Betsy Ross And The Flag
: MEMORIAL DAY
: Good Stories For Great Holidays
BY HARRY PRINGLE FORD (ADAPTED)
On the 14th day of June, 1777, the Continental Congress passed the
following resolution: "RESOLVED, That the flag of the thirteen United
States be thirteen stripes alternate red and white; that the Union
be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new
We are told that previous to this, in 1776, a committee was appointed to
look after the matter, and together with General Washington they called
at the house of Betsy Ross, 239 Arch Street, Philadelphia.
Betsy Ross was a young widow of twenty-four heroically supporting
herself by continuing the upholstery business of her late husband, young
John Ross, a patriot who had died in the service of his country.
Betsy was noted for her exquisite needlework, and was engaged in the
The committee asked her if she thought she could make a flag from a
design, a rough drawing of which General Washington showed her. She
replied, with diffidence, that she did not know whether she could or
not, but would try. She noticed, however, that the star as drawn had six
points, and informed the committee that the correct star had but five.
They answered that as a great number of stars would be required, the
more regular form with six points could be more easily made than one
She responded in a practical way by deftly folding a scrap of
paper; then with a single clip of her scissors she displayed a true,
symmetrical, five-pointed star.
This decided the committee in her favor. A rough design was left for her
use, but she was permitted to make a sample flag according to her own
ideas of the arrangement of the stars and the proportions of the stripes
and the general form of the whole.
Sometime after its completion it was presented to Congress, and the
committee had the pleasure of informing Betsy Ross that her flag was
accepted as the Nation's standard.