The 50-Star American Flag’s Humble Origins

In 1958, amidst the 48-state America, Bob Heft, a high schooler inspired by Betsy Ross, took on a class project to redesign the U.S. flag in anticipation of Alaska and Hawaii joining the Union. Despite his meticulous layout of 50 stars, his teacher dismissed it with a B minus, claiming Heft was clueless about the current number of states.

Undeterred, Heft saw an opportunity. Determined to prove the worth of his design, he embarked on a two-year journey, lobbying Washington and even enlisting the support of his state representative. His persistence paid off when President Eisenhower selected his 50-star flag out of a thousand submissions. On July 4th, 1960, Heft witnessed his school project transform into the official American flag at the White House. In 2007, it became the longest-running U.S. flag, and yes, his grade was finally upgraded to an A.

Not one to rest, Heft looked ahead and crafted a 51-star design, just in case Washington, DC, or Puerto Rico attained statehood. Though he passed away in 2009, his legacy remains. So if D.C. or Puerto Rico becomes a state, Heft’s foresight might yet again reshape the stars and stripes!

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