Emblems of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement
The emblems of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, under the Geneva Conventions, are to be placed on humanitarian and medical vehicles and buildings, to be worn by medical personnel and others carrying out humanitarian work, to protect them from military attack on the battlefield. There are four such emblems, three of which are in use: the Red Cross, the Red Crescent, the Red Crystal; the Red Lion and Sun is a recognized emblem, but is no longer in use. There were prior disputes concerning the use of a Red Star of David by Magen David Adom, the Israeli first-aid society. In popular culture, the red cross symbol came to be a recognizable generic emblem for medicine associated with first aid, medical services, products, or professionals. After objections from the movement and alternatives have come to be used instead. Additionally, Johnson & Johnson has registered the symbol for their medicinal products; the appropriation of the symbol has led to further irritation due to the practice of hospitals, first aid teams, ski patrols in the United States reversing the symbol to a white cross on a red background – so undoing the original idea of the Red Cross emblem, namely reversing the Swiss flag – thus inappropriately suggesting an affiliation with Switzerland.
The symbols described below have two distinctively different meanings. On one hand, the visual symbols of the Red Cross, the Red Crescent, the Red Lion with Sun and the Red Crystal serve as protection markings in armed conflicts, a denotation, derived from and defined in the Geneva Conventions; this is called the protective use of the symbols. On the other hand, these symbols are used as distinctive logos by those organizations which are part of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement; this is the indicative use of the emblems, a meaning, defined in the statutes of the International Movement and in the third Additional Protocol. As a protection symbol, they are used in armed conflicts to mark persons and objects which are working in compliance with the rules of the Geneva Conventions. In this function, they can be used by organizations and objects which are not part of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, for example the medical services of the armed forces, civilian hospitals, civil defense units.
As protection symbols, these emblems should be used without any additional specification and in a prominent manner which makes them as visible and observable as possible, for example by using large white flags bearing the symbol. Four of these symbols, namely the Red Cross, the Red Crescent, the Red Lion with Sun and the Red Crystal, are defined in the Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocols as symbols for protective use; when used as an organizational logo, these symbols only indicate that persons, buildings, etc. which bear the symbols belong to a specific organization, part of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. In this case, they should be used with an additional specification and not be displayed as prominently as when used as protection symbols. Three of these symbols, namely the Red Cross, the Red Crescent and the Red Crystal, can be used for indicative purposes by national societies for use in their home country or abroad. In addition to that, the Red Shield of David can be used by the Israel society Magen David Adom for indicative purposes within Israel, pending the approval of the respective host country, in combination with the Red Crystal when working abroad.
The Red Cross on white background was the original protection symbol declared at the 1864 Geneva Convention. The ideas to introduce a uniform and neutral protection symbol as well as its specific design came from Dr. Louis Appia, a Swiss surgeon, Swiss General Henri Dufour, founding members of the International Committee; the red cross symbolizes as an identifier for medical personnel during wartime. The Red Cross is defined as a protection symbol in Article 7 of the 1864 Geneva Convention, Chapter VII and Article 38 of the 1949 Geneva Convention. There is an unofficial agreement within the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement that the shape of the cross should be a cross composed of five squares. However, regardless of the shape, any Red Cross on white background should be valid and must be recognized as a protection symbol in conflict. Of the 190 National Societies which are recognized by the ICRC, 154 are using the Red Cross as their official organization emblem. According to the ICRC, the emblem adopted was formed by reversing the colours of the Swiss flag of Switzerland.
