Every Memorial Day and July 4th millions of Americans get into the celebratory spirit, decking our homes and even ourselves in red, white, and blue. But why are the colors of the American flag red, white and blue rather than green, yellow and blue?
When the Continental Congress adopted the American flag in 1777, to celebrate our country’s independence and unity, the specific meaning behind the choice of red, white and blue wasn’t revealed. It was only when, five years later in June 1782 when the seal for the USA was introduced that the significance of the colors on its flag was discussed.
Introducing the seal, Charles Thompson, who was Secretary of the Continental Congress at the time, told his assembled audience:
White signifies purity and innocence, Red, bravery & valour, and Blue, the color of the Chief, and the placement of the broad band signifies, vigilance, perseverance & justice.
The stripes on the flag were to represent the 13 states and thirteen white stars in a blue field representing a new constellation symbolized their union.
Our founding fathers recognized the ability of color to communicate meaning, but whether Americans today know the specific significance of the flag colors is not as important as the power of these colors to evoke our patriotic spirit and unify us as a country.
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