In 1777 it was declared that the United States needed an official flag. The flag would be made of 13 horizontal stripes to represent the colonies, seven red alternating with six white. There were also to be 13 stars—white in a blue field. The color red was chosen for hardiness and valor. White stood for purity and innocence. Blue represented vigilance, perseverance and justice.
Seamstress for the Nation
The story of Betsy Ross sewing the first American flag has been colorfully woven into the tapestry of our country’s rich and enduring history. According to written accounts from her grandson, George Washington employed Betsy to make shirts long before he took command of the Continental Army. Having become a fan of her skills with a needle, Washington presented Betsy with rough sketches and commissioned her to sew the flag that would come to represent our country’s freedom. Though some dispute assertions that Betsy personally sewed the flag, her role in shaping our Nation is definitely legendary.
Flag Fact: Captain William Driver, a shipmaster from Salem, Massachusetts, coined the phrase Old Glory in 1831.
Our Nation’s Signature
The American flag is one of the most recognizable symbols in the United States, perhaps even the world and beyond. Astronaut Neil Armstrong planted the flag on the moon. Brave climbers have raised it high atop Mount Everest. Look around, the Stars and Stripes can be seen waving from the porches of rural America, unfurling on the flagpoles of major cities and saluting your vacation in destinations with plenty of historical charm.
Flag Guidelines: No part of the American flag should ever touch the ground.
Virginia is for Presidents
Speaking of history, Virginia is at the top of its class. The area surrounding the Shenandoah Valley is often called the “Cradle of Democracy” because three of the first U.S. presidents once lived within three miles of each other. George Washington’s boyhood home at Ferry Farm is just over an hour away and a short drive will take you to Monticello, the famous home of Thomas Jefferson. Monticello has been listed as one of the “Top 10 Iconic American Homes” and one of “Eight Places Every American Should See.” Montpelier, James Madison’s home and James Monroe’s Ash Lawn are also on the must see list. Take a historic tour of America to any of these estates and you’ll understand why so many people elect to tour the homes of our Founding Fathers.
If you like your history to jump from the pages with genuine authenticity, then be sure to plan a trip to historic Williamsburg and step back in time to the 18th century. You’ll be exploring the Largest Living History Museum—a place where butter is still churned by hand and the sounds of the revolution can be heard with genuine authenticity. More than 300 acres of reconstructed and restored landmarks seem to remain unchanged from the days when revolutionary events were taking place. Join a political debate or give way as the militia marches through town. If you really want to enjoy best experience possible, plan to spend two or three days studying Williamsburg.