American Flag is the symbol of the USA
Standing for valor, purity and justice, the American Flag is the symbol of the United States of America, and can be a symbol of hope or oppression to people throughout the world. There have been many versions of the flag, taking into account changes in territory and government, but the theme of red, white and blue has remained a constant. The first flag, referred to as the Continental Flag, had a small British flag on a field of 13 red and white stripes. The 13 stripes were a direct reference to the original 13 US colonies and have remained a constant design on the flag. On June 14th, the Second Continental Congress passed a resolution regarding the flag, stating that the Union Jack would be replaced with a field of stars on blue, to represent a new constellation. Since then, the American Flag has remained relatively the same, with new stars added as new states are adopted into the Union. There are 50 stars for the 50 states, as of this writing, but that may change if Puerto Rico decides to become a state.
It is an American tradition that the flag be treated as a sacred symbol, to honor those who spilled their blood to protect the country and the rights of citizens in foreign nations. The song "The Star Spangled Banner," which is also the US anthem, is a particularly poignant reflection on the power of flag to Americans. Written from the point of view of a soldier during a fierce battle, there is such hope in the lyrics when he sees the flag still standing after a night of intense shelling. There are ceremonies and rules to be followed when displaying and storing an American flag, including a special way of folding it. If you are near a military base, you may be able to see a flag ceremony, held at dawn and dusk. Several soldiers in dress uniforms carry out the flag, raise the flag and salute it. Dependent on the occasion, there may even be a cannon salute. At night, the process is reversed, with a bugler playing "Taps." It should be noted that, while the flag is a revered symbol, American citizens have the Constitutional right to burn it in political protest.
While most popular around Independence Day, US citizens are quite fond of having a replica of the flag around them, in some form or fashion. American craft uses the Stars and Stripes as a motif in many different ways. Some of the more intricate quilting uses scraps of fabric to recreate the flag on small and large scales, to be worn or used as household decorations. Rustic wood carvings often have a small flag as a part of a larger patriotic scene, or to embellish slogans. Themed Christmas trees are very popular in America, and you will see trees stuffed with flags and ornaments in red, white and blue. Rugs, towels, purses, earrings, boots, chairs, and more are all fair game to have the American flag featured on them. These somewhat kitschy items also make great souvenirs for travelers, alongside the shot glasses, postcards, sunglasses, surfboards, key chains and light up refrigerator magnets.