Old Glory

It’s not uncommon to hear the flag of the United States referred to as Old Glory, though the origin of this nickname is not commonly known. The saga of Old Glory involves the history of a particular flag that played a symbolic role in the Civil War. The story begins sometime in the 1820s, when a large flag (10 feet by 17 feet) was presented to a young sea captain named William Driver. According to history, the flag was made by Captain Driver’s mother and a group of young women in Salem, Massachusetts and was designed to be flown from a ship’s mast. The flag featured 24 stars on its blue field, and a small anchor had been sewn near the stars to indicate that it was a ship’s flag.

Old GloryCaptain Driver used the flag on the whaling ship Charles Doggett during an around the world voyage in 1831-32. It was at this time that Driver began referring to the flag as Old Glory. Driver retired from the seafaring life in 1837 and moved to Nashville, Tennessee. Old Glory came with him and was displayed for all patriotic occasions, becoming famous among the citizens of Nashville. By this time the flag was showing quite a bit of wear and had been mended many times.

Additional stars had been added to Old Glory over the years as states joined the Union, so that the total number was 34 by 1861. It was in that year that the Civil War began and Tennessee seceded from the Union. Fearing an action against Old Glory by rebel forces, Driver had the foresight to hide the flag inside the comforter on his bed. Stitched into place, it remained there safely until Union troops reclaimed Nashville the following year. Driver brought out his flag and it was flown from the spire of the Tennessee State Capitol. Old Glory was saluted by the Sixth Ohio Regiment, who adopted the name Old Glory as their motto. This event was reported in many newspapers, bringing national fame to Old Glory.

William Driver died in 1886 at the age of 83. His grave in Nashville is one of only 3 places in the U.S. that has been designated by an Act of Congress to fly a flag perpetually. Old Glory was preserved as a Driver family heirloom until 1922, when it was presented to the Smithsonian Institute. Along with the flag which inspired Francis Scott Key to write The Star Spangled Banner, Old Glory is one of the most important historical flags preserved at the Smithsonian.

First Flag On The Moon

The first flag to be planted on the moon by human hands was an American flag. It was displayed by astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on July 21, 1969. Armstrong and Aldrin were members of the crew of the Apollo 11, the first manned spacecraft to land on the surface of the moon. It was Armstrong who first stepped onto the moon’s surface, uttering the now well-known line “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”

American Flag on the moon

Armstrong and Aldrin worked together to plant the pole that displayed the American flag. Photos taken of this first flag on the moon have been the source of some controversy. The flag stands away from the pole, as if being lifted by a brisk breeze. Yet it’s fairly well known that there is no air in the moon’s atmosphere and therefore no way that a breeze could make the flag fly.

A clever trick on the part of Apollo 11 engineers created the illusion of a flag flying on the surface of the moon. They started with an off-the-shelf flag and then added a pocket to the top of the flag through which a collapsible horizontal rod was inserted. This collapsible rod was attached to the flagpole, making the flag stand away from the flagpole at a perpendicular angle. One small glitch occurred when the rod wouldn’t fully extend, making the flag look rippled rather than smooth. This ripple effect actually enhanced the illusion that the flag was waving in the breeze.

The effect was very successful, especially compared to the limp look the flag would have had without its horizontal support bar. The photo of the First Flag on the Moon is now remembered as one of the most significant flag images in the history of the United States. Today there are six U.S. flags on the lunar surface, each planted by a different Apollo mission.

Free American Flag Giveaway

The United States Flag Store to give away 2,000 free American Flags

New Stanton, PA June 5, 2009– The United States Flag Store announced plans today to give away 2,000 American flags for free on a first-come, first-served basis. The announcement comes on the heels of the company’s latest endeavor into the rapidly growing world of social media – most notably, Twitter.

In celebration of their debut onto one of the fastest growing websites in recent history, the United States Flag Store plans to give out 2,000 2 ½’ x 4’ Annin American flags for free to their next 2,000 Twitter followers. Thanks again to the world’s largest online flag store, customers all over the world are now only a simple mouse click away from receiving a free American flag, just in time for the 4th of July.

This latest promotion by the United States Flag Store is sure to generate some well deserved attention for the company, who has continued to experience truly unprecedented growth since its inception in early 2001 – due in large part to their truly incredible product line.

