AMERICAN FLAG’S HISTORY

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       The United States flag is far more than the red, white, and blue cloth of which it is made. As a living symbol of America it stands for the past, present and future of this country. It sym­bolizes American people, American land and American way of life. The flag represents the men and women who built Ame­rica. It reminds us of the native Americans who inhabited the continent for thousands of years, of Pilgrims finding a place to worship their God, of pioneers building homes in a new land, of Washington leading a young nation, of Lincoln holding that nation together, of Martin Luther King Junior’s dream of jus­tice and equality for all, and of the men and women of all races and beliefs who fought and died for this country.

      The flag of the United States of America has 13 stripes — 7 red and 6 white — and 50 white stars on a blue field. The stripes remind us of the 13 original colonies gained and uni­ted by Americans. The stars represent the 50 American states.

      The flag of today evolved out of many earlier flags raised in days gone by. For several centuries after European explo­rers first sailed to North America, the flags of Spain, Holland, France, England and Sweden flew over different parts of the continent. An English flag known as the Red Ensign waved over American colonies from 1707 until the beginning of the Revolutionary War. It was the merchant flag of England.When the revolution started in 1775, the colonies wanted a flag of their own. That new flag, the Grand Union, was raised over George Washington’s headquarters outside Boston on January 1, 1776. On June 14 of the following year, the Conti­nental Congress meeting in Philadelphia chose a design for the first official flag of the United States of America. Today Ame­ricans celebrate June 14 as Flag Day. When two more states joined the Union in 1795, the American flag gained 2 stars and 2 stripes, bringing to 15 the total of each. That Star-Span­gled Banner flew above Fort McHenry during the British bom­bardment in 1824, inspiring Francis Scott Key to write Ame­rican national anthem.

      As more states joined the United States, Americans rea­lized the flag would become an awkward shape of additional stripes sewn to it. The Congress restored the design to the ori­ginal 13 stripes, and decided that a star would be added to the blue field for each new state. The 50-th star — for Hawaii — was added on July 4, 1960.

 

 

 

QUESTIONS:

  1. What is the United States flag made of?
  2. What does the flag symbolize and remind us of?
  3. What is the today’s design of the flag of the United States of America?
  4. Why did the flags of different countries fly over diffe­rent parts of the continent for several centuries?
  5. What were earlier flags raised on the territory of the United States before the today’s design of the official flag?
  6. When do Americans celebrate Flag Day?
  7. What was the name of the flag that inspired Francis Scott Key to write American national anthem?
  8. Why was the design of the United States flag restored to the original 13 stripes?
  9. What do the stars on the blue field represent?

 

 

 

VOCABULARY:

cloth — материя, ткань

stand for, symbolize — символизировать, означать

way of life — образ жизни

to remind — напоминать

to inhabit — населять

to worship — поклоняться, почитать

justice — справедливость, правосудие

equality - равенство

belief — верование

a stripe — полоса

to gain — добывать

to evolve out — развиваться из

merchant flag — торговый флаг

headquarters — штаб-квартира

bombardment — бомбардировка, обстрел

anthem — гимн

awkward — неуклюжий, странный

to sew (p.p. sewed или sewn) — шить, нашивать

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