American Flag Unit Study

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Learning about the American Flag is an important part of American history. This American Flag Unit Study will teach your kids about the flag its self, the history of it, laws regarding it and much, much more!

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The History of the American Flag

Who created the design of the American Flag?

The Continental Congress decided that the American Flag would have 13 stripes, alternating red and white, and that there would be a blue field with thirteen stars, representing the union.

Who made the first American Flag?

There is a debate that Betsy Ross made the first American Flag, but there is not any real evidence to prove it. So, the actual maker of the first American Flag remains unknown.

When was the first American Flag adopted?

The American Flag was first adopted by the Continental Congress on June 14, 1777. That is why we celebrate Flag Day on June 14th of each calendar year.

What do the stripes on the American Flag stand for?

The red stripes represent courage and the white stripes speak of the purity of our high ideals as Americans.

What do the stars on the American Flag stand for?

There are 50 stars on the American Flag today, representing each of the 50 states in the United States.

What does the blue background behind the starts of the American Flag stand for?

The blue field behind the stars symbolizes the strength and unity of the United States of America.

How many versions of the American Flag have been designed?

To date there have been 27 versions of the American Flag. The changes made to each version were for the addition of stars which represent how many states had become part of the U.S.A.

What is the significance of folding an American Flag into a triangular shape?

The American Flag is folded into a triangular shape to symbolize the cocked hats worn by soldiers of the American Revolution.

Where is the American Flag that inspired Francis Scott Key to write “The Star Spangled Banner”?

Francis Scott Key was inspired by an American Flag that flew over Fort McHenry, but it is now in the Smithsonian Institute. At the time of the writing of the National Anthem, there were 15 stars on the flag.

What other names is our American Flag known by?

The American Flag is known by a few other names including; “National Ensign”, “National Standard”, “Old Glory” and “National Color”.

How to Display the American Flag

What is the law regarding the displaying of the American Flag?

The American Flag is always to be displayed above any other flag on display within the United States, territory or possession within the U.S.A.

Can you display the American Flag at night?

Yes, you can display the American Flag at night provided it is lit properly and illuminated throughout the night.

Is the American Flag to be flown during inclement weather?

The American Flag should not be flown during inclement weather, unless it is an all weather flag on display.

Aboard a U.S. Naval Vessel, when is the “National Ensign” flown?

The “National Ensign” is flown when; (a) getting underway or anchoring, (b) falling in with other ships, (c) cruising near land and (d) when engaged in battle.

How should the American Flag be raised and lowered?

When hoisting the American Flag it should be done in a rapid manner, but when lowering in a slow, ceremonial manner.

When an American Flag is displayed during public speaking where should it be staffed?

During public speaking the American Flag is to be staffed to the right of the speaker in a position of superior prominence.

How should the American Flag be hung on a wall?

When the American Flag is hung flat against a wall the blue field should be to the observer’s left side as he faces the flag whether hung horizontally or vertically.

Where should an American Flag be displayed in a school classroom?

When an American Flag is displayed in a schoolroom it should be hung flat against the wall behind and above the teacher’s area. If it is staffed and at floor level, the flag should be displayed to the students’ left as they face the front of the schoolroom.

How to Carry an American Flag

What is the proper way to carry a staffed American Flag?

To carry a staffed American Flag you should hold the staff with either one or both hands in front of the center of your body. The bottom of the staff should rest against your body while the staff slopes upward and forward about 30 degrees from your body.

Should any portion of a staffed American Flag be held by a flag bearer?

The only time a flag bearer should hold any portion of the American Flag should be when entering a doorway where the staff needs to be lowered.

How to Salute the American Flag

What are the proper ways to salute the American Flag during the Pledge of Allegiance?

Military members in uniform are to render the military salute. Civilians will place their right hand over their hearts, if a man is wearing a hat he is to remove it and hold it at  his left shoulder.

When singing the National Anthem how do you salute the American Flag?

During the signing of the National Anthem everyone should stand and face the flag. Military members will render the military salute while civilians will place their right hand over their hearts.

When an America Flag passes by in a parade how should it be acknowledged?

Everyone should stand and salute the American Flag in the same manner when reciting the Pledge of Allegiance or during the singing of the National Anthem.

How do uniformed policemen and firemen salute the American Flag?

They give the military salute. Policemen carrying batons render the baton salute.

What is the proper way to give the Pledge of Allegiance?

When saying the Pledge of Allegiance you should always do so standing with your right hand over your heart.

How to Properly Display the American Flag Half-Staff

Is it proper to say the American Flag is at half-staff or half-mast?

When you’re on land the correct term is half-staff, while if you’re on board a ship it is half-mast.

How do you correctly half-staff the American Flag?

When displaying the American Flag at half-staff it should first be hoisted to the top of the flag pole for a moment and then lowered to the half-staff position. Before lowering it for the day, you again should raise the American Flag to the top of the flag pole for an instant prior to taking it down for the day.

When displaying the American Flag at half-staff what is the correct position?

The correct half-staff position for the American Flag is dependent on the size of the flag and the height of the pole.

Who can order an American Flag to be half-staffed?

The President of the United States or the Governor of a State can order the American Flag to be flown at half-staff.

What days is the American Flag half-staffed without a Presidential Proclamation?

The American Flag is half-staffed without a Presidential Proclamation each year on; Peace Officers Memorial Day, Memorial Day, Patriots Day, National Firefighters Memorial Day and Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.

How to Display the American Flag in Mourning

Can anyone decorate graves with American Flags on Memorial Day?

Yes, anyone can decorate graves with American Flags on Memorial Day.

How long should American Flags remain on graves?

American Flags should not be left indefinitely. They should be removed and discarded before the flag begins to fade or tear, showing it the same respect as an American Flag on display on a flag pole.

How do you properly display the American Flag on a casket of a military serviceman?

When an American Flag is on display on a military member’s casket the blue field is to the observer’s right instead of left to indicate mourning.

Can you display the American Flag on the casket of a civilian or spouse of a military serviceman?

No, the American Flag is only permitted to be on display on the casket of a military member.

When to Clean or Discard the American Flag

Can you repair, wash or dry clean an American Flag?

You can repair, wash or dry clean an American Flag provided it can be hung to dry in a careful and respectful way.

How do you discard an American Flag no longer fit for display?

You should discard an American Flag in a dignified manner, preferably by burning in private. Check with your local VFW as they often will take your old flags and discard them for you.

How to Properly Fold an American Flag

The folding of an American Flag requires 2 people facing each other holding the flag waist high, horizontally between them.

Start by folding the lower striped section lengthwise, over the blue field.

Fold the bottom to the top ensuring you’re holding the edges securely.

Then fold the flag lengthwise again, folded edge to open edge.

You’ll begin a triangular fold along the length of the flag, from the striped end towards the blue field, by bringing the striped corner of the folded edge to meet the open edge.

Next, turn the outer point inward, parallel with the open edge, forming the second triangle.

Continue forming triangular folds in this manner until the entire length of the flag is folded.

The triangular blue field should only be visible when the flag is completely folded.

History of the American Flag Videos

The American Flag is an important part of American history. It is essential that we do not forget to be respectful of the American Flag and its history, because it is our history.

What did you learn about the American Flag that you didn’t know?

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