What Are the Meanings of US Flags?


The "Stars and Stripes" are symbolic of the United States, but its red, white and blue colors didn't mean anything when the nation's first flag was adopted by the Second Continental Congress in 1777.

First Flag Act

The Second Continental Congress stipulated the new nation's flag consist of "thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new Constellation," according to the official US flag website.

Meaning of Colors

Over the years, the red in the flag has come to symbolize valor and bravery, white for purity and innocence, and blue for perseverance and justice, says Ben's Guide to Government for Kids, an official government website.

The Stars

The stars are symbolic of the stars in heaven, Ben's Guide adds. There is one for each state in the union, each added to the flag on the first Fourth of July following that state's admission to the union.

The Stripes

The stripes are representative of the rays of light reaching out from the sun.

Flag Day

The Second Continental Congress passed the Flag Act on June 14, 1777, which is why we celebrate Flag Day annually on June 14th .


  • Official US Flag website
  • Ben's Guide to Government for Kids

Who Can Help

  • More Meanings of Flag Colors
  • US Code on the Flag
Keywords: American flag, symbolism of US flag, meaning of US flag

About this Author

Cheryl Teal is an award-winning photojournalist who began writing professionally in 1968. She specializes in writing about motorcycles and about travel in China and the Pacific Northwest. She has her own line of travel guides called "Cheryl's Guides," most of which are about travel in China. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish from Linfield College in McMinnville, Oregon.

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