American Flag Myths - Part 2

Myth #3: Americans have always flown the flag –

Prior to the Civil War, flags were really only flown in an official capacity on ships, forts and government buildings. It was considered unusual for a citizen to fly a flag on their house or carriage,

The Civil War quickly changed Americans’ attitudes about displaying the flag.

“At the beginning of the Civil War there was an overwhelming amount of patriotism, and very soon after, people were flying flags everywhere to show their support for the Union cause.  The flag has continued to this day to have a particularly important place in the fabric of America.

Myth #4: Red, white and blue have official meanings –

‘The colors of the flag were not assigned any official meaning when the first flag was adopted in 1777. The traditional meanings assigned to the colors may have arisen five years later, in 1782, when Charles Thompson, the secretary of the Continental Congress, waxed poetic about the colors in the Great Seal of the United States, which he helped design. Thompson described the red in the seal as representing hardiness and valor; the white, purity and innocence; and the blue, vigilance, perseverance and justice.

As for the origin of the red-white-and-blue color scheme, it’s likely no coincidence that the British flag bore the same three colors.’

Myth #5: It’s against the law to burn the American flag –

Well, it was until the landmark case of Texas v. Johnson in 1989, the Supreme Court ruled that desecrating the American flag is a form of speech protected by the First Amendment. Defendant Gregory Lee Johnson had burned a flag in an act of protest at the 1984 Republican National Convention in Dallas. Prior to that ruling it was, indeed, illegal to burn the flag.

Many have tried to challenge since 1989 but have been unsuccessful.  

More American Flag Myths coming soon on