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U.S. Congress

An iconic symbol through the years

I was first made of hemp, but today I am usually fashioned out of nylon or cotton. I can also be manufactured from plastic, aluminum or tin, and you will find me on coffee cups and T-shirts. Most often I am not even produced here but in places across the globe. I first bore the British Union Jack in my left corner. A woman in Philadelphia who was not Betsy Ross designed and sewed this early version. When her daughter moved to Baltimore, she carried on the family tradition by sewing a 30-by-42-foot version of me that famously flew over a harbor fort. The Second Continental Congress created the mullets and barriers design, otherwise known as stars and stripes. Tradition holds that a...