Flag of Ohio

July 29, 2011

The flag of the state of Ohio is one of the most unique state flags of the United States because it is the only state flag in the nation that is not rectangular. John Eisemann designed the flag of the state of Ohio for the Pan-American Exposition, a world’s fair in Buffalo, NY, in 1901. The flag was officially adopted in 1902.

The flag of the state of Ohio is a non-rectangular, swallow-tailed shape. The top and bottom hems of the flag taper inwards towards the flag’s fly end and a triangular portion of the flag is removed from the fly end. Although the only state flag of the U.S. to use this shape, this swallow-tailed element of the flag is common military units.

Like most state flags, the design of the flag of the state of Ohio holds great significance in terms of Ohio’s admittance to the Union, the people of Ohio, and the state’s natural elements. The flag has five large horizontal stripes: the top, bottom, and middle stripes are red and the stripes in between the red stripes are white. This not only bears similarity to the flag of the United States, but also represents Ohio’s roads and rivers.

The large blue triangle with white stars inside that appears on the left side of the flag is another feature of the Ohio flag that reflects the design of the U.S. flag. The blue triangle also symbolizes Ohio’s hills and valleys. The white stars on the Ohio state flag are divided into two groups: there are thirteen stars on the left side of the flag and four, more widely spaced stars on the right. The thirteen stars represent the thirteen original colonies of the United States. The other four stars, when combined with the thirteen, add up to seventeen stars, representing Ohio’s admittance to the Union as the seventeenth state.

Finally, the white circle with the red center in the middle of the blue triangle is truly unique to Ohio. The white circle represents the letter “O” for Ohio. Adding the red center alludes to Ohio’s nickname, the “Buckeye State.” Not only the name of the Ohio State University sports teams, the buckeye refers to the Ohio state tree, which produces nuts that resemble a buckeye.


Flag of the State of Georgia

July 12, 2011

The current flag of Georgia.

The adopted flag of the U.S. state of Georgia is the newest state flag in the United States and has a very interesting story behind its development. Adopted just over eight years ago, on May 8, 2003, the flag is based off of the design of the Confederate States of America’s first national banner.

The current flag of Georgia, like the U.S. flag, is rectangular and includes a blue field in the upper left corner. The blue field includes the state of Georgia’s coat of arms and thirteen white stars. The coat of arms consists of three pillars, which represent the three branches of state and federal government: executive, legislative, and judicial. An American soldier with a drawn sword, dressed in a Revolutionary War uniform, stands between the pillars, symbolizing the state’s courage to defend the constitution.

Two phrases also appear in the blue field. “Wisdom, Justice, and Moderation,” Georgia’s state motto, appear on a banner around the pillars. “In God We Trust,” is written below the seal, but these words are not actually part of the official Georgia seal. The thirteen stars around the seal signify Georgia’s inclusion in the original thirteen U.S. colonies.

The rest of the flag consists of three horizontal stripes: the top and bottom stripes are red and the middle stripe is white.

Controversy over the state of Georgia’s previous flag, which was used from 1956 until 2001, ultimately led to the flag’s repeal and the design of a new flag. The flag adopted in 1956 prominently featured the Southern Cross, a prominent symbol of the Confederate States of America. Although proponents of the flag claimed that the Georgia state flag was designed to commemorate the Civil War Centennial, others took offense. The flag was adopted at the height of the American Civil Rights Movement, and white supremacy groups were using the Confederate flag as a symbol of racial protest.

Although pressure to adopt a new state flag increased throughout the second half of the twentieth century—especially before the 1996 Olympic Games, which were held in Atlanta—the flag was not replaced until 2001. In that year, the state legislature adopted a replacement flag that featured Georgia’s state seal above smaller versions of Georgia’s previous flag. The current flag of Georgia was adopted in 2003.