About the United States Flag Store
The United States Flag Store is the single largest part of the Online Stores, Inc. family. Founded by Lisa and Kevin Hickey in 2002, Online Stores, Inc. is a rapidly growing, family owned company based near Pittsburgh, PA. Three times voted among America’s Top 500 Internet Retailers, Online Stores operates nine internet retail stores including the United States Flag Store, the most popular retail flag website, and the English Tea Store, the second most popular tea website as ranked by Alexa.com.

For your free flag, be sure to visit http://flags.me/special-events today!

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Arizona Flag

The Arizona Flag originated in the year 1910, when the head of the Arizona National Guard, Colonel Charles W. Harris set out to design a flag for the Arizona Rifle Team at the National Matches of that year. In prior years, Arizona had been the only team to compete at the National Matches without a flag, thus the Arizona Flag as we know it today was born.

arizona flag

The Arizona Flag consists of 13 rays of red and gold on the top half of the flag. These rays supposedly represent both the rays of the Western setting sun as well as the original 13 counties of Arizona. The actual red and gold colors likely originate from the flags of the conquistadors of Spain. Red and gold were the colors carried by Coronado in his search of the Seven Cities of Cibola in the year 1540.

The Arizona Flag also contains a copper colored star in the center of the flag, which represents the copper mining industry in Arizona. At the time of inception of the Arizona Flag, Arizona was the largest producer of copper in the nation. The rest of the flag is colored blue, which – just as the American Flag– is meant to represent liberty.

The Arizona Flag was adopted as the official flag on February 17, 1917 by the third state legislature. Interestingly enough, it was actually passed into law without the signature of then Governor Thomas Campbell. To this day, there is no record of the governor ever issuing an official statement as to why he decided to not take action on the bill.

In a study done in 2001, the Arizona flag was voted among the top 10 best flags on the continent. The Arizona flag was ranked 6th out of 72 flags in North America for overall design and quality.

–Stacey Patrick

History of the POW/MIA Flag

As Memorial Day nears, Americans all across the country are encouraged to remember America’s fallen heroes, both within our borders and abroad. This past week, we join many other Americans in the mourning of Newt Heisley – the original designer of the POW/MIA Flag, who passed away on May 14th, 2009. Mr. Heisley’s POW/MIA flag is arguably the 2nd most popular flag in all of America behind none other than the Stars and Stripes herself.

Newt HeisleyIn his early years, Newt Heisley was a pilot in the South Pacific Theater during World War II. During the Vietnam War, however, Mr. Heisley became a professional art director at Annin and Company, the country’s largest flag manufacturer. In 1971 he was asked to create a flag for the National League of Families of American Prisoners and Missing in Southeast Asia. Heisley, as he himself was a veteran of the South Pacific Theater of World War II, had a personal concern for the many who served in the Vietnam War.

The design for Newt Heisley’s POW/MIA flag shows a silhouette of a soldier’s head in the foreground, with a watchtower and a guard surrounded by an intimidating barbed wire fence behind. Mr. Heisley’s design was reportedly inspired by his own son Jeffery, who at the time had been training with the United States Marine Corps to fight in Vietnam.

Jeffery Heisley never even made it out of training; he immediately became very ill during his training at the Marine Corps base in Quantico, Virginia. Jeffery was reportedly diagnosed with hepatitis – a disease that ravaged his body, completely emaciating his face and body structure.

When Jeffery returned home, medically discharged and unable to continue in the United States Marine Corps, his father Newt looked on in horror at what had once been a strong and able young man. Then, as Newt Heisley looked closer at his son’s haggard features, he began to imagine what life must be like for those prisoners being held behind barbed wire fences on foreign shores. Slowly, he began to sketch the profile of his son, working in pencil to create the now familiar black and white silhouette of the POW/MIA flag.


Perhaps the most symbolic part of the entire POW/MIA flag — more important than just the sketch of a distraught and malnourished prisoner, and more meaningful than the intimidation of the barbed wire background — are the words emblazoned in bold white letters across the bottom of the flag.

You Are Not Forgotten“, the flag boldly exclaims – and it is this statement, profound in its simplicity, that epitomizes the very heart and soul of the American people.  This short 4 word sentence characterizes the American people’s unending love and appreciation for all those who have chosen to sacrifice their lives so that we may live – and live well at that – in the best country this world has ever known.

–Tommy McLaughlin

Top 500 Internet Retailer Award

Online Stores, Inc. Ranked Among America’s Top 500 Internet Retailers

New Stanton, PA May 12, 2009 – Online Stores, Inc. announced today that they have again been included amongst America’s top 500 internet retailers in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide. 2009 will be Online Stores, Inc.’s third year on the prestigious list; the company has received the award annually since 2007.

