Every home in the United States displays a flagpole in its front yard. Likewise, every American state has a distinctive flag representing its people and history. Who or what is behind these banners, and what do they stand for? What follows is a brief history of state flags in the United States. Read more?
Although Maryland was the first state to officially adopt a flag in 1904, most states did so until the 1920s and 1930s. Early flags were typically blue or white with a basic pattern depicting the state seal or coat of arms.
Flags of individual states have evolved to include increasingly distinctive and significant design elements. For instance, the Zia sun sign seen on the state flag of New Mexico stands for the four cardinal directions, four seasons, and four ages in Native American belief systems. Likewise, the Union Jack, representing Hawaii's historical links to Great Britain, and the eight horizontal stripes, representing the state's eight major islands, may be seen on the state flag.
Some state flags' origin myths are more contentious than others. For instance, the state flag has been the subject of heated controversy and demonstrations in Mississippi due to its design's resemblance to the Confederate battle flag. As a result, the state officially changed its flag in 2020 to one with a magnolia blossom and the words "In God We Trust."
Generally, state flags represent the history and culture of any individual state. They remind us of our roots and the values we hold dear. In addition, each state's flag, from Texas's Lone Star to Vermont's verdant slopes, represents the pride and solidarity of its people.
Remember its significance the next time you see a state flag flying in the breeze. The cloth and dye that make up these flags aren't what they're really about. Instead, they embody each state's culture, heritage, and character in this magnificent nation.