The Stars and Stripes
The story of the origin of our National flag parallels the story of the origin of our country. The Stars and Stripes arose from several sources.
The star is a symbol of the heavens; the stripe is symbolic of the rays of light emanating from the sun. Both themes have long been represented on the standards of nations, from the banners of the astral worshippers of ancient Egypt and Babylon to the 12-starred flag of the Spanish Conquistadors under Cortez. The patterns of stars and stripes occur on the flags of several nations of Europe, Asia, and the Americas.
The first flags adopted by our Colonial forefathers were symbolic of their struggles with the wilderness of a new land. Beavers, pine trees, rattlesnakes, anchors, and various like insignia with mottoes such as "Hope," "Liberty," "Appeal to Heaven." or "Don't Tread on Me" were affixed to the different banners of Colonial America.
Source: Allegheny Trails Council, Boy Scouts of American. 1968