Stars and Bars!
Star Spangled Banner!
However you may call the flag, it's definitely a symbol representing dedication, commitment, responsibility, love for the country of an American. Born more than 200 years ago the flag evolved from 'no star' to its 50 stars and 13 stripes look of today.
The first design with stars and stripes consisted of 13 stars and 13 stripes, it was called and named after congressman Francis Hopkinson. The 13 stars and stripes represented following first states: DE, PA, NJ, GA, CT, MA, MD, SC, NH, VA, NY, NC, RI.
First it was thought that every time a new state joined the union one star and one stripe could be added, but soon it became clear that there wasn't enough room to do so. The congress ruled that there should be a maximum of only 13 stripes - representing the first states / colonies - and every new state joining the union would get a star.
Of course, the flag means something different for every US citizen, for many it's a reminder to those who once fought for independence, for others it means justice and equality of humans. In the end the flag stands for every single American and freedom - for the latter one the American flag became a symbol for many people worldwide.
It's said that the nickname Old Glory was coined by a shipmaster named Stephen Driver from Salem in Massachusetts, who got an exemplar of the 24 star version of the flag from his friends and he said: Old Glory!
Later as a retired man in the rank of a captain he lived in Nashville, Tennessee, and was still in possess of this flag. After the civil war ended the people of Nashville asked for this special flag to be flown over the capitol.
Captain Stephen Driver is buried in Nashville on the City Cemetery, where the American flag (not Old Glory) is now flown 24 hours a day.
Sons of Liberty Flag
The Sons of Liberty - activists used this simple 13 stripes design. Probably is this basic design the mother of the modern Stars and Stripes.
The colors descend from the English flag.
New England Flag
George Washington's secretary Colonel Joseph Reed suggested that all American ships should sail under the Massachusetts Navy flag. This version of the flag incorporates the New England Pine.
Continental Flag or Grand Union
The British Union Jack was incorporated in the flag before the Revolutionary War.
Francis Hopkinson Flag
Congressman Francis Hopkinson is said to be the designer of the flag where first stars appeared. The 13 states were DE,
PA, NJ, GA, CT, MA, MD, SC, NH, VA, NY, NC, RI.
Indian Peace Flag
This flag was often presented at meetings with friendly Indian Nations. It displayed the U.S. coat of arms and accompanied other gifts for the Indians.
15 stars / 15 stripes.
This flag version was the one which once flew at Baltimore's Fort McHenry in 1814, when Francis Scott Key got inspired to write the text for the National Anthem.
It's thought, that the design came up in 1826 in recognition of 50 years independence. The original is exhibited in the museum in Bennington, Vermont.
Great Star Flag
An 1818 act established that the flag should be composed of a star for each state and 13 stripes. The stars were arranged as one large star pattern, as suggested by Capt. Samuel C. Reid, a naval hero of the War of 1812.
In 1845 the diamond pattern became standard on garrison flags - the advantage was that these flags could easily be updated when new states joined the Union.
Fort Sumter Flag
On April 12th in 1861, when the Civil War began, this flag flew over Fort Sumter in Charleston.
An unofficial flag in recognition of 100 years of independence.
38 Star Flag
An unusual design: the star in the middle represented the state of Colorado, admitted to the Union as the the 38th state on August 1, 1876. It was not until 1912 that stars arranged in rows became standard of flag design.
48 Star Flag
The official flag between 1912-1959. In 1912 the row order of the stars became standard.
50 Star Flag
On July 4th in 1960 the 50th star for the State of Hawaii was added.
This is the version until today.