The Fifty-Star Flag

The following story is disputed:

In 1958, a seventeen-year-old high school student attending Lancaster High School in Ohio was given an American history project to design a flag for the country. Instead of doing the project in the necessary forty-eight-star pattern, Robert G. Heft decided to create a 50-star flag. He believed that within the next year, both Alaska and Hawaii would become states, so his project should reflect the coming changes. Therefore, he put 50 stars in four rows of five stars between five rows of six stars.

Heft believed that his project reflected what the country would soon look like. However, his history teacher disagreed. When he turned his assignment in to his teacher, he received a B- because his teacher believed that Heft did not know how many states were in the country.

Robert Heft’s teacher, Stanley Pratt, told him that his flag lacked originality and that if he could get Congress to adopt the flag, only then would he raise the grade.

Although Pratt likely challenged Heft, not believing anything would ever come of it, the young man still decided to take up the challenge. He sent his design to his congressman in Ohio, representative Walter Moeller. After not hearing back for a while, he got a phone call from the White House, where he was personally invited by Dwight D. Eisenhower to Washington, DC, for the July 4, 1960 flag ceremony.

Thanks to President Eisenhower, Heft’s grade was raised to an A.[1]

american flag, usa, flag-2043285.jpg

[1] “Frederick N. Rasmussen, “A Half-Century Ago, New 50-Star American Flag Debuted in Baltimore,” The Baltimore Sun, July 3, 2010.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *