What Do the Colors of the American Flag Mean? (2022)

What Do the Colors of the American Flag Mean? (1)

Since 1777, the American Flag has been widely recognized for its red, white, and blue pattern, which is decorated with stars and stripes. This unique flag has gone by many names, including “Old Glory,” “the Stars and Stripes,” and “the Star-Spangled Banner.”

The flag signifies an entire country, so a lot of consideration went into the flag design that we know today. Colors and patterns were selected very carefully to create a meaningful symbol for the United States.

What Do the American Flag Colors Mean?

It’s thought that the American Flag’s colors were inspired by Great Britain’s flag, also known as the Union Jack of England. Even if this is the case, the individual colors of the American Flag each have their own meaning and significance.

The American Flag uses the colors red, white, and blue, similar to the colors of American political parties.

Red Meaning

What Do the Colors of the American Flag Mean? (2)

Red stands for “hardiness and valor.” It represents courage and sacrifice. Some also claim that it’s related to the bloodshed of the heroes who fought to protect the freedom of America.

White Meaning

What Do the Colors of the American Flag Mean? (3)

White on the flag means “purity and innocence.” America is described as “pure” because they are independent of other countries and stay true to their beliefs and ideals.

(Video) What do the Colors of the US Flag Symbolize?

Blue Meaning

What Do the Colors of the American Flag Mean? (4)

Blue means “vigilance and perseverance.” It’s used to remind citizens to stay watchful and strong.

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 & valor, and Blue, the color of the Chief (the broad band above the stripes) signifies vigilance, perseverance & justice.

Charles Thompson, Secretary of Continental Congress.

By name, the official colors used on the flag are “Old Glory Blue,” “Old Glory Red,” and “White.” These colors are for cloth standards, so the exact colors might appear differently on digital and print formats.

What Do the Stars and Stripes Mean?

Not only do the colors of the American Flag hold deeper meanings, but so do the patterns on the flag. The current flag has 50 white stars on a blue background and 13 stripes, alternating between red and white.

Stars Meaning

What Do the Colors of the American Flag Mean? (5)

Each star on the flag represents a state of the union. The first version of the American Flag only had 13 stars, but ever since July 4th, 1960, it has proudly displayed 50 stars after Hawaii became the 50th state.

Stars were used for the states because they’re symbols of the heavens and the divine goal.

Stripes Meaning

What Do the Colors of the American Flag Mean? (6)
(Video) Why Is The US Flag Red, White And Blue?

The American Flag has seven red stripes and six white stripes, which are all horizontal. These stripes represent the original 13 states, also known as the British Colonies.

These 13 states are represented in the stripes, based on when they became part of the union:

  • Delaware – December 7th, 1787
  • Pennsylvania – December 12th, 1787
  • New Jersey – December 18th, 1787
  • Georgia – January 2nd, 1788
  • Connecticut – January 9th, 1788
  • Massachusetts – February 6th, 1788
  • Maryland – April 28th, 1788
  • South Carolina – May 23rd, 1788
  • New Hampshire – June 21st, 1788
  • Virginia – June 25th, 1788
  • New York – July 26th, 1788
  • North Carolina – November 21st, 1789
  • Rhode Island – May 29th, 1790

The colonies are shown as stripes to symbolize rays of light coming from the sun.

We take the stars from heaven, the red from our mother country, separating it by white stripes, thus showing that we have separated from her, and the white stripes shall go down to posterity representing Liberty.

George Washington

What Does the American Flag Gold Fringe Mean?

What Do the Colors of the American Flag Mean? (7)

Sometimes, you might see American Flags with gold fringes along the edges. This fringe is considered “honorable enrichment only,” and flags with a gold fringe can only be used permanently indoors. They could also be carried outside for certain ceremonies and events. If permanently displayed outside, the fringe will get damaged.

The fringe was first added to select flags around 1835. In 1895, it was added as a part of the flag for all regiments of the Army. Civilians aren’t required to have gold fringe on their flags.

In most cases, the gold fringe is a military tradition that relates to admiralty and martial law.

History of the American Flag

The United States has gone through many changes as a country since its inception, so the flag has been adjusted several times to represent that.

It’s unclear where the American Flag originated. Some historians think that New Jersey Congressman Francis Hopkinson designed it while seamstress Betsy Ross sewed the first flag. Yet, it’s not confirmed.

(Video) What is With These Different Colors in the American Flag?

Stars on a field of blue; one for each colony; bars of red, for the blood of sacrifice; on a ground of white for love and peace.

Betsy Ross

The American Flag became the official flag of the nation on June 14th, 1777. President Harry S. Truman later designated June 14th as “Flag Day” for that reason.

Flags can be found all over the United States as a way of showing pride for the country. Yet, there are a few locations where the flag must be up 24 hours a day, including the White House, the United States Marine Corps Memorial, and United States customs ports of entry.

Famous “Old Glory”

What Do the Colors of the American Flag Mean? (8)

One well-known American Flag is named “Old Glory,” which was a 10-by-17-foot flag owned by American sailor William Driver. It supposedly survived through the Civil War, despite many people trying to ruin it. When the war came to an end, Driver flew the flag over the Tennessee Statehouse.

Today, Old Glory is found at the National Museum of American History in Tennessee, still in one piece. Its name is still used as a general name for all American Flags.

Timeline of American Flag Designs

What Do the Colors of the American Flag Mean? (9)

The biggest change in the American Flag has been the number of stars. From 1777 to 1960, the flag changed over 20 times to include more stars. Here is a timeline of when each star was added and for which states.

  • 13 Stars (1777 to 1795)
    • The original 13 states
  • 15 stars (1795 to 1818)
    • Vermont – March 4th, 1791
    • Kentucky – June 1st, 1792
  • 20 stars (1818 to 1819)
    • Tennessee – June 1st, 1796
    • Ohio – March 1st, 1803
    • Louisiana – April 30th, 1812
    • Indiana – December 11th, 1816
    • Mississippi – December 10th, 1817
  • 21 stars (1819 to 1820)
    • Illinois – December 3rd, 1818
  • 23 stars (1820 to 1822)
    • Alabama – December 14th, 1819
    • Maine – March 15th, 1820
  • 24 stars (1822 to 1836)
    • Missouri – August 10th, 1821
  • 25 stars (1836 to 1837)
    • Arkansas – June 15th, 1836
  • 26 stars (1837 to 1845)
    • Michigan – January 26th, 1837
  • 27 stars (1845 to 1846)
    • Florida – March 3rd, 1845
  • 28 stars (1846 to 1847)
    • Texas – December 29th, 1845
  • 29 stars (1847 to 1848)
    • Iowa – December 28th, 1846
  • 30 stars (1848 to 1851)
    • Wisconsin – May 29th, 1848
  • 31 stars (1851 to 1858)
    • California – September 9th, 1850
  • 32 stars (1858 to 1859)
    • Minnesota – May 11th, 1858
  • 33 stars (1859 to 1861)
    • Oregon – February 14th, 1859
  • 34 stars (1861 to 1863)
    • Kansas – January 29th, 1861
  • 35 stars (1863 to 1865)
    • West Virginia – June 20th, 1863
  • 36 stars (1865 to 1867)
    • Nevada – October 31st, 1864
  • 37 stars (1867 to 1877)
    • Nebraska – March 1st, 1867
  • 38 stars (1877 to 1890)
    • Colorado – August 1st, 1876
  • 43 stars (1890 to 1891)
    • North Dakota – November 2nd, 1889
    • South Dakota – November 2nd, 1889
    • Montana – November 8th, 1889
    • Washington – November 11th, 1889
    • Idaho – July 3rd, 1890
  • 44 stars (1891 to 1896)
    • Wyoming – July 10th, 1890
  • 45 stars (1896 to 1908)
    • Utah – January 4th, 1896
  • 46 stars (1908 to 1912)
    • Oklahoma – November 16th, 1907
  • 48 stars (1912 to 1959)
    • New Mexico – January 6th, 1912
    • Arizona – February 14th, 1912
  • 49 stars (1959 to 1960)
    • Alaska – January 3rd, 1959
  • 50 stars (1960 to present)
    • Hawaii – August 21st, 1959

Throughout all these years, the colors and symbols of the American Flag remained the same. It still represented valor, purity, and perseverance, due to its consistent colors.

Color Meanings in Flags

What Do the Colors of the American Flag Mean? (10)
(Video) What Do The Colors Mean on the American Flag?

