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FAQ, Trivia and Information on Life in America: Ask-A-Desi

This section will attempt to address some of the Frequently Asked Questions on Life in the US, Canada and North America that immigrants, visitors and others from different cultures attempt to address. If you have any additional inputs or wish  to see more topics addressed, mail us at

The flag of the United States is one of the nation's widely recognized and used symbols. Within the U.S. it is frequently displayed, not only on public buildings, but on private residences, as well as iconically in forms such as decals for car windows, and clothing ornaments such as badges and lapel pins. Throughout the world it is used in public discourse to refer to the U.S., both as a nation state, government, and set of policies, but also as an ideology and set of ideas.

Story of the Old Glory (American Flag)

The Pledge of Allegiance: I Pledge Allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. Written in 1892, this pledge is recited in schools before classes begin and it serves as a sign of unity and identity for the various groups of people who have come from so many different lands and cultures. The pledge begins, "I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America." Even the immigrants who come from distant lands must recite this pledge to the flag when they become eligible for citizenship. -

US Flag Facts

Evolution of the United States Flag: No one knows with absolute certainty who designed the first stars and stripes or who made it. Congressman Francis Hopkinson seems most likely to have designed it, and few historians believe that Betsy Ross, a Philadelphia seamstress, made the first one. Read More

Flag of the United States, popularly called the American flag, consists of 13 horizontal stripes, 7 red alternating with 6 white, and in the upper corner near the staff, a rectangular blue field, or canton, containing 50 five-pointed white stars. The stripes symbolize the 13 colonies that originally constituted the United States of America. The stars represent the present 50 states of the Union.

The 50 stars design is w.e.f July 4, 1960, as Hawaii became 50th state on August 21, 1959.

The American Flag has a name: "Old Glory". Other nicknames are "Star-Spangled Banner", "Stars And Strips" and "Red-White-Blue".

Significance of the colors

  • The color red represents valor, fervency and zeal.
  • The color white is for hope, purity, rectitude and cleanliness of life.
  • The color blue is for heaven, reverence to God, justice and truth.

June 14 is now observed as Flag Day throughout the United States.

On Memorial Day, the flag should be hung at half-mast until noon, when it should be raised to the top of the staff.

Post Sept 11th 2001, we are seeing the flag more often and at every conceivable place. Believe it or not, my using Discover credit card which is having the US flag design, brought a glow on people's face during the troubled-times we Indians faced in some parts of the US. I was at Maryland at that time and not much trouble there.


Why is the US flag painted backward on Aircraft & Space shuttles?

Reverse US Flag on Aircraft's Right-side

Normally, the stars are located on the upper left portion of the American flag, but it is not uncommon to see aircraft where the stars (also known as the canton) are on the upper right, especially on aircraft's right side and space shuttle. But why so?

Proper display of the flag in motion emanates from a single principle. The flag always 'flies forward'. i.e, the canton (stars) on the flag is oriented towards the front of the moving object as though it were being carried on a staff and moving in a forward direction.

The custom is to display the American flags on the both sides of a plane, usually on the vertical stabilizer in the back of the aircraft.

If you happen to be looking at the left side of the aircraft (the left side from the passenger's point of view) the stars will be on the left (or normal position);

If you walk around to the right side of the aircraft, the canton will be on your right!

Should I fly my flag at half-staff today?
When to half-staff the flag:

  • May 15 — Peace Officers Memorial Day: half-staff from sunrise to sunset
  • Last Monday in May — Memorial Day: the flag should be displayed at half-staff until noon
  • September 11 — Patriot Day: half-staff from sunrise to sunset
  • December 7 — National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day: half-staff from sunrise to sunset
  • Upon reliable information that a past or present President, Vice-President, Chief Justice, or Speaker of the House has died
  • Upon proclamation from the President or your state's governor. Check if the President has issued a proclamation to half-staff the flag.

Links of Interest:

  • A website dedicated to the Flag of the United States
  • Old Glory: Old Glory is a common nickname for the Flag of the United States, bestowed by William Driver, an early nineteenth century American sea captain. However, it also refers specifically to the flag owned by Driver, which has become one of the U.S.'s most treasured historical artifacts. - Wikipedia


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Trivia and Questions for Indians and Immigrants in America

General Trivia : Introduction //Dollars and Cents // Social Security Number // About Mail and USPS // Story of The Old Glory // Green Card– Why Not Green? // Telephone Area Codes // Convex Mirrors and Caution // Bankruptcy and Chapter 11 // Radio and TV Broadcasting // Consumerism: Trivia on Wal-Mart. // Retail Trivia // Gas Prices– What's 0.9 Cent? // Roads and Interstate Highways // Road Driving Trivia // Finance 101 // Daylight Saving Time // Trivia on Etiquette

FAQ Disclaimer: All information provided in these FAQ’s is deemed to be accurate by the author.  Due care has been exercised to ensure the veracity of this information and guidelines. However, there may be error (s) and omission (s) and all information is subject to change., and its affiliates do not assume any liability for the information provided herein. The reader is strongly recommended to confirm this information from official sources.

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