The flag of the United States of America, often referred to as the American flag or the U.S. flag, is the national flag of the United States. It consists of thirteen equal horizontal stripes of red (top and bottom) alternating with white, with a blue rectangle in the canton (referred to specifically as the “union”) bearing fifty small, white, five-pointed stars arranged in nine offset horizontal rows, where rows of six stars (top and bottom) alternate with rows of five stars. The 50 stars on the flag represent the 50 states of the United States of America, and the 13 stripes represent the thirteen British colonies that declared independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain, and became the first states in the U.S. Nicknames for the flag include the Stars and Stripes, Old Glory, and the Star-Spangled Banner.
The explanation for the choice of colors is rooted in the history and customs of the Palauan people. The light blue of the field symbolizes the Pacific Ocean, and also represents the transition from foreign domination to self-government. The golden disk, which sits slightly off-center toward the hoist, represents the full moon. The Palauans consider the full moon to be the optimum time for human activity. At this time of the month, celebrations, fishing, sowing, harvesting, tree-felling, and the carving of traditional canoes are carried out. The moon is a symbol of peace, love, and tranquility.
The flag of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) was adopted on 30 November 1978. The light blue field represents the Pacific Ocean, while the four stars represent the states in the federation: Chuuk, Pohnpei, Kosrae and Yap.
A similar design with six stars was in use from 1965 for the flag of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands. Kosrae was then part of Pohnpei so both were represented by one star. The three extra stars representing Palau, the Marshall Islands and Northern Mariana, which chose not to participate in the Federation. The flag, adopted in 1978, is in the colors of the UN flag. The light blue also represents the Pacific Ocean. In an echo of U.S. heraldic practice, the stars represent the entities that make up the state, in this case, the four federated states, arranged like the points of the compass, although the states locations are actually distributed from west to east.
The eleven stripes symbolize the signatories of the Liberian Declaration of Independence and the red and white symbolize courage and moral excellence. The white star represents the first independent republic in Africa, above the blue square representing the African continent. The Liberian flag is modeled after and resembles the United States flag because Liberia was founded, colonized, established, and controlled by free people of color and formerly enslaved black people from the United States and the Caribbean with the help and support of both the United States government and the American Colonization Society (ACS), a private organization dedicated to the removal of free people of color from across North America. Some time after the African Americans began arriving in Liberia in 1822, they came to be identified as “Americo-Liberians” in an effort to separate them from native groups and enslaved Africans rescued from illegal slaving ports and ships by the American navy.
The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization that was tasked to maintain international peace and security, develop friendly relations among nations, achieve international co-operation and be a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations. The headquarters of the UN is in Manhattan, New York City, and is subject to extraterritoriality. Further main offices are situated in Geneva, Nairobi, and Vienna. The organization is financed by assessed and voluntary contributions from its member states. Its objectives include maintaining international peace and security, protecting human rights, delivering humanitarian aid, promoting sustainable development and upholding international law. The UN is the largest, most familiar, most internationally represented and most powerful intergovernmental organization in the world. In 24 October 1945, at the end of World War II, the organization was established with the aim of preventing future wars. At its founding, the UN had 51 member states; there are now 193. The UN is the successor of the ineffective League of Nations.
The collapse of the Warsaw Pact in 1989–1991 removed the de-facto main adversary of NATO and caused a strategic re-evaluation of NATO’s purpose, nature, tasks, and focus on the continent of Europe. This shift started with the 1990 signing in Paris of the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe between NATO and the Soviet Union, which mandated specific military reductions across the continent that continued after the dissolution of the Soviet Union in December 1991. At that time, European countries accounted for 34 percent of NATO’s military spending; by 2012, this had fallen to 21 percent. NATO also began a gradual expansion to include newly autonomous Central and Eastern European nations, and extended its activities into political and humanitarian situations that had not formerly been NATO concerns.
A popular tourist destination, San Francisco is known for its cool summers, fog, steep rolling hills, eclectic mix of architecture, and landmarks, including the Golden Gate Bridge, cable cars, the former Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary, Fisherman’s Wharf, and its Chinatown district. San Francisco is also the headquarters of five major banking institutions and various other companies such as Levi Strauss & Co., Gap Inc., Fitbit, Salesforce.com, Dropbox, Reddit, Square, Inc., Dolby, Airbnb, Weebly, Pacific Gas and Electric Company, Yelp, Pinterest, Twitter, Uber, Lyft, Mozilla, Wikimedia Foundation, Craigslist, and Weather Underground. It is home to a number of educational and cultural institutions, such as the University of San Francisco (USF), University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), San Francisco State University (SFSU), the De Young Museum, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the California Academy of Sciences.
The City of New York, often called New York City (NYC) or simply New York (NY), is the most populous city in the United States. With an estimated 2017 population of 8,622,698 distributed over a land area of about 302.6 square miles, New York City is also the most densely populated major city in the United States. Located at the southern tip of the state of New York, the city is the center of the New York metropolitan area, the largest metropolitan area in the world by urban landmass and one of the world’s most populous megacities, with an estimated 20,320,876 people in its 2017 Metropolitan Statistical Area and 23,876,155 residents in its Combined Statistical Area. A global power city, New York City has been described as the cultural, financial, and media capital of the world, and exerts a significant impact upon commerce, entertainment, research, technology, education, politics, tourism, art, fashion, and sports. Home to the headquarters of the United Nations, New York is an important center for international diplomacy.
Louisville was founded in 1778 by George Rogers Clark, making it one of the oldest cities west of the Appalachian Mountains. It is named after King Louis XVI of France. Sited beside the Falls of the Ohio, the only major obstruction to river traffic between the upper Ohio River and the Gulf of Mexico, the settlement first grew as a portage site. It was the founding city of the Louisville and Nashville Railroad, which grew into a 6,000-mile system across 13 states. Today, the city is known as the home of legendary boxer Muhammad Ali, the Kentucky Derby, Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC), the University of Louisville and its Louisville Cardinals athletic teams, Louisville Slugger baseball bats, and three of Kentucky’s six Fortune 500 companies. Its main airport is also the site of United Parcel Service’s worldwide air hub.