As it turns out, the color meanings for flags are fairly universal. Most flags use only a few colors, and many of them share colors schemes. While some flags are an exception, here’s the general symbolism for flag colors.

Black

Black in flags often represents determination or ethnic heritage. In some cases, it has darker meanings, such as death, morning, and the defeat of enemies.

White

Like in the American Flag, white symbolizes purity, peace, and harmony. However, a solid white flag is sometimes used to signify surrender during a battle.

Red

Red has a wide range of meanings, including power, war, revolution, courage, domination, and vibrancy. If it’s related to war, then the red symbolizes bloodshed. Red flags are sometimes used to signify danger too.

Blue

Blue tends to mean different things depending on which flag you are referring to. Some meanings include determination, alertness, liberation, and good fortune.

Green

Green is a color that’s commonly seen in nature, so flags with green have some association with agriculture, prosperity, and fertility. In some cases, green flags are also related to youth and hope.

Yellow

This color is often associated with the sun and money, so it means wealth or energy. In some cases, it could also mean happiness. If gold is used on a flag instead of yellow, it often shares the same meanings.

Orange

Orange isn’t used as often as the other colors, but it usually means courage and sacrifice.

Flags symbolize different countries, and they’re often thought very highly of, so it makes sense that their designs would have deeper meanings. The American Flag is one of the flags with the most notable meanings, and it has greatly evolved over time.

FAQs

What does the colors of the American flag mean? ›

The stripes represent the original 13 Colonies and the stars represent the 50 states of the Union. The colors of the flag are symbolic as well; red symbolizes hardiness and valor, white symbolizes purity and innocence, and blue represents vigilance, perseverance and justice.

What does the stripes on the US flag mean? ›

U.S. Flag Facts

There are 50 stars representing the 50 states and there are 13 stripes representing the 13 original colonies.

What are the meanings of colors? ›

Yellow: Happiness, Hope, Deceit. Green: New Beginnings, Abundance, Nature. Blue: Calm, Responsible, Sadness. Purple: Creativity, Royalty, Wealth.

What are the real colors of the American flag? ›

What are the colors of American flag? The American flag has 3 primary colors, which are red, white and blue.

What does the flag stand for? ›

The American flag has stood as a symbol of freedom and justice for over 225 years. Through wars and in times of peace, the sight of the American flag has given notice to foes and assurances to friends that democracy lives. No other symbol captures the power and glory of our nation like the American flag.

What does American flag with red blue and green stripe mean? ›

The tri-color stripes are meant to show joint support for our Law Enforcement Officers, Firefighters and Military (or Federal Agents). Shop Thin Red/Blue Line - Shop Thin Blue/Green/Red Line.

What does the 3 Colours of the flag mean? ›

In the national flag of India the top band is of Saffron colour, indicating the strength and courage of the country. The white middle band indicates peace and truth with Dharma Chakra. The last band is green in colour shows the fertility, growth and auspiciousness of the land.

What does purple mean on a flag? ›

Purple flag means dangerous marine life spotted.

What does yellow mean on a flag? ›

Yellow and gold most often represent the sun. They're also used to signify wealth and prosperity—especially in places where gold ore was historically mined.

What colour means love? ›

Pink symbolizes love and romance, caring, tenderness, acceptance and calm.

What color means fear? ›

Each one is colored uniquely (e.g., anger is “red”, fear is “purple”, and disgust is “green”). The idea represented in the movie is that color—just like a set of behaviors, facial expressions, and/or vocalizations—distinguishes one emotion from another.

Which colour means peace? ›

Violet signifies strength, peace and wisdom. It has the capacity to bring balance and make you feel inner peace. Many consider decorating their space with violet to create a peaceful environment.

What shade is blood red? ›

Blood red is a brownish-red shade with the hex code #880808, often created solely with red in the RGB color model. Blood red includes multiple shades that resemble the color of blood at varying levels of oxygenation--bright red with more O2, rusty with less.

What does the black American flag with a blue stripe mean? ›

The "Thin Blue Line" flag, which resembles an American flag but has a blue stripe, is a sign of support for law enforcement but has also come to signal opposition to the racial justice movement and a symbol of white supremacy or support for the Blue Lives Matter cause.

Is it disrespectful to change the colors of the flag? ›

Displaying support for first responders is fine but changing the colors or design of the flag us a violation of U.S. Code Section 700 which states, “The flag of the United States shall be thirteen horizontal stripes, alternate red and white; and the union of the flag shall be fifty stars, white in a blue field.” ...

