The fifty stars denote the states. The 13 stripes alternating in red and white, stand for the 13 states that rose against the British Empire. The red color stands for courage, the white for purity and blue for justice. This interpretation is based on the records of the 1782 Confederate Congress. The Continental Congress made no mention of why these colors were chosen.
A study of the meaning of the US flag will show that other connotations are attached to the colors. The red was drawn from the British flag and the white symbolized the colonists’ secession. The blue and the stars stood for the heavens.
Other legends suggest that the star shape indicated that there is no limit to the hopes and dreams of men and women. The five pointed stars could also represent the sun’s rays, a symbol of light and hope.
Others believe that the flag should be appreciated as a whole. For them, the colors, stars and stripes represent the freedom of the individual. It also symbolizes the government and the Declaration of Intendance itself. In other words, it signifies everything that the forefathers fought and died for.
Any examination of the meaning of the US flag would be useless without knowing the etiquette. These include never dipping it to any individual or group, nor should it fall to the ground. Any flag that gets worn out should be replaced. The old one shouldn’t be thrown out. The proper way to dispose of it is by burning.
US Federal law also prohibits the use of the flag for commercial purposes. This rule is being violated constantly. However, there is no punishment for anyone not obeying the guidelines. The reason is that it runs counter to the provisions in the First Amendment.
The desecration of the flag is frowned upon, but it is considered part of one’s right to free speech and expression. There have been proposals to impose penalties though.
The meaning of the US flag when at half-staff is one of mourning. There are official dates when it is lowered. These include September 11, Armed Forces Day and Memorial Day. It is also lowered when the President dies, or the Vice President or members of the Congress and Senate. The flag is also lowered when a member of the Supreme Court dies.
The President may issue a nationwide proclamation to lower the flag. State officials may also issue directives to lower the flag if needed. Individuals may also lower the flag if they are in mourning or to show respect.
In the end though, the meaning of the US flag comes down to the individual. It may signify different things for different people. That everyone will have the right to decide what the flag stands for is in keeping with the principles of the forefathers.