The first flag of the United States had 13 stars and 13 stripes representing the original 13 states. It was placed into use in 1777 and lasted for 18 years.
When Kentucky and Vermont entered the union, a new flag was designed in 1795 with 15 stars and 15 stripes. Over the years, the flag has changed 26 times as new states joined the union. After July 4, 1818, only 13 stripes would be shown.
The current fifty-star flag was flown on July 4, 1960 almost a year after Hawaii joined the union on August 29, 1959. It became the custom after 1818 to place a new flag into use on the fourth of July.
The Dewey Lowman American Legion Post owns a copy of each of the 27 flags that have flown over the United States of America. This post has the only 27-flag marching unit in the nation. Each member of the unit wears a distinctive uniform blue coat, American Legion cap and tie, navy blue trousers, white gloves and black shoes.
Message from Commander Haney:
The Original 27 Flags...Doesn’t that title - that phrase - make you proud? When the group was formed in 1976 it was believed to be the first organized and continually supported group who displayed all the different versions of the flags that have flown over our country in an official capacity. The American Legion Dewey Lowman Post 109 was known, however fleetingly, by people in every state as we marched in two Presidential Inaugurations. We were there to honor Pope John II in the Baltimore parade. We traveled to at least three National Conventions of the American Legion and carried the flags proudly. Sadly, those times have passed.
I believe it is time to reinvigorate the unit. We have many members capable of marching in a parade but the interest just isn’t there. Our current post membership is over 1100; can’t we find 27 in that number to march? I ask you to consider dedicating some time keeping The Original 27 Flags a viable and valuable part of the community and The Legion Family.
The Original 27 Flags
The Dewey Lowman 27-flag unit serves two purposes. The first is to march in patriotic and community functions. The second is to educate the public, particularly the young, in regards to the history of the American flag and the pride of the American serviceman and woman in honoring that flag.
Ever since its formation, the 27-flag unit has displayed and explained the meaning of the historical flags to grammar, middle, and high school students. The music and poems read while reviewing each state’s admittance and affect on the design of the flag serves a distinct civic and patriotic function.
Senior Centers and other community entities and clubs also benefit greatly from this exposure to our country’s past and present. The unit has reported often how tears have flowed in senior centers as those from our “greatest generation” recalled loved ones who gave their lives defending the flag being displayed and the words of honor given it by members of the 27-flag unit.
Contact for Information
1610 Old Sulphur Spring Road
Halethorpe, Maryland 21227-2539
Post Phone # (410) 242-5956