Thursday, June 14, 2012

Flag Day 2012 - the original red, white and blue

The Franklin & Adams Flag Flag of the United States - October 9, 1778

The genesis of the American flag is something of a great mystery. Things were happening and all kinds of 'rebel' flags went a flying. It's interesting to note Benjamin Franklin and John Adams' description of the US flag to a foreign dignitary.

The letter describes the "flag of the United States of America" and is dated to October 9, 1778.

(Dear King of the Two Sicilies)

"it is with pleasure that we acquaint Your Excellency that the flag of the United States of America consists of 13 stripes, alternately red, white, and blue; a small square in the upper angle, next to the flag staff, is a blue field, with 13 white stars, denoting a new Constellation. Some of the States have vessels of war distinct from those of the United States...but the Flag of the United States, ordained by Congress, is the 13 stripes and 13 stars above described."
"B. Franklin"

"John Adams"

So there you have it, the man now on the 100 dollar bill - describing the US flag with blue stripes - more than a year after the red and white only striped, congressional resolution of June 14, 1777.

The holiday we celebrate today is dedicated to the original patriots in the memory of a red and white only striped flag. But the truth is - many men in the army, marines, navy and other patriots most likely served, fought, and died under a red, white, and blue striped national banner.

Perhaps October 9th will become the blue striped flag day? Where we fly any recorded US flags that had blue stripes?

Note that congress may have made red and white official, but maintaining a coherent consistent flag pattern was at the bottom of the list of critical 'things to do.'

Benjamin Franklin and John Adams were professional and astute minds who would not have made an intentional mistake or over look important details. Also note there are lots of other recordings, descriptions and paintings of US flags with blue stripes:

1. Fort Stanwyk, August 1777
2. Fort
Mifflin, October 1777
Captured HMS Serapis October 5, 17794. Arthur Lee letter on September 20, 1778
Surrender at Yorktown 1781 by John Trumbull (painted 1787)

any many more...

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