What are three facts about the American flag? ›

10 Fascinating Facts about the American Flag
  • There have been 27 versions of the American Flag. ...
  • The flag can be displayed for all 24 hours. ...
  • The colors were chosen carefully. ...
  • The current design wasn't professionally made. ...
  • The current flag is the only one to have lasted more than 50 years.

What does the GREY and black American flag mean? ›

A black and grey American flag was flown in Washington D.C. in 2015 to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Million Man March. This historic event consisted of a large gathering of black men in Washington, D.C., on October 16, 1995.

Does the U.S. have a war flag? ›

The flag of the United States Army displays a blue replica of the War Office Seal set on a white field. Beneath the seal is a broad scarlet scroll bearing the inscription in white letters, "United States Army".
...
Flag of the United States Army.
NameUnited States Army Field Flag
UseWar flag
Proportion4:3
AdoptedApril 12, 1962
12 more rows

What does the pink line flag mean? ›

Measuring 3 X 5 feet, this Think Pink Line is designed to celebrate BOTH breast cancer survivorship AND the incredible power of women in America. This flag is made of lightweight polyester and can be used indoors or outdoors.

What does a gray American flag mean? ›

The thin gray line is a symbol that is used to show support for correctional officers.

What does the thin gold line mean? ›

Much like police officers are called the “thin blue line” keeping the public safe, Norris said dispatchers are known as the “thin gold line” between the public and emergency personnel. Gold represents their connection to red, firefighters, and blue, police.

What does the Colour green stand for? ›

The color meaning of green is vitality, freshness, growth, wealth, balance, health, & youthfulness.

What does 24 spokes represent? ›

This is the motif taken up by Ashoka and portrayed on top of his pillars. The 24 spokes represent the twelve causal links taught by the Buddha and paṭiccasamuppāda (Dependent Origination, Conditional Arising) in forward and then reverse order. The first 12 spokes represent 12 stages of suffering.

What flag is red on top and white on bottom? ›

The Flag of Indonesia is a simple bicolor with two equal horizontal bands, red (top) and white (bottom) with an overall ratio of 2:3.

What color is not on any flag? ›

There are 196 countries in the world today and virtually none of them have purple on their national flag. So what's wrong with purple?

Is there a flag with pink? ›

Bisexual Pride Flag — Created in 1998 by Michael Page, the bisexual pride flag has a is pink on the top and royal blue on the bottom, with an overlapping purple stripe in the middle.

What does a blue flag mean? ›

/ˌbluː ˈflæɡ/ a title given to beaches in Europe that are clean and safe: The calm waters make this an ideal spot for families and the beach has been awarded a blue flag for cleanliness. The blue flag program picks out the best beaches for clean water and good environmental management. More examples.

What green flag means? ›

So, what are green flags? They're the things that you want from relationships. They're always positive and are based in mutual-respect and appreciation.

What do blue flags in my yard mean? ›

Blue flags – Blue means water, irrigation or slurry. Usually this is drinking water. Damage this line and you could flood your home or find yourself without drinking water for a few days.

What is the color for respect? ›

Red: A red flower is a favorite of youth as it represents an essence of emotions such as love and passion. It is also a symbol of courage, desire, admiration, constancy and respect.

What color means angry? ›

Undoubtedly, the strongest link between an individual emotion and color is “red” and anger, which has been noted across studies and formats (e.g., Kaya and Epps, 2004; Sutton and Altarriba, 2016).

What is a sad color? ›

Grey is the quintessential sad color, but dark and muted cool colors like blue, green or neutrals like brown or beige can have a similar effect on feelings and emotions depending on how they're used. In Western cultures black is often considered the color of mourning, whereas in some East Asian countries it's white.

What color is happiness? ›

Yellow is usually the color of happy, joyful emotions.

What color is jealousy? ›

Dark Green is associated with ambition, greed, and jealousy.

What is the saddest colour? ›

Black Colors

Black is the hallmark color of sadness. In western cultures, this is one of the sad colors associated with mourning, hence why people wear black to funerals and when they are in mourning. Black also brings up feelings of sadness and fear.

