Kentucky Flag

The Flag of Kentucky was originally adopted in 1918 and was finalized in its present form in 1928. The flag is a relatively simple design; it is made up of little more than the seal of Kentucky placed upon a field of blue. Unbeknown to most, Kentucky is not officially classified as a state in the United States of America. Kentucky is a commonwealth, just as is Pennsylvania, Virginia and Massachusetts.

Kentucky Flag

The Flag of Kentucky was originally designed by an art teacher named Jesse Cox who resided in Frakfort, Kentucky. In the center of Mr. Cox’s flag is the seal of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Depicted in the Commonwealth’s seal are two men who appear to be shaking hands. By most accounts, the man on the left of the seal is meant to be Daniel Boone, who was most responsible for exploring Kentucky. On the right stands who is believed to be Henry Clay, Kentucky’s most famous statesman. Officially, however, the seal is meant to symbolize all frontiersmen and statesmen, rather than anyone specific. Encircling the two men on the seal are the words “United We Stand, Divided We Fall”, with “United We Stand” positioned on top and “Divided We Fall” on the bottom. These words are derived from “The Liberty Song”, which was a popular patriotic song during the American Revolution.

Dan Boone

Around the entire seal on the Kentucky Flag sit the words “Commonwealth of Kentucky” on top, along with a peculiar design on the bottom. At first glance, the design at the bottom looks utterly meaningless, but it does indeed have a bit of symbolism attached. The design is meant to represent the Goldenrod, the state flower of the state of Kentucky. The Kentucky Flag was officially recognized as the state’s flag on March 26, 1918 by the Kentucky General Assembly.

Maryland State Flag

The Maryland Flag was voted one of the top 10 flags in all of the United States and Canada by the North American Vexillogical Association in 2001. The flag was originally flown in 1880, however, it was not officially adopted until much later on March 9, 1904. The Maryland Flag is the only flag of any state in the United States of America to be based upon British Heraldry, as it is based upon the banner of George Calvert, 1st Baron Baltimore.

Maryland State Flag

The Marylang Flag is split up into four quadrants, with two sets of designs. The black and gold design on the flag is based upon the coat of arms of the Calvert family. The banner was originally given to George Calvert in reward for storming a castle in battle. In the black and gold design of the Maryland Flag, a few vertical bars can be noticed – representative of the bars of the palisade from Calvert’s battle.

George Calvert

The red and white design on the Maryland flag is actually another depiction of a coat of arms – it represents the coat of arms of the Crossland family. The Crossland family was the family of George Calvert’s mother, and since his mother was an heiress, Calvert was allowed to use both coats of arms in his banner.

The current flag of Maryland was originally flown on October 11, 1880 at a celebration marking the 150th anniversary of the founding of the city of Baltimore. The Maryland Flag was not however officially adopted as the state’s flag until some 24 years later in 1904. One interesting note about the Maryland Flag is that the state of Maryland is the only flag that has specific guidelines not only about the flag itself, but also guidelines as to how the flagpole should look as well.

Kansas State Flag

The Flag of Kansas was originally adopted in 1927, and contains one of the most interesting, yet simple designs of any American state flag. The Kansas Flag is made up of a depiction of the Great Seal of Kansas emblazoned atop a blue background, with the image of a sunflower above and the name of the state positioned directly below.

Kansas State Flag

The Kansas Flag was originally designed in the year 1925; however, it would not be officially adopted until two years later in 1927 by the Kansas State Legislature. In the two years between the flag’s design and its adoption, the state of Kansas flew a state banner rather than a flag.

At that time, the Kansas State Banner depicted a design very similar to today’s Kansas State Flag. The Kansas State Banner consisted of the image of a large sunflower and the word “Kansas” placed atop a blue field. Interestingly enough, the Kansas State Banner was originally intended to be hung from a horizontal bar instead of a traditional flag pole. The Kansas State Banner was given a very unique design that was meant to avoid “competition” with the flag of the United States of America. However, the banner was actually rejected for display in Washington, DC, due in part to the flag’s awkward method of hanging.

It was during this time that the Kansas State Legislature began the creation of a new flag for the state. Shortly thereafter, the legislature adopted today’s Kansas Flag, which features many of the same features as the original banner as well as the word “Kansas” on the bottom. Also, the Great Seal of the State of Kansas was added to the center of the flag. Since its original creation, the Flag of Kansas has remained the same, except for the addition of the word “Kansas” in 1961.

Indiana State Flag

The Flag of Indiana was originally designed and created by a man named Paul Hadley. The flag was officially adopted on May 31st, 1917 and interestingly enough, the Indiana Flag has remained completely unchanged ever since.

Indiana State Flag

The design of the flag is a bit peculiar- the Indiana Flag is very much unlike any other flag in the American Union.  The flag depicts a torch burning, emblazoned atop a blue background.  Around the torch are a number of stars – 13 in the outer ring of stars, and 19 stars in total.  The outer ring of stars on the Indiana Flag is meant to symbolize of course the 13 original American Colonies.  There are a total of 19 stars on the entire flag, which is representative of the idea that Indiana was the 19th state to enter into the United States of America.  There are also a number of rays projecting from the torch, which were originally intended to symbolize Indiana’s far-reaching influence.  The torch itself is meant to symbolize liberty and enlightenment, and placed directly about the torch sits the name of the state, “INDIANA”.

