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United States of America

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[U.S. flag] image by Joe McMillan, 6 May 2003
Flag adopted 4 July 1960, coat of arms adopted 20 June 1782.
Flag Color Shades
U.S. Capital: Washington D.C.

The U.S. flag consists of 13 stripes, alternate red and white, representing the 13 original colonies/states. The canton consists of a blue field containing a white star for every state in the union.

Other Flags:

See also:

External links:

In 1960, a star was added, representing Hawaii, bringing the total number of stars to 50. There are thirteen stripes representing the thirteen original colonies.

According to President Dwight Eisenhower's Executive Order (#10834, published 25 August, 1959) the 50-Star flag would become the "official flag of the United States on July 4, 1960."
Nick Artimovich, 21 February 1996

What Shade of Red/White/Blue

The official specification for federal procurements of U.S. flags is set by the General Services Administration. At the Defense Technology Information Center website is GSA "Federal Specification, Flag, National, United States of America and Flag, Union Jack," DDD-F-416E, dated November 27, 1981. It specifies the colors by reference to "Standard Color Cards of America" maintained by the Color Association of the United States, Inc. This is a color system designed for textile use - appropriate, since flags are made of cloth! The specifications are:
      Cable No. 70180    Old Glory Red
      Cable No. 70001    White
      Cable No. 70075    Old Glory Blue

Various sources give different Pantone equivalencies for these colors. The most plausibly authoritative are those provided on miscellaneous American Embassy websites, including American Embassy London. It gives the red as PMS 193 and the blue as PMS 282. On the other hand, Texas state law says the Texas state flag has the same colors as the U.S. flag, and that they are red PMS193 and blue PMS281.

It should be noted that flags produced other than for the executive branch of the government are not bound by any of this.

Joe McMillan, 25 September 2001

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