This was recorded in the 1906 revision of the Convention. However, according to jurist and Red Cross historian Pierre Boissier, no clear evidence of this origin has been found. During the Russo-Turkish War from 1876 to 1878, the Ottoman Empire used a Red Crescent instead of the Red Cross because its government believed that the cross would alienate its Muslim soldiers; when asked by the ICRC in 1877, Russia committed to respect the sanctity of all per
Flag of the United States Marine Corps
The flag of the United States Marine Corps is the flag used to represent the U. S. Marine Corps, as well as its subsidiary units and formations; the official flag is scarlet with the Corps emblem in gold. It was adopted on 18 January 1939, although Marine Corps Order 4 had established scarlet and gold as the official colors of the Corps as early as 1925; the indoor/parade version is bordered by a gold fringe. It measures 62 inches on the fly. In addition to the multi-colored battle streamers affixed to the top of the staff, the staff itself is covered with sterling silver bands engraved with the names of conflicts in which the Corps has been engaged. Little information is available regarding the flags carried by early American marines, although indications are that the Grand Union Flag was carried ashore by the battalion led by Captain Samuel Nicholas on New Providence Island, 3 March 1776, it is quite possible that the Gadsden flag was carried on this expedition. The standard carried by the Marines during the 1830s and 1840s consisted of a white field with gold fringe, bore an elaborate design of an anchor and eagle in the center.
Prior to the Mexican–American War, this flag bore the legend "To the Shores of Tripoli" across the top. Shortly after the war, the legend was revised to read: "From Tripoli to the Halls of the Montezumas." During the Mexican and Civil Wars, Marines in the field carried a flag similar to the national flag, consisting of red and white stripes and a union. The union, contained an eagle perched on a shield of the United States and a half-wreath beneath the shield, with 29 stars encircling the entire design. Beginning in 1876, Marines carried the national colors with "U. S. Marine Corps" embroidered in yellow on the middle red stripe. At the time of the Vera Cruz landing in 1914, a more distinctive standard was carried by Marines; the design consisted of a blue field with a laurel wreath encircling the Marine Corps emblem in the center. A scarlet ribbon above the emblem carried the words "U. S. Marine Corps," while another scarlet ribbon below the emblem carried the motto "Semper Fidelis." Orders were issued on 2 April 1921 which directed all national colors be manufactured without the yellow fringe and without the words "U.
S. Marine Corps" embroidered on the red stripe; this was followed by an order dated 14 March 1922, retiring from use all national colors still in use with yellow fringe or wording on the flag. Following World War I, the Army practice of attaching silver bands carrying inscriptions enumerating specific decorations and battles was adopted; this practice was discontinued on 23 January 1961. Marine Corps Order No. 4 of 18 April 1925 designated gold and scarlet as the official colors of the U. S. Marine Corps; these colors, were not reflected in the official Marine Corps standard until 18 January 1939, when a new design incorporating the new colors was approved. The design was that of today's Marine Corps standard. For a brief time following World War I, the inscribing of battle honors directly on the colors of a unit was in practice, but realization that a multiplicity of honors and the limited space on the colors made the system impractical, the procedure was discontinued. On 29 July 1936, a Marine Corps Board recommended that the Army system of attaching streamers to the staff of the organizational colors be adopted.
Such a system was authorized by Marine Corps Order No. 157, dated 3 November 1939, is in practice. Devices are embroidered onto the streamer to denote special repeat awards. Unlike the Army and Air Force flags, only a single streamer is utilized for a single campaign, with the exception of those streamers that require more than eight devices, the maximum any one streamer may hold. Devices are only authorized for campaigns participated in the 21st centuries; the official battle color of the Corps is maintained by Marine Barracks, Washington, D. C. and carried by the Color Sergeant of the Marine Corps. The position of the Color Sergeant was first designated in 1965 and was first held by Gunnery Sgt. Shelton L. Eakin; the billet is a two-year tour open to all Sergeants. The Color Sergeant of the Marine Corps traditionally carries the Flag of the President of the United States at state dinners and other official functions, leads the color guard at various parades and ceremonies; the following streamers are authorized, in order of precedence: Note that a "x #" designation denotes the number of streamers used to carry devices, not the number of awards.
