Fifty-Star U.S. Flag

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Ohioan Robert G. Heft is credited with designing the fifty-star United States flag. Stanley Pratt, Heft's teacher, asked his students to design a flag for the admittance of Hawaii and Alaska as states in the United States. Heft chose to model his design on the previously used 48 star flag and arranged the fifty white stars on a blue background in alternating horizontal rows. Five rows had six stars, and four rows had five stars. Seven alternating horizontal red and six white stripes completed the flag, representing the original thirteen colonies. The flag's three colors -- red, white, and blue -- represent respectively courage, purity, and justice. It took Heft 12.5 hours to sew the flag together.

Stanley Pratt gave Heft a B- as the grade for the flag. Pratt supposedly stated that Heft's design lacked originality, but the teacher did offer to raise the grade if Heft could get the flag accepted as the United States' national flag. Heft sent his flag to Walter Moeller, his Ohio Congressman, who submitted it to the U.S. Flag Selection Committee. Heft's design was adopted as the new United States flag on July 4, 1960.

When Alaska and Hawaii were being considered for Statehood, more than 1,500 designs were spontaneously submitted to President Dwight D. Eisenhower by Americans. Although some of them were 49-star versions, the vast majority were 50-star proposals. At least three, and probably more, of these designs were identical to the present design of the 50-star flag.  

Heft's original flag has flown over the White House, every state capital building, and eighty-eight United States embassies. Heft's design was the twenty-seventh official flag of the United States.

See Also