Social Studies 5: The Stars and Stripes: Making the American Flag
You know that big cloth with all the stars and stripes? News flash: It didn't just poof into existence when the United States did. Someone made it. We're not quite sure who that someone is, but we know someone did it. Flags aren't self-replicating. Or self-aware. We checked.
|5th Grade||Social Studies|
|Elementary and Middle School||5th Grade|
We're not quite sure if that counts as patriotism.
The flag is a symbol of unity, strength and sacrifice.
It even has its own special day, thanks to President Harry Truman.
He chose June 14th as Flag Day because it was on that date in 1777 that Congress passed [June 14th circled on calendar]
a resolution declaring what the official flag of the United States would be:
“Resolved: that the flag of the United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white;
that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation.”
But in writing this resolution, Congress wasn’t indulging its artistic side.
They were just describing the American flag as it already existed. [Adams and Franklin stood with American flag]
So who did design the American flag?
Why red, white, and blue?
And why stars and stripes instead of, oh, hashtags and swirls?
Drum roll please….it turns out….
…no one really knows the flag’s origin story.
…Huh. [Tomato thrown on stage]
That was kind of a let-down.
Some say that it was designed by this man: New Jersey congressman – and harpsichord
enthusiast – Francis Hopkinson.
It's also thought that the first flag was sewn by Betsy Ross. [Betsy Ross sewing American flag]
But even if we don't know much about the origin story of the flag, much more is known about
the folklore surrounding the flag.
For instance, you may have heard the flag referred to as “Old Glory.”
That’s a nickname sea Captain William Driver gave to the huge flag that flew above his boat.
Dude was so patriotic he nicknamed his flag. [William Driver on a boat]
Not only that, the nickname soon caught on…
… and eventually “Old Glory” came to refer to any
American flag, regardless of age or size.
The American flag has even inspired songs. [American flag approaches radio and dances]
During the War of 1812, in the year of…1814…
…huh, could've named that better…
…lawyer and poet Francis Scott Key woke up one morning to discover that despite a
terrible bombardment by the British all through the night… [Francis yawns as building is on fire]
… the Fort still belonged to the Americans.
How could he tell?
Old Glory was still flying proudly above it.
That inspired Key to write the poem Defense of Fort McHenry.
The first verse of which was eventually set to music as the song, The Star-Spangled Banner.
And in 1931 Congress resolved to make The Star-Spangled Banner America’s national
… thereby paving the way for celebrities ruining the song for all of us before major [Dino and Coop singing song]
And the cool thing about the flag is it's not set in stone!
The flag has changed over the years to represent our changing nation, getting a new star for
each new state.
Who knows what it might look like in the future…maybe one day, we'll be adding Mars among those stars… [American flag transforms and adds Mars to flag]