Each unit in the Corps of battalion-size or larger hold an organizational color. It is identical to the Marine Corps battle color, though the scroll will have the unit's name instead of "United States Marine Corps", it will bear the streamers authorized to the unit, or scarlet and gold tassels if none are authorized. Each Corps unit has a designated color guard, led by a color sergeant, he is entrusted with the care of the unit colors, which are a symbol of the United States, the Marine Corps, the commander him/herself. The organizational colors are passed as part of change of command ceremonies to symbolize the transfer of office; when not in use as part of a parade or ceremony, the colors are traditionally kept in the commander's office. A Marine guidon is always rectangular, 22 by 28 inches, with a
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is an American scientific agency within the United States Department of Commerce that focuses on the conditions of the oceans, major waterways, the atmosphere. NOAA warns of dangerous weather, charts seas, guides the use and protection of ocean and coastal resources, conducts research to provide understanding and improve stewardship of the environment. NOAA was formed in 1970 and in 2017 had over 11,000 civilian employees, its research and operations are further supported by 321 uniformed service members who make up the NOAA Commissioned Corps. Since October 2017, NOAA has been headed by Timothy Gallaudet, as acting Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and NOAA interim administrator. NOAA plays several specific roles in society, the benefits of which extend beyond the US economy and into the larger global community: A Supplier of Environmental Information Products. NOAA supplies to its customers and partners information pertaining to the state of the oceans and the atmosphere.
This is clear through the production of weather warnings and forecasts via the National Weather Service, but NOAA's information products extend to climate and commerce as well. A Provider of Environmental Stewardship Services. NOAA is a steward of U. S. coastal and marine environments. In coordination with federal, local and international authorities, NOAA manages the use of these environments, regulating fisheries and marine sanctuaries as well as protecting threatened and endangered marine species. A Leader in Applied Scientific Research. NOAA is intended to be a source of accurate and objective scientific information in the four particular areas of national and global importance identified above: ecosystems, climate and water, commerce and transportation; the five "fundamental activities" are: Monitoring and observing Earth systems with instruments and data collection networks. Understanding and describing Earth systems through research and analysis of that data. Assessing and predicting the changes of these systems over time.
Engaging and informing the public and partner organizations with important information. Managing resources for the betterment of society and environment. NOAA traces its history back to multiple agencies, some of which were among the oldest in the federal government: United States Coast and Geodetic Survey, formed in 1807 Weather Bureau of the United States, formed in 1870 Bureau of Commercial Fisheries, formed in 1871 Coast and Geodetic Survey Corps, formed in 1917Another direct predecessor of NOAA was the Environmental Science Services Administration, into which several existing scientific agencies such as the United States Coast and Geodetic Survey, the Weather Bureau and the uniformed Corps were absorbed in 1965. NOAA was established within the Department of Commerce via the Reorganization Plan No. 4 and formed on October 3, 1970 after U. S. President Richard Nixon proposed creating a new agency to serve a national need for "better protection of life and property from natural hazards …for a better understanding of the total environment… for exploration and development leading to the intelligent use of our marine resources."
In 2007, NOAA celebrated 200 years of service in its role as successor to the United States Survey of the Coast. In 2013, NOAA closed 600 weather stations. Since October 25, 2017 Timothy Gallaudet, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere, has served as acting Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere at the US Department of Commerce and NOAA's interim administrator. Gallaudet succeeded Benjamin Friedman, who served as NOAA's interim administrator since the end of the Obama Administration on January 20, 2017. In October 2017, Barry Lee Myers, CEO of AccuWeather, was proposed to be the agency's administrator by the Trump Administration. NOAA works toward its mission through six major line offices, the National Environmental Satellite and Information Service, the National Marine Fisheries Service, the National Ocean Service, the National Weather Service, the Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research and the Office of Marine & Aviation Operations, and in addition more than a dozen staff offices, including the Office of the Federal Coordinator for Meteorology, the NOAA Central Library, the Office of Program Planning and Integration.
The National Weather Service is tasked with providing "weather and climate forecasts and warnings for the United States, its territories, adjacent waters and ocean areas, for the protection of life and property and the enhancement of the national economy." This is done through a collection of national and regional centers, 13 river forecast centers, more than 120 local weather forecast offices. They are charged with issuing weather and river forecasts, advisories and warnings on a daily basis, they issue more than 734,000 weather and 850,000 river forecasts, more than 45,000 severe weather warnings annually. NOAA data is relevant to the issues of global warming and ozone depletion; the NWS operates NEXRAD, a nationwide network of Doppler weather radars which can detect precipitation and their velocities. Many of their products are broadcast on NOAA Weather Radio, a network of radio transmitters that broadcasts weather forecasts, severe weather statements and warnings 24 hours a day; the National Ocean Service focuses on ensuring that ocean and coastal areas are safe and productive.
