Why Are Colors Of The American Flag Red, White and Blue?

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?

Colors Of The American Flag

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.

You might also like The Meaning of the Color of Memorial Day:

Memorial Day Gravestone from Arlington National Cemetary


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  2. phyllis baird says:

    I believe that red: is for the blood that was once shed.
    White: is for innocence and purity
    Blue: Is for bravery.

    • Those color/meaning connections don’t match the historic records about the color choices but I do like the thoughts both you and B. Lynn have about the associations with the color meanings. Thanks for adding to the conversation.

    • I agree with you. Every military member wears the flag on that uniform with the blue part of the flag facing in the direction they walk. You have to enter every situation with bravery and when that flag is folded up and given to a fallen soldiers family, it’s the blue side up.

      • Michael Gerard Hogge says:

        The only reason the blue Union field is forward or to the right on USA flag shoulder patches on military uniforms is to signify that US troops never retreat, that they always advance forward. This is from a very good friend of mine, a retired Sergeant, First Class, US Army who served in Afghanistan & Iraq and he ought to know.

    • tony addison says:

      red is for the blood that was shed, white is for the land that was crossed, and blue is for the oceans that were crossed to get back home for the freedom we have and love

Add Your Own Color Commentary