The Flag of Indiana was originally created in large part due to the celebration of the state’s centennial anniversary, when the Indiana General Assembly issued a resolution to create and adopt a state flag.  Until this time, the state of Indiana did not yet have a flag to call its own.  A contest was adopted and sponsored by the Daughers of the American Revolution, at the request of the Indiana lawmakers.  More than two hundred submissions were received for consideration by the Daughters, and upon further examination, Paul Hadley’s flag was chosen to be the winner.  The flag of Indiana was officially adopted the very next year by the state’s lawmakers on May 31, 1917.

Illinois State Flag

by Stacey Patrick

The Illinois Flag was originally designed by Lucy Derwint in 1912, and it consists of a very simple yet straightforward design. The background of the flag is solid white, and placed directly in the center, just as with many other state flags, sits the Great Seal of Illinois.

Illinois State Flag

The Illinois Flag was designed in the year 1912; however, it did not actually become the official state flag until a few years later in 1915. The flag was originally created in response to a contest held by the Daughters of the American Revolution. The contest was intended, of course, to have participants create potential designs for the Illinois Flag, a state that up until that time did not officially have its own banner.

The Great Seal of Illinois, which is emblazoned upon the flag,  features an eagle perched upon a rock holding a banner with the words “State Sovereignty” and “National Union”. The words “State Sovereignty” are placed below “National Union”, and interestingly enough, the word “Sovereignty” is intentionally written backwards, making it more difficult to read. Below the eagle on the seal sit the words “Aug. 26th 1818”, which marks the day that the first constitution was adopted in the state.

Farm Road in Illinois

The eagle is perched upon a grey rock, and on the rock appear two very important dates in Illinois history. The years “1818” and “1868” are displayed on the rock. In 1818, Illinois officially became a state, while 1868 marks the year that the Great Seal of Illinois was originally created. The name of the state, “ILLINOIS” sits directly beneath the Great Seal of Illinois on the flag. The flag of Illinois was finally passed through the House and Senate of Illinois on July 6, 1915.

Maine Flag

The Flag of Maine was originally created and approved in the year 1909. Since then, the flag has remained completely unchanged. The flag consists of an interesting design, made up of little more than the Maine Coat of Arms placed upon a blue background. The exact colors for the Coat of Arms have never been specified; however, the blue background has officially been determined to be the same blue as on the US flag.

Maine Flag

Interestingly enough, the state of Maine was actually and enclave of Massachusetts until the year 1820. As a result of Maine’s sudden growth in population, it became the 23rd state in on March 15th, 1820, due in part to the Missouri Compromise.

In the center of the Maine Flag sit the Maine Coat of Arms. The coat of arms is a peculiar design. On the left of the coat of arms stands a farmer, resting on a scythe. On the right sits a seaman, resting on an anchor. Above the two men sits a star (the North Star) along with the word “DIRIGO”. Dirigo (I lead), is the official state motto of Maine. Below the entire design, just as with many other state flags, sits the name of the state – “MAINE”, written in bold large letters.

At first glance, the flag of Maine doesn’t appear to have any major defining characteristics that make it stand out from other flags. Due to the plainness in design of the Maine Flag, the flag was actually voted one of the worst designs of any flag in North America by the North American Vexillogical Association in 2001. Out of 72 flags surveyed in Canada and the United States, the Maine Flag was voted 13th worst.

The Union Flag

The Union Flag is also known as the Union Jack. The flag is the national flag of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Union Flag

Other nations use some version of the Union Jack in their state flags. They are:

Additionally, you can find the Union Jack on the state flag of Hawaii and on both the 1910-1928 and 1928-1994 flags of South Africa.

Current Flag Days in the UK  – Union Flag should be flown on government buildings:

  • January 20 – Birthday of the Countess of Wessex
  • February 6 – Anniversary of the accession of Queen Elizabeth II
  • February 19 – Birthday of the Duke of York
  • Second Sunday in March – Commonwealth Day
  • March 10 – Birthday of Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex
  • April 21 – Birthday of Queen Elizabeth II
  • May 9 – Europe Day
  • June 2 – Anniversary of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II
  • June (no fixed date) – Official Birthday of Queen Elizabeth II
  • July 17 – Birthday of the Duchess of Cornwall
  • August 15 – Birthday of the Princess Royal
  • Second Sunday in November – Remembrance Sunday
  • November 14 – Birthday of the Prince of Wales
  • November 20 – Anniversary of the Wedding of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh

Additionally, the Union flag should be flow in the following places on the specific days:

  • March 1 – Wales, for St. David’s Day
  • March 17 – Northern Ireland for St. Patrick’s Day
  • April 23 – England for St. George’s Day
  • September 3 – Scotland for Merchant Navy Day
  • The Day of the Opening of a Session of the Houses of Parliament, Greater London
  • The Day of the Prorogation of a Session of the Houses of Parliament, Greater London

Gadsden Flag: What’s Up With The Snake?