What color means kindness? ›

Pink As A Color Of Kindness. What is this? Pink is considered a feminine color, and as such, has been associated with softer emotions and values such as love, care, empathy, compassion, nurturing, and kindness.

What color means friendship? ›

Yellow: Yellow is known as a synonym of friendship. What's more, it is meant for someone with a bright and lively personality.

What color causes anxiety? ›

Red can trigger anxiety in many people, and is known to be one of the most stressful colors to decorate with.

What's the most relaxing color? ›

Blue is the Most Relaxing Colour, Scientists Say.

What does the GREY and black American flag mean? ›

A black and grey American flag was flown in Washington D.C. in 2015 to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Million Man March. This historic event consisted of a large gathering of black men in Washington, D.C., on October 16, 1995.

What are the three types of American flags? ›

Washington went on to be heavily involved in the creation of the familiar American flag with thirteen red and white stripes, a blue canton, and thirteen stars.
...
There are three types of American military flags today:
  • Service Flags.
  • Maritime Flag.
  • Personal Flags.

What is the yellow and black American flag? ›

Gadsden flag
Adopted1775
DesignA yellow banner charged with a yellow coiled timber rattlesnake facing toward the hoist sitting upon a patch of green grass, with thirteen rattles for the thirteen colonies, the words "DONT TREAD ON ME" positioned below the snake in black.
Designed byChristopher Gadsden
5 more rows

What does the yellow American flag mean? ›

Yellow and gold most often represent the sun. They're also used to signify wealth and prosperity—especially in places where gold ore was historically mined.

What does a no quarter flag mean? ›

If a ship refused to surrender, they risked the wrath of the Pirate ship's crew. Once a battle began the Jolly Roger was lowered and replaced with a "No Quarter" flag signifying that the Pirates would now take no prisoners and give no quarter to their enemy.

What does an upside down flag mean? ›

According to the U.S. Flag Code, flying the American flag upside down is only meant to be done "as a signal of dire distress in instances of extreme danger to life or property." But lately, hanging the stars and stripes upside down is seen more of a symbol — a symbol increasingly used by those on both sides of the ...

Is The Thin red Line flag disrespectful? ›

The meaning of the red line flag was certainly not meant to be disrespectful. It's purpose is to honor fallen firefighters and the department, but there has been some controversy. Because it's an altercation of the American flag, some people do not agree with it.

What does the thin black line mean? ›

Each stripe has its own meaning, the black stripe on the top is the public, the bottom black stripe is the criminals. The thin blue line in the middle that separates the two is a representation of law enforcement, they are what stand between the two.

Why are there not 52 stars on the American flag? ›

The 50 stars represent the 50 states of the union, while the 13 stripes represent the 13 original states. The flag's width-to-length ratio is 10 to 19. The District of Columbia is one of fifty (50) states.

Does the US have 2 flags? ›

Since the founding of the United States in 1776, there have been 27 different versions of the flag featuring the stars and stripes.

What does a gray American flag mean? ›

The thin gray line is a symbol that is used to show support for correctional officers.

What does the blue line flag mean? ›

The "Thin Blue Line" flag, which resembles an American flag but has a blue stripe, is a sign of support for law enforcement but has also come to signal opposition to the racial justice movement and a symbol of white supremacy or support for the Blue Lives Matter cause.

What does purple mean on a flag? ›

Purple flag means dangerous marine life spotted.

What does a black American flag with a green stripe mean? ›

In the “green” case, the flag honors conservation personnel, park rangers, border patrol agents, and many more.

What does a green flag mean? ›

So, what are green flags? They're the things that you want from relationships. They're always positive and are based in mutual-respect and appreciation.

What does pink mean in a flag? ›

The pink band symbolizes women, the blue men, and the yellow those of a non-binary. gender, such as a gender bigender or gender fluid. Rainbow Flag. Bisexual Flag.

Videos

1. What does an all-black American flag mean, and where does it come from?
(WUSA9)
2. What do the colors of the American Flag Symbolize pt. 1
(Flag Systems)
3. EXPLAINED: Black American Flags, and Why Trumpers Are Flying Them
(Indisputable with Dr. Rashad Richey)
4. What Is The Black American Flag?
(Revenge of the Apocalypse)
5. Meaning of the American Flag Explained
(Star Spangled Flags)
6. What does the black American flag stand for?
(Ask About TECH)

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