In honor of Flag Day I want to remember the man who was born in Saginaw who designed our nation’s current 50 star flag. Robert Heft moved to Ohio when he was young. At the age of 17 in 1958, for a school project, he took his mothers flag and sewing machine, removed the 48 stars, and placed 50 stars on the field of blue. His teacher gave him a B- for his efforts, he thought he deserved a better grade but the teacher told him that if his flags design was selected he would give him an A.
Approximately 1500 flag designs were submitted, when Alaska and Hawaii were considered for statehood, but it was Bob Heft’s flag that was approved by Congress. And yes his teacher did change his grade to the A that he deserved.
Heft became a high school teacher and later a college professor and he also served as mayor of Napoleon, Ohio, for 28 years. After retiring he moved back to the Saginaw area and continued giving speeches, and was a member of the Toastmasters.
Sadly Bob passed away in 2009 and is laid to rest in Saginaw at Holy Cross Lutheran Cemetery on Brockway, His marker is visible from the road, and with its Patriotic theme, its truly fitting for the man who designed our nation’s flag.
I was never fortunate enough to meet him, but I was told by his friends that we was a great guy who loved sharing his story. I wonder, since there were so many designs, and some similar to Bob’s, I think the Eisenhower administration chose him, because we was an outstanding student and all around good guy. And if you think about it, what a great American story about a Midwestern kid and his mom’s sewing machine that created the design of our flag.