Whenever those Americans that don’t enjoy being “tread on” want to make their feelings known to anyone willing to listen, they’ll typically display the Gadsden Flag in some fashion. But what’s the deal with the rattlesnake? I mean, why not a lion or a bear? Personally, I’m much more afraid of spiders than any old rattlesnake.

Gadsden Flag

Well, folks, looks like we’ve got ol’ Ben Franklin to thank for the inspiration behind the Gadsden Flag, same as we’ve got him to thank for the lightning rod, Franklin stove, bifocal glasses, and, my own personal favorite, the flexible urinary catheter.

In 1754, during the time of the French and Indian War, Franklin published a woodcut of a snake chopped up into 8 sections in his Pennsylvania Gazette. This was meant to represent 8 different regions of the British colonies, with New England joined together to form the head and South Carolina bringing up the rear. Along with the image of the snake, Franklin also published the phrase “Join or Die”, which referred to his water polo team — just kidding, it obviously referred to the Union.

Join, or Die

As the American Revolution began to draw near, many people began using the rattlesnake as a symbol of the colonies, and even Paul Revere – yes, the famous “the British are coming” Paul Revere – got in on the act by adding the rattlesnake to the title of his paper, The Massachusetts Spy.

Finally, in December of 1775, Franklin published an essay in the Pennsylvania Journal. In the essay, he argued that the Colonies resembled a rattlesnake in that a rattlesnake never attacks without first giving a warning, or, in the words of Franklin, cautioning “against treading on her”.  However, according to Franklin, once in a fight, a rattlesnake never backs down. Also, Franklin believed that by keeping its fangs hidden inside its mouth, the rattlesnake wished to avoid any and all confrontations.

So those are the origins of the Gadsden Flag’s image of a mean rattlesnake. Stay tuned for more information on the Gadsden Flag!

Flag of Idaho

The Flag of Idaho was adopted on March 12, 1907, and was slightly modified in 1957. The flag was based on the design of a flag carried by the First Idaho Infantry in 1899 during the Spanish-American War.

Idaho State FlagThe flag is a field of blue with the state seal in the center. The words “State of Idaho” appear on a a red and gold band in gold letters. The official description of the flag calls for a fringe of gold around the edges, however, many of the versions of this flag do not include this feature.

The state seal in the center of the flag shows a miner and a woman that are said to represent equality, liberty, and justice. The other symbols on the state seal signify some of Idaho’s resources, such as mines, forests, wildlife, and farmland.

The following information was excerpted from the Idaho Statutes, Title 46, Chapter 8.

TITLE 46. MILITIA AND MILITARY AFFAIRS.
CHAPTER 8. MISCELLANEOUS AND GENERAL PROVISIONS.

46-801. STATE FLAG. A state flag for the state of Idaho is hereby adopted, the same to be as follows: A silk flag, blue field, five (5) feet six (6) inches fly, and four (4) feet four (4) inches on pike, bordered with gilt fringe two and one-half (2 1/2) inches in width, with state seal of Idaho twenty-one (21) inches in diameter, in colors, in the center of a blue field. The words “State of Idaho” are embroidered in with block letters, two (2) inches in height on a red band three (3) inches in width by twenty-nine (29) inches in length, the band being in gold and placed about eight and one-half (8 1/2) inches from the lower border of fringe and parallel with the same.

Flag of New Mexico

The flag of New Mexico was adopted in 1925 after the Daughters of the American Revolution pushed New Mexico to design a contemporary and unique flag. A contest was held and the design chosen was created by Dr. Harry Mera of Santa Fe, New Mexico. The design has a red sun symbol of the Zia on a field of yellow. The colors honor Isabella of Castile.

New Mexico FlagThe symbol has definite meaning; four is a sacred number which symbolizes the Circle of Life: four winds, four seasons, four directions, and four sacred obligations. In a 2001 survey by the North American Vexillological Association, the New Mexico flag was chosen the best designed of any US state, territory, or Canadian province.

New Mexico statute says, “New Mexico Statutes Annotated 12-3-2. [Adoption of flag for state of New Mexico.] That a flag be and the same is hereby adopted to be used on all occasions when the state is officially and publicly represented, with the privilege of use by all citizens upon such occasions as they may deem fitting and appropriate. Said flag shall be the ancient Zia sun symbol of red in the center of a field of yellow. The colors shall be the red and yellow of old Spain. The proportion of the flag shall be a width of two-thirds its length. The sun symbol shall be one-third of the length of the flag. Said symbol shall have four groups of rays set at right angles; each group shall consist of four rays, the two inner rays of the group shall be one-fifth longer than the outer rays of the group. The diameter of the circle in the center of the symbol shall be one-third of the width of the symbol. Said flag shall conform in color and design described herein.”