On this day of American Independence, celebrating 236 years of freedom from the Kingdom of Great Britain, I thought it would be fitting to look at the origins of our American flag which represents this independence so well.
From the book "Our Flag" published in 1989 by the House of Representatives...
" …The colors red, white, and blue did not have meanings for the flag when it was adopted in 1777. However, the colors in the Great Seal did have specific meanings. Charles Thompson, Secretary of the Continental Congress, reporting to Congress on the Seal, stated:
"The colors of the pales (the vertical stripes) are those used in the flag of the United States of America; White signifies purity and innocence, Red, hardiness & valour, and Blue, the color of the Chief (the broad band above the stripes) signifies vigilance, perseverance & justice."
Also this from a book about the flag published in 1977 by the House of Representatives...
"The star is a symbol of the heavens and the divine goal to which man has aspired from time immemorial; the stripe is symbolic of the rays of light emanating from the sun."
It’s interesting to note that in Ancient Egypt, the colors red, white and blue were very significant in that they represented royal dominion. They were the colors of the main crowns worn by both Pharaoh and god. The White Crown represented dominion in Upper Egypt (southern Egypt). It was called the Hedjet. The roots of the White Crown was originally worn in Ancient Nubia and later adopted by Egyptians. The Red Crown of Lower Egypt (northern Egypt) was referred to as the Deshret. When both Upper and Lower Egypt were united first under the rule of Pharaoh Narmer, both crowns were connected, with the domed White Crown being placed in the opened Red Crown. This double crown was called the Pschent. The Blue Crown, called the Khepresh, was the crown worn in battle. Pharaoh Amenhotep III is depicted in the sculpture here wearing the blue battle crown.
I can’t help but think that the red, white and blue from Ancient Egypt were the origins of the colors of our American flag, especially since many symbols of the American culture possess origins in Ancient Egypt. Is it purely coincidental? Also, the stars on the flag, remind me of the goddess Nut who was the embodiment of the heavens. She is always depicted wearing a blue dress with white stars strewn all over it. Kind of like the famous left corner of our flag. The study of the stars was integral in Ancient Egyptian culture.
The stripes symbolize the rays of the sun or the chief god of Ancient Egypt, Amon-Ra or Re, whose rays, in the form of hands, are always depicted in Ancient Egyptian art as giving light, life and power. I just thought these coincidences were all too interesting not to share. Well, enjoy. Happy Independence Day!!!