NOS scientists, natural resource managers, specialists serve America by ensuring safe and efficient marine transportation, promoting innovative solutions to protect coastal communities, conserving mari
A maritime flag is a flag designated for use on ships and other watercraft. Naval flags are considered important at sea and the rules and regulations for the flying of flags are enforced; the flag flown is related to the country of registration: so much so that the word "flag" is used symbolically as a synonym for "country of registration". Ensigns are required to be flown when entering and leaving harbour, when sailing through foreign waters, when the ship is signalled to do so by a warship. Warships fly their ensigns between the morning colours ceremony and sunset when moored or at anchor, at all times when underway, at all times when engaged in battle—the "battle ensign"; when engaged in battle a warship flies multiple battle ensigns. This tradition dates from the era of sailing vessels. Tradition dictated. Masts were targets of gunfire, the second and subsequent ensigns were flown in order to keep the ensign flying after a mast hit. Jacks are additional national flags flown by warships at the head of the ship.
These are flown while not underway and when the ship is dressed on special occasions. Jacks in the Royal Navy must be run up. On 16 January 1899, commissioned ships of the United States Coast and Geodetic Survey were authorized to fly their own flag to distinguish them from ships of the United States Navy, with which they shared a common ensign. Although they continued to fly the same ensign as U. S. Navy ships, ships of the Survey flew the Coast and Geodetic Survey flag as a "distinguishing mark" until the newly created National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration took over control of the Survey's ships in 1970. Since commissioned ships of NOAA, which fly the same national ensign as U. S. Navy ships, have flown the flag of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration as a distinguishing mark. All ships of the United States Lighthouse Service flew the U. S. Lighthouse Service flag until the service merged into the United States Coast Guard on 1 July 1939, ships of the United States Bureau of Fisheries flew the Bureau of Fisheries flag until the bureau was merged into the United States Fish and Wildlife Service on 30 June 1940.
The rank flag or distinguishing flag is the flag flown by a superior officer on his flagship or headquarters. The origins of this are from the era before radiotelegraphy and radiotelephony, when orders were given by flag signals; the flag denotes the ship. Such flags are flown when leaders of the government are aboard Navy ships, showing the ship to hold the headquarters of highest level of authority for the Armed Forces. Today, with the progress in communications, this flag indicates the obligation of the other Naval vessels to pay the relevant honours according to nautical etiquette. In a group of naval ships all commanded by superior officers, only the commander of the group or the officer of the highest rank can fly his flag. In the Royal Navy, admirals fly rectangular rank flags: an Admiral of the Fleet flies a Union Flag, while an admiral flies the St George's Cross; the flags of vice-admirals and rear-admirals have two additional red balls respectively. Commodores fly a Broad Pennant, a short swallow-tailed pennant based on the St George's Cross, with a red ball at the canton.
In the United States Navy as well as in some other countries, admirals fly rectangular flags with stars according to rank. Line officer flags are blue with white stars. In the Hellenic Navy Admirals fly blue square flags bearing a white cross with four six-point stars. Captains, when commanding a flotilla or squadron, fly a burgee with the colours of Hellenic Navy Jack; when a rank flag is flown the commissioning pennant is displaced downward. The pennant called a pennon, is a long narrow flag, conveying different meanings depending on its design and use. Examples: A commissioning pennant, or masthead, which a warship flies from its masthead and indicates the commission of the captain of the ship. In the Royal Navy, the commissioning pennant is a small St George's Cross with a long tapering plain white fly. In the United States Navy, it is red above white, with seven white stars in the blue hoist; the commissioning pennant may be displaced by various rank flags, namely the flags or pennants of admirals or commodores, the personal flags of heads of state and members of royal families.
