Flag Tips, Trivia and History: Five of the Most Interesting State Flags

Posted by Accent Banner on Aug 15, 2017 7:56:00 AM

While the American flag is one of the most well-known symbols in the world, the individual state flags are much less famous despite offering quirky anecdotes to a state’s unique history. With the influences of European powers combined with features that are unmistakably American, each of the 50 flags has a story to tell and symbolizes a state’s place in the union. Here’s a look at five states with the most intriguing backstories for their official state flags.

Arizona State Flag:

When the Arizona National Guard was set to compete in the National Rifle Matches in 1910, the team probably didn’t know that the design they chose for the event would turn into the emblem of the state for the next century. Even though Governor Thomas Campbell actually refused to sign the bill to make it the state flag in 1917, the state legislature adopted it anyway and the red, blue, yellow and copper design continues to be the official state flag of Arizona. True to the Spanish influence of the region, the main color scheme is actually borrowed from Spain’s flag, although the thirteen rays of red and yellow represent the thirteen original American colonies.

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Iowa State Flag:

The prize for the most French-influenced flag in the U.S. goes to Iowa, which only seems an unlikely connection on the surface. Utilizing the vertical blue, white and red French Tricolor as a starting point, Iowa’s flag is a throwback to the days before the Louisiana Purchase, although the bald eagle at the heart of the flag is also distinctly Americana. Originally designed by a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution during WWI, the flag faced some fierce opposition from a Civil War veterans’ organization but was finally officially taken on in 1921.

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Maryland State Flag:

The Maryland flag looks a bit like the result of Lewis Carroll designing a chess board, although the unique design is also filled with symbolism that points to the complex history of Maryland. Meant as a tribute to George Calvert, better known as Lord Baltimore, the flag combines colored arms of red and white with the black and gold coat of arms that was a symbol of Calvert, who helped to settle the colony back in the early 1600s. Centuries later, Marylanders who fought for the Union Army would identify with the black and gold coat of arms while Confederate fighters picked up the red and white symbol called a Crossland banner. After the Civil War ended, the collaboration of the two distinctly different banners onto the official state flag of Maryland was designed to help bridge any ideological divide that lingered.

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Virginia State Flag:

Virginia went all the way back to Ancient Rome for the inspiration for the state flag, which showcases a fallen king and the Latin phrase that means “Thus always for tyrants.” Although the phrase was infamously revived by John Wilkes Booth during the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, the words were first uttered by the Shakespearean version of Marcus Brutus during the Julius Caesar assassination. Originally designed in 1776 shortly after the American colonies split from King George II, the flag portrays a fictitious Amazon woman pinning down a beaten king, pointing to the self-rule that was central to the Declaration of Independence. Even though the symbol was popular long before the Civil War, it wasn’t made the unofficial state flag until 1861 and was tinkered with over the decades until it was officially adopted in 1950.

 

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Topics: flag history, flag trivia, state flags

How to Repair and Dispose of a Torn US Flag

Posted by Accent Banner on Aug 8, 2017 8:07:00 AM

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If you own an American flag, you are well aware of the symbolism of this national emblem: the stars in the field of blue that represent the union; the white stripes that convey purity and innocence; and the red stripes that symbolize the strength and valor of those who have fought for our country. Since the American flag is the representation of a living country, the US Flag Code states that it must always be treated like a living thing in every stage of its existence. Below, we describe your options on how to repair and dispose of a torn flag.

 

 

General care of the American flag

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While it is a myth that you must burn a flag if it ever touches the ground, the Flag Code tells us that once a US flag gets dirty, it is no longer serviceable until it is cleaned. Likewise, if the flag somehow becomes torn, you must repair it before displaying it again. If the flag remains frayed, spoiled, or faded after careful washing and mending, you must dispose of it in a specific manner.

 


 

Repairing the American Flag

The Flag Code uses the term "serviceable" to describe a flag that is in a proper state to be displayed respectfully. The flag is serviceable after repair only if its individual dimensions remain intact, AND if nobody is able to notice the repairs.

The Flag Code gives you various repair options: You may do the repairs yourself, you may take the flag to a seamstress, or you may take it to an organization or company that offer US flag repair services.