See the full press release here

The Gadsden Flag: Symbol of Freedom

Today American taxpayers in more than 300 locations in all 50 states will hold rallies – dubbed “tea parties” – to protest higher taxes and out-of-control government spending. And the banner uniting all of these concerned Americans? Well, the Gadsden Flag of course!

The Gadsden Flag has traditionally been seen as a symbol of American patriotism.  The traditional imagery associated with the Gadsden Flag was first seen in the year 1775.  The Second Continental Congress had just authorized the first Gadsden Flagever mission for the new American Navy, and among the first marines to enlist during this time were men from Philadephia.  These marines are best known for carrying their symbolic yellow drums depicting a coiled rattlesnake with 13 rattles, with “Don’t Tread On Me” being their now famous motto.

It is commonly believed that the flag itself had been inspired by these symbolic drum-carrying Marines from Philadelphia, with Continental Colonel Christopher Gadsden of South Carolina as its creator.  At the second Continental Congress, Gadsden submitted his flag to then commander in chief of the Navy Esek Hopkins, and the rest was history!

The Gadsden Flag is still flown in Charleston, South Carolina – the city where Chrisopher Gadsden first presented the flag.  It was flown in the wake of the September 11th attacks, most notably by US Customs officials and harbor patrol boats in US ports.  The Gadsden Flag is also commonly flown by many Boy Scouts troops, and has even been featured in a few movies and television shows, most notably in the 2000 film The PatriotBut now, the Gadsden Flag is prepared to take on its new role — as the banner of the Tax Day Tea Party rallies popping up all over America.

According to The Wall Street Journal,

“The protests began with bloggers in Seattle, Wash., who organized a demonstration on Feb. 16. As word of this spread, rallies in Denver and Mesa, Ariz., were quickly organized for the next day. Then came CNBC talker Rick Santelli’s Feb. 19 “rant heard round the world” in which he called for a “Chicago tea party” on July Fourth. The tea-party moniker stuck, but angry taxpayers weren’t willing to wait until July. Soon, tea-party protests were appearing in one city after another, drawing at first hundreds, and then thousands, to marches in cities from Orlando to Kansas City to Cincinnati.”

Tax Day Tea Party

There are currently between 300 and 500 protests planned to occur in various cities around the world today, and there is sure to be a tea party near you.  For more information or for tea party locations, be sure to check out www.taxdayteaparty.com

If you’re planning on attending one of the many Tax Day Tea Parties across the country, or if you already have, feel free to drop off a comment and let us know how it went!

The Valley Forge Flag Company

The Valley Forge Flag Company was founded in 1882, and remains a family-owned business to this day. Steeped in history, the company began as a burlap sac business, and then moved on to World War I surplus, including American flags. With increasing demand the company opened a small sewing factory in Spring City, PA in 1932. The opening of this factory was the beginning of Valley Forge Flag brand.

Infamous Flag at Iwo Jima
Infamous flag at Iwo Jima

Valley Forge Flag’s mission is to manufacture 100% American-made U.S. flags. As a founding member of the Flag Manufacturers Association of America, Valley Forge educates the public and flag retailers about the significance of manufacturing American flags in the U.S. The association also helps enforce the labeling requirements for imported products. Any flag marked with the FMAA seal is guaranteed to be made in the U.S. with only American-made materials.

In 2005 Valley Forge Flag Company consolidated all of its manufacturing to South Carolina and closed its plant in Womelsdorf, Pennsylvania. Its headquarters moved to Reading, Pa. The company has around 500 employees, participates in the “welfare-to-work” program and employs disabled Americans.

Valley Forge flags are available at numerous retail outlets, large commercial flag dealers and online. Valley Forge Flag has a large product line including a variety of flags, flagpoles and accessories. The historical company will continue to manufacture high-quality, American-made products for years to come.

The United States Flag Store is the largest and most complete vendor of Valley Forge Flags, flagpoles and accessories, keeping a wide range of Valley Forge products in stock and carrying larger quantities than any other dealer.

President Approves New 51 Star American Flag

Well, America, I thought this day would never come. For years I’ve pledged my allegiance,  saluted, and watched my beautiful handwoven 50 star American Flag wave gently through the wind each and every day. However, not anymore.

Capitol Hill

Early this morning in a special joint session of congress, President Obama met via internet from his current stay in the UK with his cabinet and fellow lawmakers on Capitol Hill. They were hard at work putting the finishing touches on Senate Bill SB737-A, which was released to the public late Friday evening. Surprisingly, this controversial bill has gotten very little coverage by the mainstream American media, but this is of course typical for most news stories released at the end of the week.

