The Venezuelan Flag

July 31, 2009

The Flag of Venezuela was officially adopted on March 12, 2006; however, it dates back to 1811 and the nation’s struggle for independence. The design includes a horizontal tricolor of yellow, blue, and red. Modifications added a set of stars, changed the placement of the stars, and the number of stars, as well as adding an optional coat of arms in the upper-left corner.

Venezuelan Flag

Venezuelan Flag

The flag is pretty much one that was designed by Francisco de Miranda. His flag was also the inspiration for the flags of Columbia and Ecuador. The original design was first flown on March 12, 1806 in Jacmel, Haiti during the final leg of Miranda’s voyage to Venezuela. The flag was first flown on Venezuelan soil on August 3, 1806 at Ka Vela de Coro.  Until August 3, 2006, Flag Day was celebrated on March 12. Since then, it has been celebrated on August 3rd.

Traditionally, the color yellow represents wealth of the land, the blue is for courage, and the red is for independence from Spain. The stars represent colonial provinces of Barcelona, Barinas, Caracas, Cumana, Margarita, Merida, Trujillo, and Guayana.

Caracas, Venezuela

Caracas, Venezuela

In 1954, the Law of the National Flag, Coat of Arms, and Anthem added the Coat of Arms to the flag. The coat was not incorporated into the Civil or Maritime Flag as they are intended for non-governmental purposes. The flag is to be flown every day by legally registered public institutions from 7:00 am to 6:00 pm.

First American Flag on Mount Everest

July 30, 2009

by Catie Watson

The year 1963 was one of the most significant in American history, marked by the assassination of President Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King’s I Have a Dream speech. It was also in 1963 that an American climber first reached the summit of Mount Everest and placed an American flag there.

Mt. Everest

Mt. Everest

In May of 1963, the National Geographic Society sponsored an expedition to Everest and asked Barry Bishop to serve as photographer for the team.  Bishop was an experienced mountaineer, geographer and photographer.  An American mountaineer named Jim Whittaker was the first American member of the team to reach the summit of Mount Everest, where he planted an American flag.  A few weeks later, Bishop ascended to the peak with his climbing partner Lute Jerstad and took a now-famous photo of the U.S. flag planted by Jim Whittaker.  The spot where the photo was taken is still known as Barry Bishop ledge.

On the descent, Bishop and Jerstad fell into a crevasse but were rescued by other members of the expedition.  Bishop suffered frostbite and subsequently lost all of his toes.  In July of 1963, President Kennedy presented Whittaker, Bishop and the rest of the team with the National Geographic Society’s highest award, the Hubbard Medal.  In 1994, Barry Bishop’s son Brent also ascended Everest, making the Bishops the first father and son to have both climbed to the top of Mount Everest.

Barry Bishop tragically died in an auto accident that same year.  Jim Whittaker went on to become CEO of REI and is currently Chairman of the Board of Magellan Navigation.

Dominican Republic Flag

July 28, 2009

Article 96 of the Dominican Constitution describes the flag of the Dominican Republic. It features a white cross centered on the flag that extends to the edges and divides the flag into four rectangles; the top left and right bottom are blue and the top right and bottom left are red.

Dominican Republic Flag

Dominican Republic Flag

Found at the center of the Dominican Flag is the small coat or arms. It has four Dominican flags, a bible, a cross of gold, and two spears. There’s also an olive branch on one side and a palm on the other. The ribbon above the shield reads “Dios, Patria, Libertad,” which means “God, Fatherland, Liberty.” Below the shield is a red ribbon bearing the name of the country, “Republica Dominicana.”

The bible on the shield is open to John 8:32 which reads, “Y la verdad nos hará libre” (And the truth shall set us free.)

The blue on the flag represents liberty. The white on the flag embodies salvation. And the red on the flag stands for the blood of its heroes.

The civil ensign follows the same design; however, it does not include the charge in the center. On land and on sea the civil flag doesn’t carry the coat of arms. Only the state flag has the coat of arms, which was adopted in 1844 and placed on the state flag for distinction.

According to some historians, the Dominican Republic’s capital of Santo Domingo claims the oldest university in the New World as well as the oldest hospital, house, street, and Cathedral. Many people from all over the world come to Santo Domingo to visit the delightful city.

Oregon Flag

July 27, 2009
Oregon Flag - Front

Oregon Flag - Front

Oregon Flag - Back

Oregon Flag - Back

The Oregon state flag is the only one with a different picture on each side. The only countries with a two-sided flag are Paraguay and Moldova.  The reverse side (back) has a beaver, which is Oregon’s state animal. For this reason, the state is often called the Beaver State. Both sides of the flag have a field of navy blue with a gold design.  The state’s motto is “She Flies With Her Own Wings” and “The Union.”

The front picture is of a heart shaped shield with an eagle on top surrounded by thirty-three stars representing Oregon’s admission to the Union as the 33rd state. The shield depicts the sun setting over the Pacific Ocean, mountains, a covered wagon, and forests. The covered wagon represents the Oregonians who traveled on the Oregon Trail to settle the West. A plow, pickax, and wheat symbolize the farming and mining of the state. The eagle denotes the United States.

It also has a British ship leaving and an American ship arriving. This is to symbolize the transfer of the Oregon Territory from British to US control in 1846, when President Polk signed a treaty with England.

