Last updated: 07:00 AM ET, Sun May 24 2015

4 Amazing American Flags Worth a Road Trip

Features & Advice | Tom Bastek | May 24, 2015

4 Amazing American Flags Worth a Road Trip

Photos courtesy of their respective sites.

Across the country, in every national cemetery, a flag is placed upon each grave of a deceased serviceman and woman on Memorial Day. The American flag has long been a symbol of freedom and pride but some flags are a cut above, becoming destinations in and of themselves. Here are a few worth traveling for.

The National Museum of American History – Washington D.C.

The one and only true, “Star Spangled Banner” lies in the National Museum of American History located in Washington D.C. That is to say, what is left of it is there. Although the 200-year-old flag has seen better days, it is now being preserved behind glass with dim lights and controlled atmosphere for further preservation. 

The flag located here is the original from the war of 1812. After Fort McHenry survived 25 hours of bombardment from the heavy guns and rockets of the British Navy in 1814, Old Glory raised the next day to signal to all that America still stood. You can visit the flag that stirred Francis Scott Key to pen our National Anthem in person for free every day of the year except Christmas Day. 

Washington Monument – Washington D.C.

If you are in Washington, D.C. you might as well take a trip to the Washington Monument not only to see the monument itself but also to see the 50 American flags that form a 220-foot circle around it. On display 24 hours a day, seven days a week, nowhere in the country is there such a show of the red, white and blue.  

Tickets to the Washington Monument are available one of two ways. They can be purchased in advance by paying a small fee or by stopping by on the day of your visit to the Washington Monument Lodge. Keep in mind there are only so many free tickets available each day.

Betsy Ross Home – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Will the true first flag maker please stand up? Although common knowledge and grade-school history credit Betsy Ross with the design of our national standard, the truth is far more muddled. The family and descendants of Robin Young, a flag maker during the Revolutionary War, claim that she indeed made the first flag and in fact her daughter, Mary Young Pickersgill, was the one who made the Star Spangled Banner that flew at Fort McHenry. 

Either way, Betsy Ross’s home is buried in the middle of historic downtown Philadelphia and certainly worth the trip if you are there to see all of the other historic sites. Every day during the summer you can see the flag raised at 10 a.m. as well as take an audio or self-guided tour of the home. Keep in mind that the waiting area is outdoors and open to the sun, wind, heat, cold and precipitation. 

Super Flag – Various events around the country

You have seen them at baseball games, air shows and various monuments around the country. They are the biggest of the big American flags; they are the Super Flags. 

There are currently three Super Flags that tour around the country, a 95-by-130-foot flag, a 160-by-300-foot flag, and the big one: a 255-by-505-foot flag. 

If you've seen one of these at a sporting event, odds are you've seen the medium-sized one. The flags take 150, 265 and 600 volunteers to unfurl respectively, and weigh as much as 3,000 pounds. The photo here is probably the most iconic picture of the largest flag and was hung in celebration of the Olympic Torch run of 1996.

There are plenty of amazing American flags that are out there to see. Where is your favorite or most memorable place? 

Have you ever had the chance to hold one of those Super Flags? Let me know in the comments below.

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