I found a very interesting article about the Flag of the United States. The article is below, but the link will take you to the Wikipedia site where you can see more detail and color. It is a facinating read.   Flag of the United States From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Jump to: navigation, search “American Flag” redirects here. For other uses, see American Flag (disambiguation).

United States of America


The Stars and Stripes; Red, White and Blue; Old Glory; The Star-Spangled Banner


National flag and ensign




June 14, 1777 (original 13-star version) July 4, 1960 (current 50-star version)


Thirteen horizontal stripes alternating red and white; in the canton, 50 white stars on a blue field
The national flag of the United States of America, often simply referred to as the American flag, consists of thirteen equal horizontal stripes of red (top and bottom) alternating with white, with a blue rectangle in the canton (referred to specifically as the “union”) bearing fifty small, white, five-pointed stars arranged in nine offset horizontal rows of six stars (top and bottom) alternating with rows of five stars. The 50 stars on the flag represent the 50 states of the United States of America and the 13 stripes represent the thirteen British colonies that declared independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain and became the first states in the Union.[1] Nicknames for the flag include the “Stars and Stripes”, “Old Glory“,[2] and “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
Symbolism     Astronaut Buzz Aldrin salutes the United States flag on the surface of the moon during the Apollo 11 mission. A similar flag was planted on each of the five subsequent successful Moon landing missions. The modern meaning of the flag was forged in December 1860 when Major Robert Anderson, acting without orders, moved the U.S. garrison from Fort Moultrie to Fort Sumter, in Charleston Harbor, in defiance of the power of the new Confederate States of America. Adam Goodheart argues this was the opening move of the Civil War, and the flag was used throughout the North to symbolize American nationalism and rejection of secessionism. Before that day, the flag had served mostly as a military ensign or a convenient marking of American territory, flown from forts, embassies, and ships, and displayed on special occasions like the Fourth of July. But in the weeks after Major Anderson’s surprising stand, it became something different. Suddenly the Stars and Stripes flew—as it does today, and especially as it did after the September 11 attacks in 2001—from houses, from storefronts, from churches; above the village greens and college quads. For the first time American flags were mass-produced rather than individually stitched and even so, manufacturers could not keep up with demand. As the long winter of 1861 turned into spring, that old flag meant something new. The abstraction of the Union cause was transfigured into a physical thing: strips of cloth that millions of people would fight for, and many thousands die for.[3]     “U.S. Flag” – on the planet Mars – on the Curiosity rover (September 19, 2012). The flag of the United States is one of the nation’s most widely recognized symbols. Within the United States, flags are frequently displayed not only on public buildings but on private residences. The flag is a common motif on decals for car windows, and clothing ornaments such as badges and lapel pins. Throughout the world the flag has been used in public discourse to refer to the United States, not only as a nation, state, government, and set of policies, but also as a set of ideals[citation needed]. The flag has become a powerful symbol of Americanism, and is proudly flown on many occasions, with giant outdoor flags used by retail outlets to draw customers. Desecration of the flag is considered a public outrage, but remains protected as freedom of speech. In worldwide comparison, Testi (2010) notes that the United States is not unique in adoring its banner, for in Scandinavian countries their flags are also “beloved, domesticated, commercialized and sacralized objects”.[4] Design Creation The man credited with designing the 50 star American flag is Robert G. Heft. He earned his place in history in 1958 while living with his grandparents in Ohio.[5] Specifications   The basic design of the current flag is specified by 4 U.S.C. § 1; 4 U.S.C. § 2 outlines the addition of new stars to represent new states. The specification gives the following values:
  • Hoist (width) of the flag: A = 1.0
  • Fly (length) of the flag: B = 1.9[6]
  • Hoist (width) of the canton (“union”): C = 0.5385 (A × 7/13, spanning seven stripes)
  • Fly (length) of the canton: D = 0.76 (B × 2/5, two-fifths of the flag length)
  • E = F = 0.0538 (C/10, One-tenth of the width of the canton)
  • G = H = 0.0633 (D/12, One twelfth of the length of the canton)
  • Diameter of star: K = 0.0616 (L × 4/5, four-fifths of the stripe width, the calculation only gives 0.0616 if L is first rounded to 0.077)
  • Width of stripe: L = 0.0769 (A/13, One thirteenth of the flag width)
These specifications are contained in an executive order which, strictly speaking, governs only flags made for or by the U.S. federal government.[7] In practice, most U.S. national flags available for sale to the public have a different length-to-width ratio; common sizes are 2 × 3 ft. or 4 × 6 ft. (flag ratio 1.5), 2.5 × 4 ft. or 5 × 8 ft. (1.6), or 3 × 5 ft. or 6 × 10 ft. (1.667). Even flags flown over the U.S. Capitol for sale to the public through Representatives or Senators are provided in these sizes.[8] Flags that are made to the prescribed 1.9 ratio are often referred to as “G-spec” (for “government specification”) flags. Colors The exact red, white, and blue colors to be used in the flag are specified with reference to the CAUS Standard Color Reference of America, 10th edition. Specifically, the colors are “White”, “Old Glory Red”, and “Old Glory Blue”.[9] The CIE coordinates for the colors of the 9th edition of the Standard Color Card were formally specified in JOSA in 1946.[10] These colors form the standard for cloth, and there is no perfect way to convert them to RGB for display on screen or CMYK for printing. The “relative” coordinates in the following table were found by scaling the luminous reflectance relative to the flag’s “white”.

Official Colors[11]









GRACoL 2006













8-bit hex









2.5Y 8.8/0.7












Old Glory Red




5.5R 3.3/11.1












Old Glory Blue




8.2PB 2.3/6.1












    A subdued-color flag patch, similar to style worn on the United States Army’s ACU uniform. The patch is normally worn reversed on the right upper sleeve. See explanation in “Display on uniforms” section below. As with the design, the official colors are only officially required for flags produced for the U.S. federal government, and other colors are often used for mass-market flags, printed reproductions, and other products intended to evoke flag colors. The practice of using more saturated colors than the official cloth is not new. As Taylor, Knoche, and Granville wrote in 1950: “The color of the official wool bunting [of the blue field] is a very dark blue, but printed reproductions of the flag, as well as merchandise supposed to match the flag, present the color as a deep blue much brighter than the official wool.”[12] Sometimes, Pantone Matching System (PMS) approximations to the flag colors are used. One set was given on the website of the U.S. embassy in London as early as 1998; the website of the U.S. embassy in Stockholm claimed in 2001 that those had been suggested by Pantone, and that the U.S. Government Printing Office preferred a different set. A third red was suggested by a California Military Department document in 2002.[13] In 2001, the Texas legislature specified that the colors of the Texas flag should be “(1) the same colors used in the United States flag; and (2) defined as numbers 193 (red) and 281 (dark blue) of the Pantone Matching System.”[14]