Nugget of Knowledge: The American flag

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Len Rome's Daily Feature of Little Known Facts

(WYTV) – Why celebrate June 14th as Flag Day?

Congress finally settled on a design with 13 stars and 13 stripes. The Revolutionary War was only a year old: June 14, 1777

Did Betsy Ross really design it?

There is no actual evidence she did.

The first person to claim credit for designing it was Francis Hopkinson of New Jersey. The whole Betsy Ross story didn’t emerge until 30 years after her death in the 1840’s.

In the beginning, we were adding a star and a stripe for every new state.

The flag that flew over Fort McHenry in Baltimore during the War of 1812 had 15 stars and 15 stripes.

Then, Congress realized we might end up with too many strips some day, so it went back to 13 strips and no more.

That Fort McHenry flag is one of the few original 15-star, 15 strip flags left in the country.

It’s on permanent display at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.

There have been 27 official versions of the U.S. flag, each with a different number of stars.

We’ve never had a 39-star flag, nor a 40 nor 41 nor 42.

The 50-star flag we have today is the first American flag to have lasted 50 years.

In one stretch of 50 years in the 19th century, our flag had 17 different versions.

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