Because the American flag is such an iconic symbol of patriotism, children might want to know all about the meaning behind the Stars and Stripes. A few fun tidbits can spur your child's interest in the cultural background, history and significance of the flag.
According to the U.S. Flag Code website, a U.S. flag flown at night must be illuminated; it should never be flown in bad weather; it can only be flown upside down to signal distress; it must be raised quickly and lowered slowly; and no other flag can be placed above it. The flag should be flown during school days in or near every school building. It's a myth that the flag must be burned if it touches the ground. According to the code, it must be burned if it's damaged and is no longer suitable for flying.
Children are curious about the meaning behind the stars, stripes and colors. The stripes represent the 13 original colonies, and the stars represent the 50 states. According to PBS.org, red stands for hardiness and valor, white symbolizes purity and innocence, and blue represents vigilance, perseverance and justice. Those facts teach children that the flag was constructed with purpose -- the colors and symbols represent important principles. When kids see the flag waving on flag poles, being saluted at sporting events or decorating the band shell at fireworks displays, they'll know what it stands for.
The 50th and final star on the American flag was added on July 4, 1960, and represents the day Hawaii became a state. Young children often think that the flag has always had 50 stars and don't realize that its design changed during the growth and development of the United States. Some children have parents who were alive in 1960, so the age difference offers some perspective as to the date and time when the final star was added. Children might want to look at photos of the flag to see its progression through time.
Six U.S. flags are planted on the surface of the moon. Crews from the Apollo 11, 12, 14, 15, 16 and 17 lunar missions placed them there, according to the ABC News website. This fact shows kids that the American flag represents the nation as a whole. It was the one symbolic and patriotic artifact that was left on the surface of the moon when astronauts ventured to the face of the moon.
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