In former centuries, masthead pennants were of a length similar to that of the ships that wore them, but nowadays long pennants tend only to be seen when a ship is paying off. A church pennant, as used by the Royal Navy, Royal Netherlands Navy and Commonwealth Navies, is a broad pennant flown on ships and at establishments during religious services, has the George Cross and Dutch flag incorporated. A similar church pennant is flown by U. S. Navy ships during services. A Senior Officer Present Afloat pennant using the NATO signal flag for "Starboard" is green on the hoist and fly with a white field between. A Gin Pennant means that the wardroom is inviting officers from ships in
Grand Union Flag
The "Grand Union Flag" is considered to be the first national flag of the United States of America. This flag consisted of 13 alternating red and white stripes, but with the upper inner corner or canton resembling the British Union Flag of the time. By the end of 1775, during the first year of the American Revolutionary War, the Second Continental Congress operated as a de facto war government authorizing the creation of an Army, a Navy and a small Marine Corps. A new flag was needed to represent the Congress and fledgling nation the United Colonies, with a banner distinct from the British Red Ensign flown from civilian and merchant vessels, the White Ensign of the British Royal Navy, the British Union flags carried by the British Army's men on land. Individual states had been using their own independent flags with Massachusetts using the Taunton Flag and New York using the George Rex Flag prior to the adoption of the Grand Union Flag; the U. S. colonists' was first hoisted on the colonial warship Alfred, in the harbor on the western shore of the Delaware River at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on December 3, 1775, by newly-appointed Lieutenant John Paul Jones of the formative Continental Navy.
The event had been documented in letters to eyewitness accounts. The flag was used by the U. S. Continental Army forces as both a naval ensign and garrison flag throughout 1776 and early 1777, it is not known for certain when or by whom the design of the Continental Colors was created, but the flag could be produced by sewing white stripes onto the British Red Ensigns. The "Alfred" flag has been credited to Margaret Manny, it was believed that the flag was raised by George Washington's Army on New Year's Day, 1776, at Prospect Hill in Charlestown, near his headquarters at Cambridge, surrounding and laying siege to the British forces occupying the city, that the flag was interpreted by British military observers in the city under commanding General Thomas Gage, as a sign of surrender. Some scholars dispute the traditional account and conclude that the flag raised at Prospect Hill was a British union flag; the name "Grand Union" is contemporary to Reconstruction-era historians and was first applied to the Continental Colors by George Henry Preble, in his 1872 History of the American Flag.
The design of the flag is strikingly similar to the flag of the British East India Company. Indeed, certain EIC designs in use since 1707 were nearly identical, but the number of stripes varied from 9 to 15; that EIC flags could be well have been known by the U. S. colonists has been the basis of a theory of the origin of the national flag's design. The Flag Act of 1777 by the Continental Congress authorized a new official national flag of a design similar to that of the Colors, with thirteen stars on a field of blue replacing the British Union Flag in the canton; the resolution describes only "a new constellation" for the arrangement of the white stars in the blue canton so a number of designs were interpreted and made with a circle of equal stars, another circle with one star in the center, various designs of or alternate horizontal rows of stars the "Bennington flag" from Bennington, Vermont which had the number "76" surmounted by an arch of 13 stars also becoming known in 1976 as the "Bicentennial Flag".
The combined crosses in the British Union flag symbolized the union of the Kingdom of England and the Kingdom of Scotland. The symbolism of a union of equal parts was retained in the new U. S. flag, as described in the Flag Resolution of June 14, 1777. Betsy Ross flag Flag of the East India Company Ansoff, Peter, "The Flag on Prospect Hill", Raven: A Journal of Vexillology, 13: 77–100, ISSN 1071-0043, LCCN 94642220. Fawcett, Charles, "The Striped Flag of the East India Company, its Connexion with the American'Stars and Stripes'", Mariners Mirror. Hamilton, Schuyler.. History of the National Flag of the United States of America Leepson, Flag: An American Biography, ISBN 0-312-32308-5. Preble, George Henry, History of the Flag of the United States of America. Grand Union Flag at Flags of the World
United States Air Force
The United States Air Force is the aerial and space warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces. It is one of the five branches of the United States Armed Forces, one of the seven American uniformed services. Formed as a part of the United States Army on 1 August 1907, the USAF was established as a separate branch of the U. S. Armed Forces on 18 September 1947 with the passing of the National Security Act of 1947, it is the youngest branch of the U. S. Armed Forces, the fourth in order of precedence; the USAF is the largest and most technologically advanced air force in the world. The Air Force articulates its core missions as air and space superiority, global integrated intelligence and reconnaissance, rapid global mobility, global strike, command and control; the U. S. Air Force is a military service branch organized within the Department of the Air Force, one of the three military departments of the Department of Defense; the Air Force, through the Department of the Air Force, is headed by the civilian Secretary of the Air Force, who reports to the Secretary of Defense, is appointed by the President with Senate confirmation.
