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History of the U.S. Flag: June 14, 1777

Baltimore, MD

In January 1776, George Washington introduced the red-and-white striped flag. The Continental Congress set the standard for the U.S. flag as a field of 13 stripes, alternate red and white, with a blue upper-left corner displaying 13 stars in white, “representing a new constellation.” An 1818 statute permanently fixed the number of stripes at 13. Betsy Ross is often credited as sewing the first flag, but there’s no evidence that’s true. An early version of the flag may have been at the Battle of the Brandywine on Sept. 11, 1777, but the most famous use of the flag in battle was in the War of 1812, when Francis Scott Key immortalized the garrison flag flown at Baltimore’s Fort McHenry as “the Star-Spangled Banner.”


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