 

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How to dispose of a US flag

Burning: When you dispose of a flag through burning it, you are performing an act of purification and rebirth on a symbol that once represented a living thing. You may burn it discretely and privately, or dispose of it in a public ceremony, as specified by the Flag Code.

1) Perform a flag retirement ceremony. 

  • Fold the flag in a triangle, as per military specifications, either beforehand or as a folding ceremony that is a part of the flag disposal ceremony itself. The folded flag ceremony is a tribute to the nation's dead. Each fold is symbolic, representing in some way our country's belief in the resurrection of the body.
  • Lay the folded flag on the bonfire.
  • Place the flag on the bonfire and burn it while those present stand at attention or salute.
  • Arrange beforehand for an individual to sing the National Anthem or recite the Pledge of Allegiance as the flag burns.
  • Lastly, announce a moment of silence for personal reflection.   

 2) Find an agency or company to burn the flag for you.

Needless to say, there may be several reasons why you might not feel comfortable burning the flag yourself. Many flags today are made of synthetic fibers that release toxic gases when ignited. In addition, you might not feel comfortable performing the military rites described above, or have the time and resources necessary to retire your US flag ceremoniously. You can easily locate an agency like the American Legion, the Girl Scouts, or the Boy Scouts, or a private flag company, that offer US flag retirement and disposal services upon request. 

 

Burying:  Secondly, you have the option of burying your flag using the same ceremonial procedures used when you retire it through burning.

  • Find a dignified, well-constructed wooden box to bury the flag.
  • Slowly place the folded flag in the box, and seal it.
  • Bury the box in the ground. Note that you should always handle the flag mindfully and respectfully -- whether you are lowering it down the staff, placing it into the interment box, or burying it. 
  • If you wish, you may mark the burial spot with a small patriotic marker.

 

At Accent Banner we specialize in the manufacture and sale of flags and banners for all types of organizations, including non-profits, schools, sports teams, and more. In addition, Accent Banner provides American flag repair and retirement services upon request.

If you have any questions about our US flag disposal services, if you would like to recycle other flags and banners, or if you have other questions, please feel free to contact us.

 

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Topics: flag repair, how to repair a flag, how to dispose of a flag

U.S. Flag Facts They Never Taught You in School

Posted by Derrek Coss on Jul 20, 2017 8:09:00 AM

Did you know that the current 50 star U.S. Flagdesign of the United States flag has lasted longer than any other design in U.S. history? Essentially this is because we have not added a new state to our great country since the addition of Hawaii on August 21, 1959. Luckily, Robert Heft the designer of the 50 star U.S. flag has already designed a 51 star flag so if we ever choose to add another state we’ll be good to go! Learn more flag facts below!

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(Short on Time? Click Here to Download our FREE Guide to Maintaining Your U.S. Flag!) 

 

Alt colors for original U.S. flag design

In colonial America there were only 8 different dye colors that were easily produced. Light blue, indigo blue, gold, red, white, yellow, green and black. A few of these colors we’re ruled out right away as yellow was the color of quarantine and black has long been symbolic of death in western culture. That leaves just green, gold, and light blue as the colors not selected by Francis Hopkinson for use in his flag design.

 

flag facts

Get this! Using the flag as decorative bunting has played a major roll in U.S. history at least once. President Lincoln visited Ford’s Theatre on April 14, 1865.  He was provided a box seat decorated with bunched flags, a common practice at the time. Later that night John Wilkes Booth crept up behind Lincoln and shot him. Booth then jumped onto the railing of Lincoln’s box seat and proclaimed “Sic semper tyrannis” (“Thus always to tyrants”). He then planned to jump down to the stage to make his escape. However, as Booth went to make his move his spur caught on the decorative flag bunched along the railing causing him to loose his balance, land awkwardly and injure his leg. Booth pushed thru the pain and escaped only to be captured nearby, a few days later.


For years after this an urban legend was spread that the flag that reached up and grabbed Booth was “Old Glory” herself. However, it turns out that the actual “hero flag” was the flag of the Treasury department Regimental Unit.

*Referenced The Care and Display of the American Flag by the editors of Sharpman.com 2004 for entire blog post.

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Topics: american history, American flag, flag facts, U.S. flag, flag history

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