The highest-ranking military officer in the Air Force is the Chief of Staff of the Air Force, who exercises supervision over Air Force units and serves as one of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Air Force components are assigned, as directed by the Secretary of Defense, to the combatant commands, neither the Secretary of the Air Force nor the Chief of Staff of the Air Force have operational command authority over them. Along with conducting independent air and space operations, the U. S. Air Force provides air support for land and naval forces and aids in the recovery of troops in the field; as of 2017, the service operates more than 5,369 military aircraft, 406 ICBMs and 170 military satellites. It has a $161 billion budget and is the second largest service branch, with 318,415 active duty airmen, 140,169 civilian personnel, 69,200 reserve airmen, 105,700 Air National Guard airmen. According to the National Security Act of 1947, which created the USAF: In general, the United States Air Force shall include aviation forces both combat and service not otherwise assigned.
It shall be organized and equipped for prompt and sustained offensive and defensive air operations. The Air Force shall be responsible for the preparation of the air forces necessary for the effective prosecution of war except as otherwise assigned and, in accordance with integrated joint mobilization plans, for the expansion of the peacetime components of the Air Force to meet the needs of war. §8062 of Title 10 US Code defines the purpose of the USAF as: to preserve the peace and security, provide for the defense, of the United States, the Territories and possessions, any areas occupied by the United States. The stated mission of the USAF today is to "fly and win...in air and cyberspace". "The United States Air Force will be a trusted and reliable joint partner with our sister services known for integrity in all of our activities, including supporting the joint mission first and foremost. We will provide compelling air and cyber capabilities for use by the combatant commanders. We will excel as stewards of all Air Force resources in service to the American people, while providing precise and reliable Global Vigilance and Power for the nation".
The five core missions of the Air Force have not changed since the Air Force became independent in 1947, but they have evolved, are now articulated as air and space superiority, global integrated intelligence and reconnaissance, rapid global mobility, global strike, command and control. The purpose of all of these core missions is to provide, what the Air Force states as, global vigilance, global reach, global power. Air superiority is "that degree of dominance in the air battle of one force over another which permits the conduct of operations by the former and its related land, sea and special operations forces at a given time and place without prohibitive interference by the opposing force". Offensive Counterair is defined as "offensive operations to destroy, disrupt, or neutralize enemy aircraft, launch platforms, their supporting structures and systems both before and after launch, but as close to their source as possible". OCA is the preferred method of countering air and missile threats since it attempts to defeat the enemy closer to its source and enjoys the initiative.
OCA comprises attack operations, sweep and suppression/destruction of enemy air defense. Defensive Counter air is defined as "all the defensive measures designed to detect, identify and destroy or negate enemy forces attempting to penetrate or attack through friendly airspace". A major goal of DCA operations, in concert with OCA operations, is to provide an area from which forces can operate, secure from air and missile threats; the DCA mission comprises both passive defense measures. Active defense is "the employment of limited offensive action and counterattacks to deny a contested area or position to the enemy", it includes both ballistic missile defense and air-breathing threat defense, encompasses point defense, area defense, high-value airborne asset defense. Passive defense is "measures taken to reduce the probability of and to minimize the effects of damage caused by hostile action without the intention of taking the initiative", it includes warning.
