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Post Why All US State Flags are Wrong: Washington Post
Created by John Eipper on 06/25/15 1:10 PM

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Why All US State Flags are Wrong: Washington Post (David Fleischer, Brazil, 06/25/15 1:10 pm)

This Washington Post piece puts our recent flag discussion in perspective:


JE comments: For a lifelong "flag geek," this survey of the nation's 50 worst is a hoot. The author strives to condemn them all, but there are some distinctive flags worth preserving: my favorites include Maryland (admittedly, a bit NASCAR), Ohio (memorable shape) and New Mexico (simple, mysterious, and instantly recognizable).  California's flag is false advertising, with its "Republic" reference, but the bear adds some real gravitas.

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  • In Defense of US State Flags (Edward Jajko, USA 06/26/15 6:47 AM)
    I really intended to write on something else but this smarmy and ignorant blog piece about the US state flags (see David Fleischer, 25 June), drawn from the same fonts of ignorance as the Jon Stewart Daily Show, is irritating enough to call for at least a partial response.

    Alaskans are justly proud of their beautiful flag, which displays the Big Dipper and North Star in gold against a rich deep blue field. It may be the most beautiful of all the state flags. Alaskans are proud of the fact that it was designed by a young teenage boy who participated in a territory-wide contest among school kids.

    The comments on the flag of California are also ignorant. The flag recalls the foundation of the state as an entity independent of Spain and Mexico. Even if the Bear Flag Republic was short-lived, it lives on in the history of the state. The mention of the Soviet Union is interesting. Back in the 1980s, the Hoover was visited a couple of times by a Turkish scholar. He told me on a return visit that he had had problems with Turkish Customs on his return home. Going through his baggage, the officials had come across the souvenir California flag he had taken home. It happened to be a period of military rule, and he said that it took a long time for him to prove somehow to the Customs officials that the red star, obvious Russian bear, and red stripe at the bottom were not Soviet emblems.

    Hawaii: the writer seems ignorant of the fact that the state, settled by Polynesian wayfarers, was first discovered by the British Captain Cook and were named by him the Sandwich Islands, in honor of his sponsor, and was then taken over by the US in more than suspicious circumstances in the 19th century. Hence the amalgamation of the British and US flags.

    Indiana: a simple design rich in symbolism. The flag has 19 stars, signifying Indiana as the 19th state of the Union. There are 13 stars in the outer circle, for the original colonies and states, and six in the interior, the largest at the top standing for Indiana. The state is one that prides itself on education and learning, hence the torch.

    Maryland: the description of this flag is particularly irritating. The flag consists of the heraldic arms of Cecil Calvert, 2nd Baron Baltimore, after whom the city of Baltimore is named. This line became extinct in 1771 but the history of the Lords Baltimore and their family lives on in the numerous places named for them in Maryland--including the Lord Baltimore Hotel in downtown Bal'more--and in the flag of the state. This is living history.

    New Mexico: does the writer know nothing about the abstract nature of indigenous Southwestern art? About the four directions, the four winds, etc., expressed abstractly?

    South Carolina: does the writer not know that South Carolina is "the Palmetto State," and that the flag expresses this without words, and that the palmetto is beneath a southern moon?

    Texas: can the writer be the one person in the country who has not heard the phrase "Lone Star State"?

    Utah: the writer seems not to know that for Mormons the beehive is the symbol of industry. I bought my gas shut-off valve (for earthquakes) from a Beehive store in south San José years ago.

    Just a few comments about a trashy, ignorant publication that should have embarrassed the Washington Post.

    JE comments: Well said, Ed.  A great deal of thought went into a lot of the state flags. I'm still unimpressed by the generic-looking "coat of arms" flag, examples of which include New York, Pennsylvania, and my own Michigan.

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    • In Defense of US State Flags (Robert Whealey, USA 06/26/15 2:51 PM)
      I agree 100% with Ed Jajko (26 June) on the 50 state flags. I'm sure Randy Black will join us with a salute to the Lone Star State. We need a law in all 50 states to make US history and at least one state history required courses. At the U of Delaware in 1952, Delaware history was a required course for all history and education majors. The same requirement was in place when I first came to Ohio in 1964. Some time about 1968 the student revolutionaries demanded no requirements. Ohio and the other 49 states have been in decay ever since.

      George Orwell turned his back on England from 1921-27. He rediscovered a different England when he came back in 1927-1933. I still meet stray students in the student union for coffee. Over 50% have never heard of George Washington. How many of the 12-13 Republican candidates for President have ever read the Constitution?

      JE comments: Never heard of George Washington? Yikes. As for the Republican candidates and the Constitution, legend has it that Sen. Ted Cruz has the whole text memorized.

      Speaking of the Constitution, what say WAISdom about today's Supreme Court ruling?  As of this morning, same-sex marriage is the law of the land.

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