Sentimental writers and orators sometimes ascribe meanings to the colors in the flag, but this practice is erroneous, as are statements on this subject attributed to George Washington and other founders of the country. The colors red, white, and blue were clearly derived from British sources; many English flags had red and white stripes. The book Our Flag published in 1989 by the House of Representatives states:
"On July 4, 1776, the Continental Congress passed a resolution authorizing a committee to devise a seal for the United States of America. This mission, designed to reflect the Founding Fathers' beliefs, values, and sovereignty of the new Nation, did not become a reality until June 20, 1782. In heraldic devices, such as seals, each element has a specific meaning. Even colors have specific meanings. The colors red, white, and blue did not have meanings for the Stars and Stripes 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 and valor, and blue, the color of the Chief (the broad band above the stripes) signifies vigilance, perseverance, and justice.'"
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