DALLAS — Next weekend, when you see the red, white and blue proudly displayed for Independence Day, take a closer look.
President Eisenhower set the standard for all American flags 51 years ago. The order requires 13 stripes and 50 stars on a field of blue.
Tim Childress had to double-check when he unfurled Old Glory — he got more than he wanted.
Large or small, the American Flag is supposed to be flown with pride, a symbol of our nation.
The seven red stripes represent hardiness and valor; six white stripes stand for for purity and innocence. There's a blue field for perseverance and justice. And, of course, 50 stars for each of the 50 states.
That makes Tim Childress' flag something other than American.
"You can kind of see the stars are all crooked, and if you count them, there's actually 61 stars," he said.
Childress counted several times. He multiplied rows and columns. He counted them one-by-one.
Every time, it added up to 61.
So he went back to the Dollar Tree store where he bought the plastic flag and sent an e-mail message to the Virginia marketing company.
"I kind of let them know there are 50 states in the United States, and they need to correct this — or at least get the Chinese supplier to correct this," Childress said.
Yes, it's a plastic flag, and it only cost a dollar, but Childress argues this is not just another decoration at a discount store.
"They can do that to Santa Claus; do what they want, change his face. But this is the flag, and it needs to stay that way," Childress maintains.
The Dollar Tree assistant store manager wouldn't comment on camera, but said the flag is sold as a "patriotic banner" — not as an American flag.