A Teenager Designed America's 50-star flag
In 1959, Robert G. Heck was a 17-year-old Boy Scout living near Columbus, Ohio. For a high school civics assignment, Bobby designed and sewed a 50-star flag in anticipation of Hawaii becoming the 50th state. His teacher gave him a B- and made a deal with the disappointed teen: If the flag were ever adopted, he would change the grade to an A.
Undeterred, Bobby sent his flag to the Ohio governor who displayed it in the Ohio State Capitol Building and the Governor's Mansion. After the flag was returned to Bobby, he sent it to his congressman, Walter Henry Moeller, who presented it to a design committee.
Then Bobby received a call from President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who informed him that Bobby's design had been selected as the new national flag. He was even invited to the White House!
When he grew up, Bobby would serve as the mayor of Napoleon, Ohio for 20 years and loved talking about his flag experience. He died in 2009 and his grave is marked with a flag and the inscription "Designer of America's 50-Star Flag."
Historians argue that many Americans and the military likely submitted the same design. In fact, the Army Institute of Heraldry lists David B. Martucci as the official designer. But Bobby's story, like that of Betsy Ross, lives in our collective American history and reinforces the idea that Americans proudly look to our flag as a symbol of our nation's highest ideals.
What about that grade? Yes, Bobby received his A.
Remember, an American-made flag makes an excellent gift for Father's Day. Happy 4th of July from Elmer's Flag and Banner!
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