Citing the current economic catastrophe, President Obama reportedly issued the following statement early this morning:

“This is a great day for America.  I would like you to please join with me as we celebrate this momentous occasion.  No longer are we a nation of Blacks and Whites.  No longer are we a nation of Rich and Poor, of “haves” and “have-nots”.  We are, instead, a nation of Americans.  Please join me in welcoming our nearly 4 million new brothers and sisters who have so valiantly and bravely made the decision to become a part of the greatest nation the world has ever known.”

This statement was made shortly after the signing of Senate Bill SB737-A early this morning, while most Americans were still asleep.  I won’t bore you with the litany of monotonous details, but in a nutshell it is a bill declaring the annexation into the American Union of ” El Estado Libre Asociado de Puerto Rico” Or, for you and I – Puerto Rico.

That’s right, America.  While you were so innocently sleeping, the American government had begun to forge an all out assault on our beloved country.  No longer are we the “50 Nifty United States”, we are now, as of today,  51.

According to White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, this decision “adds millions of jobs to the American economy”, and also will begin to “open up a few key trade routes that have begun to dwindle over the past few years”.  I for one, don’t think that adding an entire state to our country is going to do much towards boosting our struggling economy, but then again maybe that’s why I’m not the one in charge.

As noted historian Thomas Mclaughlin put it:

“This is a sad day for my country.  Never in my life did I imagine I would see something as ludicrous as this.  The sheer manner in which Congress passed this piece of legislation should in itself raise questions as to the Constitutionality of the entire ordeal.”

Fifty One Star Flag
Fifty One Star Flag

Well America, it’s surprising to say the least.  And perhaps frightening to say the most.  No longer will we be Pledging Allegiance to Old Glory, thanks to our lawmakers even that small piece of American tradition is now lost forever.

Congress will be officially be releasing public statements as to the passage of the bill as well as the ratification of the new 51 star American Flag sometime later this afternoon.

I have a few words for you, Congress — Your unwieldy use of power has begun to destroy the very country that you claim to serve.  I also have a few words for the rest of you, America — April Fool’s.

The American Flag: I Pledge Allegiance

I pledge allegiance to the flag of The United States Of America.  And to the Republic for which it stands, one nation under God…… wait a second.. what does any of this even mean?

If you were at all like me as a kid growing up (hopefully not too much like me, that’d be a scary sight 🙂 ), I’m sure you spent a few minutes in school every morning on your feet before the flag, still in a half-asleep trance, reciting “The Pledge”.  As the years went on, I began to realize that I could recite this patriotic collection of 36 words backwards, forwards, inside out and upside down.  However, I soon began to wonder– What does it all mean? Does one piece of colorful rectangular fabric really have the authority to command my undivided loyalty and absolute allegiance?

Of course!” I decided, “I must do what any true scholar would do in this sort of life-defining situation!” — so I Googled it.

Betsy Ross Flag
Betsy Ross Flag

After countless seconds of extensive research, I finally stumbled upon the vast and infinite wisdom of none other than the great Wikipedia.  Apparently, the first American flag was originally created on June 14th 1777, just one short year after the signing of the Declaration of Independence.  As I’m sure most Americans know, it consisted of a field of 13 stars arranged in a circle in a field of blue, surrounded on 2 sides by 13 stripes, alternating between red and white.  The American flag has been changed 26 times since its inception, with the addition of additional stars for each new state that has since acceded to the Union.  However, despite all of its changes, the American flag has managed to retain its trademark red, white, and blue colors.

Although there have never been any official statements as to what exactly the colors of the flag are meant to symbolize, certain traditions have attributed the colors to a few widely accepted meanings.  For example, it is generally accepted that the red in the flag stripes represents the blood shed by our military in defense of our great country and its freedoms.  The white is attributed to America’s supposed purity, and the blue represents truth and a dedication to justice.

The 50 Star American Flag
The 50 Star American Flag

I must admit, for years I guess I was probably pretty guilty of just trying to be cool without ever really knowing what I was saying.  I mean — everyone else is saying The Pledge, I guess I should jump on the bandwagon too, right?

All jokes aside, I’m glad I finally got the chance to realize what that rectangular piece of fabric really stands for.  No longer am I simply “pledging allegiance to the flag”, I am instead pledging allegiance to the brave men and women who gave that flag to me, and pledging allegiance to the noble virtues and values it represents.