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American Flag History

American Flag History



The American Flag is the ultimate patriotic symbol and has represented the United States proudly since 1777. While the integrity of the flag remains unchanged, the design has been altered 27 times since its inception. 

America also has numerous flags that originate from historically significant battles and events. A unique history is sewn into each of the different US flag variations, from the Fort Moultrie flag and its use in the revolutionary war to the Molon Labe flag.

Old Glory’s History

The Star-Spangled Banner, the Stars and Stripes, and Old Glory refer to our nation's foremost symbol. The American Flag’s many names were coined during the battles for independence, the Civil War, and other influential historical periods in our nation’s history.

The original "Old Glory" flag on display at the Smithsonian

The original "Old Glory" flag 

The name Old Glory came from William Driver, a sea captain during the Civil War. A large 10’ x 17’ flag survived many attempts to deface and ruin it, which created the patriotic significance of the name. The actual Old Glory flag still exists today at the National Museum of American History.

The Stars and Stripes

The Stars and Stripes refer to the symbolic and artistic elements of the flag. The stars represent each of the 50 states of the Union; a new star was added every time a new state joined the Union. The stripes represent the 13 original colonies that fought for independence in the late 1700s.

First Official Flag of the United States

Early American flag with 15 stars

The colors of the flag symbolize the values of America. Blue indicates justice, perseverance, and vigilance. The red stripes represent hardiness and valor, and the white stripes symbolize innocence and purity.

The symbolism that characterizes the American Flag is seen in elements of other flags from our nation's history.

The Bennington Flag

The Bennington Flag is immediately recognizable as an American flag, but distinct features tie it back to the American Revolution and the Battle of Bennington. 

Bennington Flag

It prominently displays the number 76 in the canton along with the 13 colony stars. The 76 refers to the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776. The number 76 has symbolized American independence and freedom ever since.

The Bennington Flag also differs from the American Flag in its stripes, with the white stripes starting and finishing the order rather than red. The 13 stars also have 7 points rather than the customary 5 that our current flag has. The flag’s canton is 7 stripes long rather than the customary 5 stripes long. These variations make the Bennington flag subtly unique.

The Moultrie Flag

Another revolutionary wartime flag is the Fort Moultrie Flag. Its dark blue hue, crescent, and inscription of the word “Liberty” make it a classic American flag. It was created for battles with British forces and was initially flown in the successful defense of Sullivan’s Island near the Carolinas. 

Fort Moultrie Flag

For Moultrie flag with "liberty" inside the crescent moon

It was reported that British forces shot it down, only to be hoisted back up during battle to encourage the revolutionary soldiers.

South Carolina’s state flag honors its connection with the Carolinas, which borrows the dark blue color and crescent while adding a palmetto tree. The Moultrie flag has been further commemorated with stamps and the South Carolina version of the America the Beautiful Quarters

The Battle of Gonzales and Molon Labe

The Battle of Gonzales occurred in the years leading up to the Texas Revolution in the early 1800s. Citizens and colonists in Gonzales, Texas, fought back Mexican forces that came to seize the town's weapons. From this battle came momentum for the Texas Revolution and the Gonzales flag.

Gonzales Flag

The Gonzales Flag

The Gonzales Flag shows the cannon that the townspeople fought to keep and the words “Come and Take It.” Originally expressed as Molon Labe, this statement of defiance has been popular since ancient Greek times when Spartan King Leonidas uttered it to Persian King Xerxes at the Battle of Thermopylae. The Gonzales Flag and its use of Molon Labe have inspired many patriotic and defiant designs since.

The Molon Labe Flag

From its historical origins in ancient Greece and its use on the Gonzales flag, the term Molon Labe has been cemented in American culture. The Come and Take It flag, born of the Battle of Gonzales, is not the only flag featuring Molon Labe.

Molon Labe Flag

Popular variation of the Molon Labe flag

The Molon Labe Flag commonly features a spartan helmet with the words Molon Labe. History buffs and patriots alike recognize the Greek term. 2nd amendment enthusiasts now wear it throughout the country.

The Navy Jack Flag

The Navy Jack flag has gone through many variations in its historical development. The exact date of the first naval jack flag is not known. During the Revolutionary War, it is likely that American Ships were flying the first Navy Jack Flags. 

The initial design included an uncoiled rattlesnake on top of 13 alternating red and white stripes and the phrase “Don’t Tread on Me” at the bottom of the flag.

Navy Jack Flag

Original Navy Jack flag

This classic phrase was used again in 1975 when all United States ships were ordered to fly the original Navy Jack flag. In 1980 the design was changed to be a flag with 50 stars on a dark blue background. 

The original design is still used on occasion on the oldest ship in the United States Navy fleet. Currently, the USS Blueridge is the home of the Navy Jack Flag. The flag is also made into a patch for Navy Working Uniforms and Army Combat Uniforms. Its classic American symbolism is popular among those serving our country and civilians. 



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American Flags Remind Us What Matters Most

The symbolism in the colors of Old Glory, the snake in the Navy Jack Flag, and the symbolic defiance of the Come and Take it Flag display American values and historical events. The values that our nation’s historical flags put on display are worth defending. 

At We the People Holsters, we are committed to educating and equipping Americans with their freedoms and rights. If you want to display your American pride, we have merchandise, gun holsters and belts, and more for you and your loved ones. 

Explore our online catalog and call us today at (888) 998-6191 for more information about our products.