USA Flag Anatomy and Vexillology Terms

Posted by Derrek Coss on Jan 22, 2016 11:30:00 AM

Do you know the definition of “vexillology?”   If you over heard a discussion between two vexillologists (and we’re sure there are at least two of them) it would likely sound like a conversation in some strange alien language.  Well, hold on to your potatoes folks because we’re about to give you a lesson in vexillology, the scientific study of flags.

 gonfalonsFlag Anatomy and Vexillology Terms

The study of flags is quite interesting. No, seriously it is.  Just, do a  Google search on the term “gonfalon” and you’ll see tons of examples of what we mean. To learn more about gonfalons check out our gonfalon page. 

 

Gonfalon - an elaborate flag, usually of intricate design hung from a crossbar. Gonfalons can be used for a variety of reasons. Often graduation gonfalons are used at high school or college graduations. 

 

 

 

 

Here are some additional flag terms you may find interesting:

 flag terms or parts of a flag

Canton – the upper hoist quarter of a flag (see hoist below)

Charge – an emblem or device added to a flag or shield

Cockade – an ornament (rosette) or other significant colors worn as badge

Field – the background color of a flag or shield

Fimbriation – a thin band of color that separates two other colors

Fly – the half of a flag away from the flagstaff

Hoist – the half of a flag nearest the staff

Jack – a flag flown at the bow of a ship to indicate its nationality

Jolly Roger – common name for flag supposedly used by pirate…Arr

Livery Colors – the main colors of the field and main figure on a coat of arms

Obverse – the side of a flag seen when the staff is on the spectator’s left

Saltire – a diagonal cross

Staff – the pole from which a flag is flown

Fascinating isn’t it? Don’t forget to search “gonfalon” and may, your un-tattered flag always fly true in a stiff breeze.

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Please note the source for the above information is from Flags by Kent Alexander & Dr. Whitney Smith (Consulting Editor), published in 1992 by Mallard Press, NY, NY.

Topics: American flag, flag facts, flag terms, flag repair, U.S. flag, flag history, USA flag, flag parts, flag anatomy, gonfalon, vexillology

The history of Memorial Day and decorating with flags

Posted by Derrek Coss on May 23, 2014 10:48:00 AM

Memorial Day, which is observed on the last Monday of May, commemorates the men and women who died while in the military service.  In observance of the holiday, many people visit cemeteries and memorials, and volunteers often place American flags on each grave site at national cemeteries.  A national moment of remembrance takes place at 3:00 p.m. local time.

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Memorial Day History:

Three years after the Civil War ended, on May 5, 1868, the head of an organization of Union veterans — the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) — established Decoration Day as a time for the nation to decorate the graves of the war dead with flowers. Maj. Gen. John A. Logan declared that Decoration Day should be observed on May 30. It is believed that date was chosen because flowers would be in bloom all over the country.

The first large observance was held that year at Arlington National Cemetery, across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C.

The ceremonies centered around the mourning-draped veranda of the Arlington mansion, once the home of Gen. Robert E. Lee. Various Washington officials, including Gen. and Mrs. Ulysses S. Grant, presided over the ceremonies. After speeches, children from the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Orphan Home and members of the GAR made their way through the cemetery, strewing flowers on both Union and Confederate graves, reciting prayers and singing hymns.

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Local Observances Claim To Be First:

Local springtime tributes to the Civil War dead already had been held in various places. One of the first occurred in Columbus, Miss., April 25, 1866, when a group of women visited a cemetery to decorate the graves of Confederate soldiers who had fallen in battle at Shiloh. Nearby were the graves of Union soldiers, neglected because they were the enemy. Disturbed at the sight of the bare graves, the women placed some of their flowers on those graves, as well.

Today, cities in the North and the South claim to be the birthplace of Memorial Day in 1866. Both Macon and Columbus, Ga., claim the title, as well as Richmond, Va. The village of Boalsburg, Pa., claims it began there two years earlier. A stone in a Carbondale, Ill., cemetery carries the statement that the first Decoration Day ceremony took place there on April 29, 1866. Carbondale was the wartime home of Gen. Logan. Approximately 25 places have been named in connection with the origin of Memorial Day, many of them in the South where most of the war dead were buried.

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Official Birthplace Declared

In 1966, Congress and President Lyndon Johnson declared Waterloo, N.Y., the “birthplace” of Memorial Day. There, a ceremony on May 5, 1866, honored local veterans who had fought in the Civil War. Businesses closed and residents flew flags at half-staff. Supporters of Waterloo’s claim say earlier observances in other places were either informal, not community-wide or one-time events.

By the end of the 19th century, Memorial Day ceremonies were being held on May 30 throughout the nation. State legislatures passed proclamations designating the day, and the Army and Navy adopted regulations for proper observance at their facilities.

It was not until after World War I, however, that the day was expanded to honor those who have died in all American wars. In 1971, Memorial Day was declared a national holiday by an act of Congress, though it is still often called Decoration Day. It was then also placed on the last Monday in May, as were some other federal holidays.

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All above text taken from The U.S. Dept. of Veteran Affairs website www.VA.org.

Topics: american history, accent banner, American flag, appliqued flags, U.S. flag, flag history, USA flag

Play Name That Flag! Win a U.S. Flag!

Posted by Derrek Coss on Jun 25, 2012 12:50:00 PM

Considering there are hundreds if not thousands of flag designs in the world we aren't ashamed to admit that these three flags have us stumped. Yep, the flag and banner specialists are at a loss and asking for your help. In return we'll gladly provide the winner with a 3'H x 5'W Nylon U.S. flag. Take a look below and post your answers in the comments section of this blog article. Good luck and thanks for the help!

NAME THAT FLAG!

1:unkown flag design blue field with white logo

2:unknown flag with horizontal white and red fields3:unknown flag with blue, orange and white fields including a tiger

Thanks for playing!

Topics: accent banner, American flag, flag facts, flag history, USA flag

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