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Common Myths About The American Flag

Getty / Timothy A. Clary

As we approach the patriotic holiday, here are some of the most widely held beliefs about the American flag.

  • Betsy Ross didn’t make the first one. She was a flag maker in Philly, around 1777. But that story didn’t come out until 1870, and there’s no proof of her making the first.

    Getty / Matthew Lloyd
  • Red, white and blue don’t symbolize American sacrifice. Officially, the colors don’t mean anything at all. They were picked because the first flag of the colonies had the same colors.
  • It was never a tradition to recite the Pledge of Allegiance in Congress…they’ve only been doing it in the House for 25 years, and only since ’99 in the Senate. Of course, they did it for political reasons during the Bush-Dukakis campaign.
  • It’s NOT illegal to burn the flag…it’s a myth because no one pays attention to the Supreme Court. It USED TO BE illegal, but in ’89, the laws were struck down as the Court decided it was protected under free speech.

    Getty / David Livingston
  • It’s NOT patriotic to wear the flag on your clothes. The U.S. Flag Code says you’re not supposed to sell or display anything that has an image of the flag on it. The Code isn’t enforceable by law….you may THINK you’re being patriotic, but the Code says it’s disrespectful.

(Guess Old Navy is gonna have to come up with some new designs…am I right?)

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