Thirteen stars and thirteen stripes
The flag of the United States is also known as the Stars and Stripes, the Old Glory and the Star-Spangled Banner. The first official flag was adopted in 1777 and represented thirteen white stars in a blue canton, as well as thirteen alternate red (top and bottom) and white stripes. The number of branches of the stars and their arrangement were not specified. At least two versions of the first flag appeared: one with thirteen five-pointed stars arranged in circle; another where the stars filled a rectangular surface. To day, the number of stars has increased to fifty whereas the number of stripes has remained thirteen. The number of stars will become fifty-one with the entry of Porto-Rico. Beyond the obvious answer that stripes and stars represent respectively the number of the first colonies 1 and present unified states, the original US banner may have been a deeper symbol.
The first official United States flag symbolizes the union of divine and human nature within the mediator between Heaven and Earth as well as the links between the spiritual authority and the temporal power. All these aspects go much beyond a simple federation of states on condition to know under which banner human beings are federated. This deep meaning has been lost since the star field of the Old Glory has been reduced to the number of united States.
1 back The first thirteen colonies were the following: Connecticut, New Hampshire, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Rhode Island and Maryland
Let us note that the stripes are not printed but sewn together to even more underline the links unifying the founder States.