Inspector Pumphead loves the flag

Today, June 14 marks Flag Day, one of the more underrated holidays on the American calendar. It is a day to celebrate the that venerable symbol of American beauty, power and freedom, the Star-Spangled Banner. It’s not an official federal holiday – chances are you’re reading this it at work – but it has an interesting history of its own that deserves recognition nonetheless. 

Flag Day specifically celebrates the adoption of “Old Glory” as the official flag of the United States which occurred on June 14, 1777, a little less than a year after the Declaration of Independence. Flags are of course, an important emblem for a people or a country. They (ostensibly) represent something essential about the people who fly it.

In the case of the American flag, the symbolism is famously quite straightforward: the 13 stripes represent the original 13 colonies while the 50 stars represent the current 50 states. Red is meant to represent courage and valor, white represents a sense of purity and innocence and blue represents “vigilance, perseverance and justice.”

Of course, not everyone likes the design of the flag and would prefer an older version:

But now the flag, the colors and the stripes are a foundational part of American iconography. These symbols inspire reverence and devotion. You can argue that every country loves its flag. But have you ever noticed that other nations’ sports teams will often wear colors that have nothing to do with the national flag? American sports teams are always decked out in stars and stripes. We love the flag.

The flag has also been used in unexpected ways. Here’s a sampling of different art works that have been inspired by the flag. It is fascinating to see the different ways that people interpret the classic piece of American iconography. All these photos were taken from the wonderful “eflags” blog. The person who runs the blog aggregates different flag artworks from around the web. Visit the site for more!

Danh Vō – Pao Soft (2010)

Gold leaf on cardboard

Brandon Carleton – Untitled, Sioux City, Iowa (2015)

B.F. Perkins – Mailbox (1985)

Linda Hinrichs – Title unknown (1986)

Glass beads and metal tubing

Jasper Johns – Two Flags (Whitney Anniversary) (1980)


James Cross – Title unknown (1986)

Acrylic on fabric

Gail Rosenbloom Kaplan – American Flag (date unknown)


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