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First Flag

The original flag was made in June 1776, when a small committee – including George Washington, Robert Morris and relative George Ross – visited Betsy Ross and discussed the need for a new U.S. flag. Betsy accepted the job to manufacture the flag, altering the committee’s design by replacing the six-pointed stars with five-pointed stars. The historic episode is based on Washington’s journey to Philadelphia, in late spring 1776, a year before Congress passed the Flag Act.

Betsy Ross (1752–1836) was an upholsterer in Philadelphia who produced uniforms, tents, and flags for Continental forces. Although her manufacturing contributions are documented, a popular story evolved in which Ross was hired by a group of founding fathers to make a new U.S. flag.

The stars were disposed in a circle, symbolizing the perpetuity of the Union; the ring, like the circling serpent of the Egyptians, signifying eternity. The thirteen stripes showed with the stars the number of the United Colonies, and denoted the subordination of the States to the Union, as well as equality among themselves.”