In 1959 Alaska became a state of the United States and 8 months later it was Hawaii's turn, thus completing the 50 states we know today. However, in addition to social and economic developments, these incorporations resulted in a significant shift, namely the replacement of the country's flag with a new one. Many took on the task of rethinking the famous symbol, but the truth is that it was a 17-year-old boy who achieved it. Today we will know his story.
At the time, Robert G. Heft was a student from Lancaster High School in Ohio. Stanley Pratt, his teacher had proposed to his students that they design a new flag including the brand-new states. Unfortunately for Heft when his professor saw his work, he went largely unnoticed, claiming little originality. Heft's flag consisted of 50 stars, one for each state, and he decided to use the characteristic white, blue, and red colors that we all know. However, there was still hope, his teacher promised him that if his flag was selected, it would increase his grade.
Here we are not talking about Heft just designing the flag, but also sewing it with his own hands. Sometime later it was discovered that he did not receive help from any family member to carry out the task. The cloth flag, which took Heft approximately 13 hours to complete, consisting of 50 stars and 13 bands, is now a highly coveted item for collectors around the world. After the flag was selected as the winner, her teacher honored the deal and changed her grade from a B-minus to an A.
It was the then President Dwight D. Eisenhower who made the decision selecting the winner flag from among 1500 contestants. Walter Moeller, an Ohio Congressman, received Heft's flag. On July 4, 1960, Moeller was successful in having Heft's design chosen as the new United States flag. The new flag was exhibited in innumerable sites of cultural interest, it toured all 50 states and almost 90 American embassies. The symbol continued in the care of its creator despite multiple attempts by museums and buyers, even offering him $350,000 for it. Until the time of his death in 2009, Heft never agreed to sell it.
As one might imagine, Robert's life changed dramatically as a result of this one-of-a-kind event. He dedicated much of his life to traveling around the country telling his story and giving speeches on the country's flag. Heft spent his last years in the city of Saginaw where he was born, and from where after the separation of his parents he had to move to Ohio. He became a professor at Northwest State Community College in Archbold and served as mayor of Napoleon, Ohio for 20 years.
After seeing the tremendous success that his flag had achieved, Robert G. Heft decided to make a new flag, but this one would incorporate one more state. A total of 51 states just in case the country ever needed to use it. The United States incorporating a new state to its territory, is something that has not yet happened, however, if it does happen, Heft would be the first and only man to be the creator of the last 2 versions of the country’s flag. He died of natural causes on December 12, 2009, in Saginaw, Michigan.