Flag of the United States
The flag of the United States of America referred to as the American flag, is the national flag of the United States. It consists of thirteen equal horizontal stripes of red alternating with white, with a blue rectangle in the canton bearing fifty small, five-pointed stars arranged in nine offset horizontal rows, where rows of six stars alternate with rows of five stars; the 50 stars on the flag represent the 50 states of the United States of America, the 13 stripes represent the thirteen British colonies that declared independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain, became the first states in the U. S. Nicknames for the flag include the Stars and Stripes, Old Glory, the Star-Spangled Banner; the current design of the U. S. flag is its 27th. The 48-star flag was in effect for 47 years until the 49-star version became official on July 4, 1959; the 50-star flag was ordered by the president Eisenhower on August 21, 1959, was adopted in July 1960. It is the longest-used version of the U. S. has been in use for over 58 years.
At the time of the Declaration of Independence in July 1776, the Continental Congress would not adopt flags with "stars, white in a blue field" for another year. The flag contemporaneously known as "the Continental Colors" has been referred to as the first national flag; the Continental Navy raised the Colors as the ensign of the fledgling nation in the American War for Independence—likely with the expedient of transforming their previous British red ensigns by adding white stripes—and would use this flag until 1777, when it would form the basis for the subsequent de jure designs. The name "Grand Union" was first applied to the Continental Colors by George Preble in his 1872 history of the U. S. flag. The flag resembles the British East India Company flag of the era, Sir Charles Fawcett argued in 1937 that the company flag inspired the design. Both flags could have been constructed by adding white stripes to a British Red Ensign, one of the three maritime flags used throughout the British Empire at the time.
However, an East India Company flag could have from nine to 13 stripes, was not allowed to be flown outside the Indian Ocean. Benjamin Franklin once gave a speech endorsing the adoption of the Company's flag by the United States as their national flag, he said to George Washington, "While the field of your flag must be new in the details of its design, it need not be new in its elements. There is in use a flag, I refer to the flag of the East India Company." This was a way of symbolising American loyalty to the Crown as well as the United States' aspirations to be self-governing, as was the East India Company. Some colonists felt that the Company could be a powerful ally in the American War of Independence, as they shared similar aims and grievances against the British government tax policies. Colonists therefore flew the Company's flag. However, the theory that the Grand Union Flag was a direct descendant of the flag of the East India Company has been criticised as lacking written evidence. On the other hand, the resemblance is obvious, a number of the Founding Fathers of the United States were aware of the East India Company's activities and of their free administration of India under Company rule.
In any case, both the stripes and the stars have precedents in classical heraldry. Mullets were comparatively rare in early modern heraldry, but an example of mullets representing territorial divisions predating the U. S. flag are those in the coat of arms of Valais of 1618, where seven mullets stood for seven districts. On June 14, 1777, the Second Continental Congress passed the Flag Resolution which stated: "Resolved, That the flag of the thirteen United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white. Flag Day is now observed on June 14 of each year. While scholars still argue about this, tradition holds that the new flag was first hoisted in June 1777 by the Continental Army at the Middlebrook encampment; the first official U. S. flag flown during battle was on August 3, 1777, at Fort Schuyler during the Siege of Fort Stanwix. Massachusetts reinforcements brought news of the adoption by Congress of the official flag to Fort Schuyler. Soldiers cut up their shirts to make the white stripes.
Abraham Swartwout's blue cloth coat. A voucher is extant that Capt. Swartwout of Dutchess County was paid by Congress for his coat for the flag; the 1777 resolution was most meant to define a naval ensign. In the late 18th century, the notion of a national flag was only nascent; the flag resolution appears between other resolutions from the Marine Committee. On May 10, 1779, Secretary of the Board of War Richard Peters expressed concern "it is not yet settled what is the Standard of the United States." However, the term, "Standard," referred to a national standard for the Army of the United States. Each regiment was to carry the national standard in addition to its regimental standard; the national standard was not a reference to the naval flag. The Flag Resolution did not specify any particular arrangement, number of points, nor orientation for the stars and the arrangement or whether the flag had to have seven red stripes and six white ones or vice versa; the appearance was up to the maker of the flag.
Some flag makers arranged the stars into one big star, in a circle or in rows and some re