The first flag of the United States had 13 stars and 13 stripes representing the original 13 states. It was placed into use in 1777 and lasted for 18 years.
When Kentucky and Vermont entered the union, a new flag was designed in 1795 with 15 stars and 15 stripes. Over the years, the flag has changed 26 times as new states joined the union. After July 4, 1818, only 13 stripes would be shown.
The current fifty-star flag was flown on July 4, 1960 almost a year after Hawaii joined the union on August 29, 1959. It became the custom after 1818 to place a new flag into use on the fourth of July.
The Dewey Lowman American Legion Post owns a copy of each of the 27 flags that have flown over the United States of America. This post has the only 27-flag marching unit in the nation. Each member of the unit wears a distinctive uniform blue coat, American Legion cap and tie, navy blue trousers, white gloves and black shoes.
The Dewey Lowman 27-flag unit serves two purposes. The first is to march in patriotic and community functions. The second is to educate the public, particularly the young, in regards to the history of the American flag and the pride of the American serviceman and woman in honoring that flag.
Ever since its formation, the 27-flag unit has displayed and explained the meaning of the historical flags to grammar, middle, and high school students. The music and poems read while reviewing each state’s admittance and affect on the design of the flag serves a distinct civic and patriotic function.
Senior Centers and other community entities and clubs also benefit greatly from this exposure to our country’s past and present. The unit has reported often how tears have flowed in senior centers as those from our “greatest generation” recalled loved ones who gave their lives defending the flag being displayed and the words of honor given it by members of the 27-flag unit.