Sunday, July 1

True or False: Betsy Ross and the American Flag

[Above was painted in 1950 by Walter Haskell Hinton.]

I am fully aware that my blog is seen to people all over the world so I will try to explain things.
On the Friday edition of The Late Show with Jay Leno, Jay Leno did his famous 'Jay-Walking' and asked random Americans on the street some basic questions on America's Independence Day. Wednesday is what is commonly known in the states as 'the 4th of July.' He asked the audience and they got all the answers right: Who was the famous general of the war for Independence? (George Washignton), What year did we declare our independence? (1776) Who did we get our independence from? (Britain) Who sewed the American flag? (Betsy Ross) Well, needless to say no one could answer the questions.

Now, I checked on Betsy Ross and it turns out to highly disputed that she was the one to sew the flag. Now, a lot of people don't trust Wikipedia, but there are a lot of urban legends. Especially about George Washington. There is a myth that his teeth were made of wood and that he chopped his dad's cherry tree when he was a kid. Now, it is said that is not true. That the cherry tree story was used as a analogy for that he could tell the truth. There is no evidence for this theory exists beyond Ross' descendants' much later recollections of what she told her family. Another woman, Rebecca Young, has also been credited as having made the first flag by later generations of her family. Betsy had told them, in June 1776, she received a visit from George Washington, George Ross and Robert Morris of the Continental Congress.--who dubbed themselves the "Committee of Three." She had met Washington through their mutual worship at Christ Church (and she had sewn buttons for him previously). They showed her a suggested design that was drawn up by Washington in pencil. The design had six-pointed stars, and Betsy, the family story goes, suggested five-pointed stars instead because she could make a five-pointed star in one snip. The flag was sewn from American grown hemp by Betsy in her parlor. says: "Congressman Francis Hopkinson seems most likely to have designed it, and few historians believe that Betsy Ross, a Philadelphia seamstress, made the first one." The easiest answer--which country we got our independence from--I expected everyone to know, it is hilarious that no one knows.

Now here are some facts:
-In 1778, General George Washington marked the Fourth of July with a double ration of rum for his soldiers and an artillery salute.
-After fighting broke out in April 1775, Washington appeared at the Second Continental Congress in military uniform, signaling that he was prepared for war. Although he didn't explicitly seek the office of commander and even claimed that he was not equal to it, there was no serious competition.