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Stars and stripes: the birth of the American Flag, a 4th of July celebration.

Today, 4th of July 2019, the United States celebrates the 243 birthday!  Millions of American are ready to fire up their barbecues, engage in impromptu football games in the backyard, attend parades and enjoy breathtaking firework displays.  What is exactly the famous Independence Day celebration?

The year was 1776 and, in the midst of the American Revolution, 13 colonies (among which New York) declared their independence from the British empire by signing a Declaration of Independence authored by Thomas Jefferson. That was the birth of the first United States, under the command of General George Washington, later officially recognized in 1783 with the Treaty of Paris.  Did you know though that it took almost two centuries from that time to see the legendary American flag as we know it today?


It is true! In fact, the very first version of the “Stars and Stripes” of 1977 had only 13 stars and 13 stripes: those of the revolutionary colonies. It was an evolution of the flag adopted by the British East India Company and the colours were red, blue and white to signify valour, loyalty and personal freedom.  In the following years, a star was added for each state that joined the United States.  As soon as new versions of the flag were ready, they were displayed in Philadelphia on the 4th of July.  A curious thing: until 1912, there were no specifications as to how the stars should be set, so there have been many different interpretations, some even with a circle of stars!

It took as many as 28 versions to finally come up with the American flag as we know it today, with 50 stars. It first appeared in 1960, when the state of Hawaii was added.  And guess who presented it?  A 17-year-old boy: Robert G. Heft. An amazing story: the young man had proposed the design for a school project, but the teacher gave him a very poor grade because he did not like it at all.  Bothered by the student’s insistence, the teacher told him he’d change the grade only if the United States Congress would accept the flag!  No sooner said than done: President Eisenhower choose it as the official flag.  And that proves that the United States is definitely the “Land of opportunities”!

Today, the American flag is a universal symbol of freedom, and a true icon for art: for example, Jasper Jones’ flag was sold at an auction for 36 million dollars at Sotheby’s, and one of Andy Warhol’s most famous photos shows him completely wrapped in a “Stars and Stripes” while he’s painting one of the stripes. We too at Original Marines want to reinterpret it in our own way: you’ll find the flag taken apart, nuanced, or absolutely in the forefront in so many outfits of the new 2019 collection. Discover it at originalmarines.com!

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