By Melissa Rayner
Happy Birthday, America! To honor the soldiers who gave so much in order to defend the American flag, I’d like to take a look back at the history of our stars and stripes, using Smithsonian Collections Online as our guide.
No doubt, you’ve definitely heard of Francis Scott Key, and you’ve likely heard of Betsy Ross as well. But what about Amelia Bold Fowler? Because of her inventive fabric restoration technique and hard work, we were able to save the very flag that inspired the writing of the national anthem. Although she was born British, Fowler helped to preserve one of the most important pieces of American history.
If you’d like to learn even more about the flag Fowler helped to restore, you can find it on display at Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, along with some vintage “rockets red glare”.
The flag is so much more than a piece of pretty fabric. It stands for our values, our victories, and our selves. Just check out the living tributes created by thousands of service men and women showing off their patriotism for the camera.
Melissa is obsessed with books, birds, and bonbons. She is a new mom and holds an MA in Applied Sociology. She also writes fiction and skips about the interweb as Emlyn Chand.
- Stewart, Doug. “How Many Sailors Does It Take to Make an American Flag?” Smithsonian Magazine Jan. 1996: 58+. Smithsonian Collections Online. Web. 28 Apr. 2015. 
- Winters, Franklin. “The Seamstress Who Saved Our Most Famous Flag.” Smithsonian Magazine July 1970: 62+. Smithsonian Collections Online. Web. 28 Apr. 2015. 
- Winter, Frank. “Through the Perilous Fight.” Air and Space Magazine Sept. 2014: 20+. Smithsonian Collections Online. Web. 28 Apr. 2015.