Home News Stories 2004 August Flags and Banners at FBI Headquarters

Flags and Banners at FBI Headquarters

Flags and Banners at FBI Headquarters
Honoring America's History

Photo of JEH with flags

08/06/04

To our surprise, we've had a lot of questions recently about the flags and banners you see flying in this picture of FBI Headquarters. In fact, they tell quite a bit about the proud history of the United States.

Since 1975, at the dedication of our HQ building, we have been proud to be part of Pennsylvania Avenue, "the Nation's ceremonial route"our role, to illustrate the development of the Stars and Stripes since 1775. Ten historic flags are flanked on either side by today's 50-star flag, representing the 50 states of the Union.

Please walk with us from 10th street, on the left, to 9th street to view these 10 historic flags:

The Grand Union, or Continental Colors, serving from 1775-1777, was first raised on January 1, 1776, on Mount Pigsah, Massachusetts, about the time the Continental army came into formal existence. It combined the British Union Jack and 13 stripes, signifying Colonial unity.
The Flag of 1777, which had no official arrangement for the 13 stars. It was flown by John Paul Jones on the USS Ranger and was the first American flag to be recognized by a foreign power.
The Betsy Ross Flag, 13 stars, designed by George Washington, Betsy Ross, and Francis Hopkinson. Although rarely used, it was adopted by Congress on June 14, 1777--the official date of today's Flag Day.
The Bennington Flag, 13 six-pointed stars, allegedly flown August 16, 1777, over military stores at the Battle of Bennington, Vermont, when the Vermont militia beat back a superior British force.
The Star Spangled Banner, 15 stars and 15 stripes, immortalized by Francis Scott Key in our National Anthem during the bombardment of Ft. McHenry, Maryland, in September 13, 1814.
The Flag of 1818, 20 stars, commissioned by a Congressional Flag Act that returned the design to 13 stripes and stipulated that stars be added for each new state.
The Great Star Flag, 20 stars, designed by Captain Samuel Chester Reid, U.S. Navy, at the request of New York Congressman Peter Wendover and flown over the U.S. Capitol on April 13, 1818.
The Lincoln Flag, 34 stars, raised by President Lincoln on February 22, 1861, over Philadelphia's Independence Hall to send a message to Southern states, which were preparing to secede from the Union.
The Iwo Jima Flag, 48 stars, which was commissioned in 1912 but came to symbolize our Nation on February 19, 1945, when U.S. Marines raised it on Mount Suribachi after fearful fighting in World War II's Pacific campaign.
The 49-Star Flag, commissioned in 1959 when Alaska achieved full Statehood. It flew for only one year, until July 4, 1960, after Hawaii achieved its Statehood and when today's 50-star flag became official.

What about the large banner streaming from the corner of 9th and Penn? It and its twin on 10th and Penn have been flying since May 29, 2004, after we were invited to be part of the dedication of Washington's World War II Memorial this past Memorial Day, honoring the 16 million who served and the over 400,000 who died in World War II. This banner, of course, uses the 48-star format of The Iwo Jima Flag.

And that flag around the corner, on 9th street? It's the 50-star flag, which our FBI police reverently raise each day at 5 am and take down at dusk.