.

People in the Electoral university recite the Pledge of Allegiance.

Myth # 3: The Pledge of Allegiance is certainly recited in Congress as well as other government systems.

The pledge ended up being published by mag editor Francis Bellamy in 1892 for a nationwide public college party associated with 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’s landing. In 1898, throughout the Spanish-American War, ny became the very first state to mandate that public college students recite the Pledge of Allegiance at the start of each college time. Numerous states used suit, plus the pledge stayed a staple associated with the day to day routine in lots of schools until 1988, whenever it became a concern within the campaign that is presidential.

Vice President George H.W. Bush criticized their opponent, Democrat Michael Dukakis, for vetoing a bill as governor of Massachusetts that could have needed the pledge become recited in public places schools. Dukakis stated he did so after being encouraged that the legislation ended up being unconstitutional.

During the height of this campaign, on Sept. 13, 1988, the pledge ended up being recited on to the floor associated with the House of Representatives when it comes to very first time. Republican people in the homely house, who have been into the minority, offered an answer compared to that impact, and it also had been accepted by Speaker Jim Wright, a Democrat. Wright ruled that after that, the pledge will be recited in the beginning of company each that the House was in session day.

The Senate failed to start recital that is daily of pledge until June 24, 1999. Ever since then, the pledge is becoming area of the opening rituals of almost all state and regional bodies that are governmental.

In line with the Supreme Court, legislation banning banner burning violate free message.

Myth number 4: it really is unlawful to burn the US flag.

It had been unlawful until 1989, as soon as the Supreme Court ruled 5 to 4 in Texas v. Johnson that burning the banner is a kind of symbolic speech protected by the very first Amendment.

The actual situation included Gregory Lee Johnson, a known user associated with the Revolutionary Communist Youth Brigade, that has burned the banner within a protest in the 1984 Republican National Convention. He had been convicted of breaking Texas’s flag-desecration legislation, fined $2,000 and sentenced to an in jail year. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals overturned the conviction, governing that Johnson was working out their First Amendment directly to freedom of speech.

The Supreme Court’s choice invalidated a 1968 flag-desecration that is national, in addition to comparable rules in 48 states (all except Wyoming and Alaska). In reaction, Congress passed the Flag Protection Act, but that legislation has also been challenged and ended up in the Supreme Court. The court in 1990 basically affirmed its previous ruling, saying that any legislation banning flag burning violated speech that is free.

Those decisions generated a movement that is national amend the Constitution to help make banner desecration unlawful. The leading sound in that work is the people Flag Alliance, that has been launched in 1994 because of the American Legion. Proposed amendments have actually show up frequently in the home and Senate since that time but have actually yet to get support that is sufficient.

This patriotic shirt positively violates Flag Code directions.

Myth number 5: It is okay to put on a Stars-and-Stripes T-shirt.

The U.S. Flag Code frowns from the use of the banner «to promote purposes.» It continues on to alert contrary to the purchase or display of any «article of product . Upby which shall were printed, painted, connected, or perhaps put a representation of» the banner to «advertise, phone awareness of, decorate, mark, or distinguish the substance or article on which so placed.»

Put differently, once you wear a banner T-shirt or cap while reclining for a flag that is american towel near your US banner camping seat, you’re breaking the Flag Code. The rule, that was used during the very first nationwide Flag Conference in Washington in 1923, is component associated with the legislation associated with land. However it is maybe perhaps maybe not enforced, neither is it enforceable. It really is just a collection of tips, permitting Us americans know very well what to accomplish — and just just what never to do — with our red, white and blue emblem that is national.

There’s absolutely no Flag Police. You simply will not be arrested for putting on a flag-embossed t-shirt on Independence Day — or some other time of the season.