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First Navy Jack

  • Years Flown: 1775-1777 and 1980-Present
  • Created By: Commodore Esek Hopkins
  • Design: Red and white striped flag, with an illustration of a yellow rattlesnake, and the text “Don’t Tread on Me”
  • Meaning: Rattlesnake used to illustrate American character and strength, while the phrase “Don’t Tread on Me” was meant to show how the colonists were not willing to yield to the British and instead would fight to the death for their freedom.
  • Historical Significance: One of the earliest American flags; used to distinguish military ships from other ships in the Delaware River during the American Revolutionary War.
  • Use Today: Used as a jack (an additional national flag flown by warships) on the oldest navy vessel in commission.