American Topics

American Flag

Historians believe that Congressman Francis Hopkinson designed our first flag. No one knows with certainty that he did or that Betsy Ross stitched the first one. The first flags were made in different proportions and varying arrangements of start at the discretion of the individual flag maker. It wasn’t until June 24, 1912 the proportion of the flag and arrangements of the stars were made uniform in nature.

Throughout the years, the flag has been changed by acts of Congress and Executive Order. Congress enacted principal changes in the flags history in 1777, which was the first flag act. This act states, “That the flag of the United States be made of thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars white in a blue field representing a new constellation. Later acts or Executive orders that made changes to the flag were made in 1794, 1818, 1912, and the latest in 1959. The last two executive orders introduced by President Eisenhower ordered the arrangement of stars in seven rows of seven stars staggered horizontally and vertically. In the same year, it was amended to nine rows of staggered horizontal stars and eleven rows staggered vertically.

An interesting story in the history of our flag is the story of how it became nicknamed Old Glory. Captain William Driver was a Salem, Massachusetts’s ship captain. History notes on one of his voyages he would rescue the mutineers of the Bounty. Friends presented Captain Driver with a beautiful new flag before one of his trips. It had 24 stars representing the 24 states in the union then. When the flag unfurled in the b breeze for the first time, Captain Driver said “Old Glory.”

In 1837, he retired to his home in Nashville Tennessee and took his beloved flag with him. Nearly everyone around Nashville recognized his “Old Glory” and when Tennessee seceded from the union, rebels were determined to destroy it. They were unable to find it anywhere in the city.

When the Union took Nashville back, the flag they raised over the capital was small. People asked Captain Driver if his “Old Glory” still existed. He took soldiers with him to his home and lovingly ripped at the seams of the quilt top covering his bed. As the quilt began to unravel, the 24 star original “Old Glory” was revealed.

Captain Driver, then 60 years old climbed to the tower of the capital and replaced the smaller flag with his beloved “Old Glory.” The 6th Ohio regiment adopted the nickname as their own. They told and retold the story of how Captain driver saved his “Old Glory” and later took it to the top of the capital building to fly over the newly liberated Nashville.

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