On this Fourth of July weekend, you are likely to see America’s colors in food, in the air, and adorning all kinds of clothing and accessories. Red, white and blue are symbolic of America and for all that it stands. How and why did these three colors come to symbolize the USA? For that, we have to look back in history.
The American flag was adopted in 1777. At the time, no symbolism was assigned to the colors. However, red white and blue were used in the Great Seal and was explained by Charles Thomson, Secretary of the Continental Congress, to the Congress that white stood for purity and innocence, red represented hardiness and valor, and blue stood for vigilance, perseverance and justice. The colors were also borrowed from the Union Jack, which itself took elements from the original national flags of England, Ireland and Scotland.
Throughout America’s history, the symbolism of the flag’s colors has been expanded upon. In 1986, President Reagan stated that, “The colors of our flag signify the qualities of the human spirit we Americans cherish, red for courage and readiness to sacrifice, white for pure intentions and high ideals, and blue for vigilance and justice.”
Today, many consider the red stripes to be symbolic of blood shed by US Armed Forces in defense of America.
Aside from the meanings that we have given to red white and blue, there are some additional meanings and emotions that the colors evoke. White can symbolize purity, innocence, cleanliness, a sense of space, clarity and simplicity. Red stands for strength, warmth, energy, passion, physical courage, love, romance and life. Blue can mean wisdom, loyalty, truth, focus, calm, serenity, trust, duty and intelligence.
Many other countries in the world agree with the meaning of the red, white and blue. Australia, Cambodia, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, the Czech Republic, the Dominican Republic, France, Haiti, Iceland, Laos, Liberia, Malaysia, Nepal, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, the Philippines, Russia, Samoa, Slovakia, Slovenia, Taiwan, and Thailand all use red, white and blue in their national flags.
This holiday weekend, make sure to appreciate the meaning behind the red, white and blue. Have a happy and safe 4th of July!