The American Flag and What Makes It Distinct


us flags

There is etiquette when displaying or handling a flag. And that includes knowing the type of flag to use and understanding whether it should be displayed at all. In the USA, you will come across countless American flags, civilian and military, state and federal, historical and modern—so this article focuses on the different types of American flags only.

Flags are also according to how they differ in design and pattern. The basic principles of flag design include that a flag should be simple, distinct, symbolic, and distinctive from other flags. In the USA, what distinguishes a flag’s pattern is its star arrangement, the shape of each star, orientation on the blue canton (the piece of the American flag that contains the stars), and placing of text or an emblem on the flag.

The USA’s Flag: How The Star Arrangement Makes It Unique

A person flying a kite in a city

Ever wonder why there are 50 stars on the American flags? It’s because each star represents a state in the USA, its territories (which includes places like Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, and the US Virgin Islands), and Washington, D.C., which is not a state but still considered US soil.

The USA’s flag has one of the more unique star arrangements in the world because it features six rows of seven stars each. The rows signify strength and unity since it takes time to cut out seven evenly spaced holes in the fabric. Seven also happens to be the number of righteousness in the Bible. The stars within each row are also staggered, which signifies diversity and unity as well.

How Shape and Orientation of Each Star Makes it Unique

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The unique star arrangement is what makes this one of the most distinct flags around, but that’s not all that makes the American flag unique.

Each star on the American flag is with its particular orientation—some are upright, some tilted, and some point outwards to form a circle around another star.

How Text or Emblem Placement Makes it Distinctive

Another aspect that makes this one of the most iconic American flags in history is where the text or emblem is on the flag. The blue canton is always at the top left corner of an American flag, so all other elements are shifted towards this area. For example, if the text appears on a flag, it will be underneath or the right of the canton. It is true for flags with an emblem or seal as well.

How The Stars’ Arrangement Makes it Distinctive From Other Flags

Finally, another distinctive aspect of American flags patterns is that they’re to be displayed in a particular way—with the canton always on top. If you were to hang a flag vertically on a wall, at half-staff as is done, or part of a procession as in a parade, the canton would always be towards the viewer’s left.

Last Words

The American flag is one of a kind because of its distinct pattern. The stars’ arrangement in rows and staggered spacing signifies unity, while the text or emblem’s placement near the canton shows prominence. This pattern makes it one of a kind since flags with this star arrangement are rarely seen elsewhere in the world!

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