Oregon became a state in 1859; however, its current flag didn’t become official until  February, 1925. It does have STATE OF OREGON on the top of the flag and 1859 on the bottom to represent the year Oregon became a state in the union.

For parade or dress usage, gold fringe on the flag may be used; however, for standard usage no fringe is required.  Other protocols listed in state law require the flag to be flown on all public buildings during normal hours except during harsh weather.  A public building is defined as :

(a) State institutions.

(b) All other state buildings upon which the Oregon Department of Administrative Services determines it is suitable to display the Oregon State flag.

(c) County courthouses.

Hawaii Flag

July 24, 2009

The Hawaii flag is perhaps the most similar of all state flags to the traditional flag of the United States of America. Consisting of no other colors but the traditional red, white and blue, the Hawaii flag on first glance looks like no more than a hybrid British/American flag.

hawaii flag

The Hawaii Flag is very similar in design to the American flag – it consists of a rectangular field in the top left atop a field of stripes all around.  One major difference however is that while the stripes in the American flag are simply an alternating red and white pattern, the stripes of the Hawaii flag are red, white and blue.  Also, in the top left corner of the Hawaii flag sits a design much different from the traditional 50 star design of the American Flag.  Rather than the well known 50 star pattern atop a blue background, the image in the top left corner of the Hawaii flag is an exact  replica of the flag of the United Kingdom.

As previously mentioned, the Hawaii flag contains a field of st ripes surrounding the top left canon of the flag.  Traditionally, the American flag has had 13 stripes fashioned in this same manner; however the Hawaii flag has just eight.  The eight stripes of the Hawaii flag represent the eight major Hawaiian islands; Hawaii, Oahu, Kauai, Kahoolawe, Lanai, Maui, Molokai and Niihau.  There are also various conflicting reports as to the origins of the stripes as some claim that the stripes were influenced by various historical British flags, while still others claim the design was based upon the American flag.

Regardless of the exact origins of the Hawaii flag – origins that will likely forever remain unknown in their entirety – there is little doubt that the Flag of Hawaii, despite the tiny size of the island, has one of the most detailed histories of any state flag in the American Union

Georgia Flag

July 24, 2009

According to most accounts, the Georgia flag is still in its infancy as compared to most other flags in the United States of America.  Officially recognized as the flag of Georgia on May 8th, 2003, the Georgia flag has a design that is incredibly similar to that of the American flag.

georgia flag

Similar to the American flag, the Georgia flag consists of a design of red and white stripes with a blue field in the  top left corner of the flag.  However, in contrast to the American flag, the Seal of Georgia sits in the blue field of the Flag of Georgia as opposed to the 50 stars of the American Flag.

The Seal of Georgia in the top left of the flag consists of a yellow arch encircled by 13 white s tars.  The arch is meant to symbolize Georgia’s Constitution, and the three pillars supporting the arch represent the three branches of the Georgia government (Executive, Legislative and Judicial).  Also, wrapped around the three pillars in the Seal of the words “Wisdom, Justice, Moderation”, the Georgia state motto.  The entire seal is symbolically guarded by what looks to be a male soldier dressed in the traditional Colonial battle uniform, and directly below the seal sit the words “IN GOD WE TRUST”. Intrestingly enough, however, the actual text “IN GOD WE TRUST” is not a part of the Georgia state seal of the coat of arms, however it does appear on the Georgia flag.

Encircling the entire state seal are 13 white stars, symbolizing Georgia along with the 12 other states that originally formed the Confederate States of America.  One interesting thing to note is that the Georgia flag is often nicknamed the “Georgian Stars and Bars” after the flag from which it was originally derived – the Flag of the Confederate States of America.

Florida Flag

July 24, 2009

The flag of Florida consists of the seal of Florida emblazoned upon a white  background and a red saltire (diagonal cross). At first glance, the Florida flag seems strikingly simple – however upon further inspection, the intricacies of the flag of the “Sunshine State” start to become apparent.

florida flag

Despite the simplicity of the red cross on top of a white background, the centerpiece of the Florida flag is unusually complex.  Officially coined the “Great Seal of the State of Florida”, the centerpiece in the Florida flag does its best to represent the many facets of Florida life.

First and perhaps most obviously, the seal depicts a Seminole woman standing on the Floridian shoreline spreading Hibisucus flowers.  A steamboat can be seen in the background of the seal, sailing off into the strikingly beautiful Floridian horizon.  Also pictured on the seal of Florida is the state tree – the Sabal Palm.  Encircling the entire scene are the words “GREAT SEAL OF THE STATE OF FLORIDA” and “IN GOD WE TRUST”.

Originally, the design of the Flag of Florida consisted of no more than the seal of Florida atop a white background.  However, this was changed in the late 1890s according to the wishes of General Francis P Fleming, who suggested that a red cross be added to the background so that the flag would not appear to simply represent the white flag of surrender when floating atop the flagpole.

One interesting thing to note about Florida is the fact that at least 16 different flags have flown over Florida at various times during its history.  Currently, there is even a small grassroots movement aimed at redesigning the Florida flag yet again to commemorate Florida’s 500th anniversary.  The future of the Florida flag remains yet to be seen – however one thing is very apparent, and that is that the Florida flag has perhaps one of the richest histories of any flag in the Untied States of America.