State Flag of Alaska

The flag of Alaska was adopted on July 9, 1927, more than three decades before Alaska became an official state of the U.S. The flag is simple but elegant. The flag is rectangular and feature a dark blue night sky background. Towards the bottom left corner of the flag, the Big Dipper constellation is pictured with gold stars. The North Star, also in gold, is depicted in the upper right corner.

In January 1927, the Alaska Department of the American Legion decided to create an initiative for a state flag, but, instead of allowing adults to design the flag, the Legion asked Alaskan children in grades seven through twelve to submit designs for the flag. Designs were first judged locally, and then 142 designs were submitted to Juneau for the final competition.

Although most of the children’s designs featured polar bears, Alaska’s seal, the midnight sun, the northern lights, or gold pans, the judges decided that the design created by Benny Benson, a thirteen-year-old child who lived at the Jesse Lee Home for Children in Seward Alaska’s design should represent the Alaskan territory. The design of Alaska’s current state flag has remained unchanged since Benson’s designed was adopted. Benson received $1000 for the flag as well as an engraved watch.

Benson also described the symbolism of the flag himself. According to Benson, the blue background represents not only the Alaskan sky, but also the forget-me-not, a flower native to Alaska that is now the state’s official flower. The North Star symbolizes Alaska’s future as well as the fact that Alaska is the northernmost state in the Union. Finally, the Big Dipper symbolizes the strength of Alaska and its people.

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