Meaning of The Colors & Symbols of the American Flag

Meaning of The Colors & Symbols of the American Flag

Our American flag is a symbol of our nation and our American identity. When the flag was first adopted in 1777 it was steeped in symbolism, but the colors themselves meant little. The red, white and blue we recognize so proudly today were far superseded by the meaning of the original 13 stars and stripes. 

The Meaning of the Red, White & Blue

No federal law or rule offers an official reason for the flag's colors. We do have, however, the words of Charles Thomson the secretary of the Continental Congress, who was a key player in the design of the Great Seal of the United States. Of the red, white and blue colors on the Great Seal he said "White signifies purity and innocence, Red, hardiness & valor, and Blue, the color of the Chief signifies vigilance, perseverance & justice."

Purity, valor and vigilance.

Originally, the 13 stars and stripes represented both the original colonies and the first 13 states.

The 13 Original Colonies

  • New Hampshire
  • New York
  • Pennsylvania
  • Massachusetts
  • Rhode Island
  • Connecticut
  • New Jersey
  • Delaware
  • Maryland
  • Virginia
  • North Carolina
  • South Carolina
  • Georgia

The number of white stars has continued to grow with our nation, one for each state, now totaling 50. The original 13 colonies are still represented today by the alternating red and white stripes.

The Personal Meaning of Your Flag

Whether it's displayed in your yard, at a school, in your office or on the moon our flag has a unique meaning to each of us as individuals. At Flags of Valor, we understand the flag has a deep personal meaning to families of service members, police officers and first responders in particular. 

The Red, White and Blue has a special meaning to our staff too! Our staff at Flags of Valor is mostly veterans. We craft wooden flags by hand, with close attention to detail and deep reverence for fellow servicemen and women. Come see our handmade American flagstoday!

 Flags of Valor POW American Flag

Related Resources & Reading

World Atlas: Original Thirteen Colonies, United States

AARP 5 Myths About the American Flag