Thirteen stars represent the original colonies: Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Georgia, Connecticut, Massachusetts Bay, Maryland, South Carolina, New Hampshire, Virginia, New York, North Carolina, and Rhode Island and Providence Plantations. Stars were added to the flag as states were added to the country.
The thirteen stripes also represent the thirteen British colonies that declared independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain and became the first states in the United States. Legend attributes the red on white as symbolism for blood on white bandages.
The Betsy Ross house is located at 239 Arch St, Philadelphia, PA 19106. The exterior of the house can be viewed for free. There is a small charge for a ticket to tour the interior.
Historians no longer accept the claim that Betsy Ross or George Washington
had anything to do with the first official U.S. flag. The Ross narrative
is based on uncorroborated and inaccurate Ross family lore that did not
surface until the 1870s -- a century after the Revolutionary War.
During the War, Mrs. Ross actually made blue ensigns (naval flags) and
red ship's pennants for the Pennsylvania navy. After the War, she and her
family business made U.S. flags for 50 years. She did have the unique
ability to make five-pointed stars with one snip of the scissors.
(See the Wikipedia article on Betsy Ross.) Incidentally, Continental
Congressman Francis Hopkinson of New Jersey designed the first official U.S.
flag. He intended it for the U.S. Navy.
(See the Wikipedia article on Francis Hopkinson.)
-- Earl P. Williams, Jr., U.S. flag historian (paleovexillologist)
The History of Philadelphia and the USA | Back to the Greater Philadelphia Region