The flag of Iowa was adopted on March 12, 1921. The flag is rectangular with three vertical stripes: the stripe on the left is blue, the stripe on the right is red, and the larger center stripe is white. A bald eagle appears in flight in the white stripe, holding a blue ribbon with the following white text: “Our liberties we prize and our rights we will maintain.” The word “IOWA” is also included towards the bottom of the white stripe in red capitol letters.
Although the state of Iowa was admitted to the Union on December 28, 1946, it was not until the United States entered World War I that Iowans felt the need for a state flag. It was expected that Iowans would fight in state regiments, as in previous wars, and Iowans finally desired a banner to designate their respective units. Fortunately, the Iowa Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution was interested in designing a state flag.
On May 11, 1917, members of the Society as well as Mrs. Dixie Gephardt, the flag’s designer, presented the flag before the State Council on National Defense. The Council approved the flag, after which the Daughters of the American Revolution manufactured and presented Iowa flags to each of the Iowa National Guard regiments. Unfortunately, shortly after the flag was approved, the U.S. War Department adopted a policy assigning soldiers to military regiments without regard to state residency, and the Iowa flags were not used during the war. Still the Iowa flag was used by the State National Guard and is still used today.
On first glance, the Iowa State Flag looks strikingly similar to the design of the French Flag. The background of the Iowa State Flag consists of three stripes of blue, white and red – exactly the same as the design of the Flag of France. However, there is one defining feature that makes the Iowa Flag different from all others – the image of an eagle placed directly in the center.
The design of the Iowa Flag was actually intended to appear very similar to the French Flag. The blue, white and red stripes on the flag are representative of the fact that Iowa was originally part of the French Louisiana Territory.
Unlike the French Flag, the white stripe in the center of the Iowa flag is actually much wider than the other two stripes. Directly in the center sits the image of a bald eagle, one of the symbols of the United States of America. The eagle is holding a banner in its mouth, containing the words “Our liberties we prize and our rights we will maintain”, which is taken directly from the Great Seal of the State of Iowa. The word IOWA is printed in red, directly below the image of the eagle on the flag.
The Flag of Iowa was originally approved in May 1917; however, it was not officially adopted as the state banner until a few years later in 1921. It was first approved by the Iowa State Council for Defense. Just as with many other state flags, the Iowa Flag owes its roots to the Daughters of the American Revolution. The Iowa State Flag was originally designed and created by a Knoxville resident named Mrs. Dixie Cornell Gebhardt, a member of the organization. The Iowa State Flag truly does show deep rooted ties to not only America, but to its original governing country, France, as well.