The Current ’50 Star’ U.S. Flag was Designed in Michigan as Part of School Project
There have been many variations of the official flag of the United States during our country's history, generally, the addition of more stars every time a state or multiple states became a part of the union. But it has remained unchanged for over 60 years as the addition of Hawaii in 1959 led to the last change when the 50th star was added to Old Glory on July 4, 1960. This is the longest amount of time in U.S. history that the flag has remained unchanged.
The 50 stars on the flag, of course, represent each state and the stripes represent the original 13 British colonies that declared independence from Great Britain leading to the Revolutionary War.
The Michigan Connection
A man named Robert G. "Bob" Heft was born in Saginaw on January 19, 1941, and is credited as the designer of the current '50 star' U.S. flag. Heft passed away in 2009 at the age of 67, and the Saginaw News did a nice feature about him shortly after he passed away along with the story of how he ended up designing the flag.
Heft was 17-years-old in 1958 and received an unusual phone call from a very important person. The teenager realizes he was speaking with the President of the United States at the time, Dwight D. Eisenhower. Heft learned that a recent high school project he had participated in was going to end up much more important than he ever could have imagined. A 50-star flag he designed had been selected to represent the United States and still does to this day.
A Life Heft Never Expected
Even though he was surprised to have his flag chosen, he was even more surprised about the legacy that followed related to it. During his life, Heft visited the White House 14 times under nine presidents and even got to tour with Bob Hope.
“He was such an amazing guy, what an amazing person he was,” he said. “I am certain that when God asked if he was speaking to Robert G. Heft, Bob replied with a smile, ‘Yes, but you can call me Bob.’ ”
You can learn more about Heft from Wikipedia and at usflag.org, where they relate that his design actually received a B- in school because it lacked originality. But his teacher said he would get a higher grade if he could get Congress to accept the design. Well, it looks like he did end up earning that higher grade.