What do the colors of the American flag mean?

What exactly do the colors of the American mean? Here are all the reasons behind using Red, White, and Blue.

The American Flag is symbolic in many ways. The alternating red and whites stripes represent the 13 British colonies that settled in America, while the stars represent each individual state. But what about the colors – why is the American Flag red, white and blue?

Various historians have their thoughts on what the colors of the American Flag stand for. Some would argue that the colors on the American Flag represent philosophical values, with red representing blood, war and courage, blue standing for justice and freedom, and white representing purity.

However, others speculate even further that George Washington had his own interpretation of Old Glory and her colors: stars were taken from the sky, the red was inspired by the British colors, and the white stripes indicate secession from the home country.

However, in regards to the Great Seal of the United States, as the book “Our Flag” published in 1989 by the House of Representatives states, “The colors of the pales (the vertical stripes) are those used in the flag of the United States of America; White signifies purity and innocence, Red, hardiness & valour, and Blue, the color of the Chief (the broad band above the stripes) signifies vigilance, perseverance & justice.” The colors originally were meant for the Seal, but have since evolved to include meaning for the flag as well.

While there are several speculations about the meaning behind the colors of the American Flag, the Continental Congress left behind no record as to why red, white and blue were chosen as the colors. The three colors are included in the Great Seal of the United States represented the ideals and beliefs of our Founding Fathers, and perhaps are an indication of their use in the American Flag.

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43 Replies to “What do the colors of the American flag mean?

  1. There are some interesting points in time in this article but I don’t know if I see all of them center to heart. There is some validity but I will take hold opinion until I look into it further. Good article , thanks and we want more! Added blog.cvsflags.com to FeedBurner as well

  2. That’s interesting. I had always thought that, besides the obvious stars, red stood for the blood shed in the American Revolution, white stood for courage and bravery, and that blue stood for freedom.

    But hey, the more you know.

    1. This what we was told in the military and what I had to give when I answered for my promotion boards. So that is what I go by until someone can prove to me otherwise. This is what the we learned in Basic training and all throughout my Military career.

  3. I learned allot from this site, My father, Hugh J. Tucker, a Vietnam Vet.passed March 3,2013 … During his funeral, while the flag was being folded, the Pastor read us the meanings of the colors of the flag. However I was way 2 upset to pay attention. Well, I now no more then ever before.. Just Sorry It took my dads funeral for me to know this, Even for a Very Patriotic person like me… RIP dad….101 screaming eagles airborne..

  4. Maybe they just had so many British flags lying around from when they were under British rule, that they just decided to use these flags as material for their new flag. As you know war can be extremely costly and they might not have had any more money to purchase more fine cloths and silks.

    1. if YOU just fought against THAT flag, would YOU use it “cuz it’s just laying around” to make a flag that represented what you just fought and people gave their lives for? NO, you’d be deliberate about it’s colors and design and what they stand for.

  5. I am a US Army JROTC Instructor. We teach our Cadets the meaning of the Colors of the Flag and the proper way to display, fold and care for the American Flag. This site states everything that I have ever been taught about the meaning of the Colors of our Flag. Most young people have no idea what the Flag represents. We are trying to help change that.

  6. Can you tell me about a flag I Was Shown. It has 48 Gold Stars on a blue Background with the Red and White Stripes and a White border.

  7. Seems the direction of strips on the flags have meaning also. most civil flags have vertical strips ( for the living people or those that stand ) while horizontal strips ( or laying down like dead or lying in state such as corporation dead entity’s ) are on military /gov flags The peace flag of america or civil flag that flew over the customs building (google it )had the vertical strips and was an american flag

  8. I had to do a fake citizenship test for school next year and this really helped. we had to do a packet and this helped with it a lot! thank you 🙂

  9. The white is for the freedom and liberty that we have.The red is for the blood shed by every man or woman that has ever worned a military uniform.The blue is for the heaven,reversance of GOD,that this nation will and always be one nation under GOD

  10. I remember my 6th Grade teacher specifically stating:
    The red is for the blood shed for this country’s freedom and white stands for the men who shed it

    I vividly remember her saying that because I went to school in a predominantly black neighborhood in the 1960’s and I thought that was a very sad thing to even acknowledge

  11. I learns alot from this site … and I do appreciate from all that they are working hard in this site .
    And thanks again God blessing you
    Abdullah Jalal

  12. So many things in america are secret like the seven liberal arts represented in the statue of liberty seven spiked crown.To be honest they do not even know who made the first real american flag.Brad Meltzer would probably know.Mark Twain — ‘What gets us into trouble is not what we don’t know. It’s what we know for sure that just ain’t so.’

  13. Big thumbs for making amazing blog. This is the best site. Actually this was an awesome blog post. You have a very inspiring way of exploring and sharing your thoughts. I enjoyed reading your stuff. Thank you !!

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