A New Flag Is Flown Over The U.S.

Although it did not become official until July 4, on April 13, 1818, a new flag was flown over the U.S. Capitol for the first time.

The flag's thirteen stripes represented the original colonies; its twenty stars symbolized the number of states in the Union at that time. Samuel C. Reid designed the flag, which was sewed by his wife and her friends, and sent it by mail to the Capitol. Congressman Peter H. Wendover arranged for the flag to fly over the Capitol on the same day that it was received in Washington, D.C. Since the arrangement of the stars was not yet standardized (and was not until 1912), the stars on Reid’s flag were arranged into one big star.

The first national flag, emblazoned with thirteen stripes and thirteen stars, was modified in 1795 when Kentucky and Vermont entered the Union. The flag with fifteen stars and fifteen stripes that flew over Fort McHenry during the War of 1812 inspired Francis Scott Key to write "The Star Spangled Banner."