And after [Dallas’ flag at number 21] there’s a huge drop-off to number 55: Houston, where the flag dates back to 1840, when the city was all of four years old. Just as we don’t allow pre-K kids to get inked up, we should not allow toddler cities to attempt to brand themselves for all eternity.
Although a locomotive is the dominant element here, this represented an invitation more than a reality: no train would churn into Houston until years later. And although trains did play an important role in the development of Houston and continue to be a vital part of the economy today, they are widely loathed for all the traffic snarls they cause.
Despite the criticism there isn’t apparently any serious effort to improve it. But there are several humorous and artistic redesign proposals.
Columbia, Missouri’s logo is intended to represent harmonious relations between the city’s government and its citizens:
City employees and citizens exist in an interwoven relationship. As a representation of this cooperative working bond, the distinctive City of Columbia logo depicts people joined together in an unending circle of community service. A solid version of the logo appears on city-owned vehicles, uniforms and correspondence as a reminder of this cooperative goal. [From FOTW research on the city flag]
Alas, in its simplified form used in the actual logo, it looks like four men in a hot-tub. The city used this logo flag from 1988 until this year, when a flag contest was held to redesign the flag.
Back in 1991, Republic, Missouri ran a ran a competition to choose a logo to be used on the city seal and the city flag. Marilyn Schexsnayder received $100 for the winning entry, an oval divided into quarters depicting the location of Republic within an outline of Missouri, an outstretched hand, a silhouette of a “traditional family” (mother, father, son, daughter), and the Christian fish symbol, the ichthus. The Missouri state flag was used as the basis for the city flag, with the Missouri seal replaced by the city seal — and the city’s name and marketing slogan written out for good measure.
As one might imagine, a city explicitly identifying itself with any one religion would violate the principle of separation of church and state as established in the First Amendment. By February 1998 local objections to the flag became a subject of debate in Board of Aldermen meetings. Closeted Wiccan and employee of the Republic Monitor (a local weekly paper) Jean Webb attended one of these meetings and was moved to write an editorial opposing the flag — for which she was fired and harassed with hate mail and threatening phone calls. Her children were ostracized, and she had to move her family away to escape the bigotry.
Supported by the ACLU, Webb filed a complaint objecting to the Christian symbolism on the flag, which made it to the US District Court inWebb v. City of Republic. The case gained national attention, appearing in the New York Times and elsewhere, and galvanizing local support for the fish-festooned flag and against the ACLU. In 1999 Republic lost the case, and responded by removing the ichthus but otherwise keeping the rest of the seal’s design intact, leaving a bizarre “this space intentionally left blank” in its civic heraldry.
This year Republic is considering updating its flag. Unfortunately, as in the case of Provo, Utah, the main concern seems to be leveraging the city’s investment in a new logo (a stylized R) and slogan (“growing together”). Here are the 11 designs under consideration, according to an April 2016 analysis by Interim City Administrator Jared Keeling.
Japanese band World Order is, in their words, “a group creating a unique genre of performing arts through its original musical and physical expression”. (The group’s leader, Genki Sudo, has characterized World Order as “a new-world-order-conspiracy-theory parody group”.) Of their 2013 single Imperialism — from their album Have a Nice Day — they say:
The new single and video IMPERIALISM builds on the group’s mission to prompt reflection contemporary society, working styles, global culture, and images of modern Japan. Provocatively shot in Washington D.C. – against backdrops of American sights like the US Capitol building and Union Station. Spontaneous moments from filming are kept as is for the video – WORLD ORDER’s expressive vision.
Usually, when I create my art, I keep in mind the following message: ‘If you change yourself, the world will change as well.’ For this video, I wanted to convey the message: ‘If America changes, the world will change as well.’ I hope everyone across the world enjoys the new song. We Are All One!
The US flag plays a prominent role in two scenes, one at the Marine Corps War Memorial’s sculptural representation of Joe Rosenthal’s famous photograph Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima, the other at the Columbus Fountain in front of Union Station.
The blue earth, glowing with vitality, is surrounded by colorful figures representing the beauty that is possible when people of different colors, tongues and beliefs come together in mutual respect and support. The rainbow spectrum also stands for the integrated wholeness at the core of every individual in this world flag. We access this inner peace by accepting and loving all aspects of our humanness.
The rising sun symbolizes the new millennium and the unlimited energy we are being given to be our best selves and to live our life’s purpose. The sun also represents our male aspect, which must be balanced with our inner female represented by the moon for inner peace to flourish.
Today in 1811 the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela declared independence and adopted Francisco de Miranda‘s tricolor of yellow, blue, and red. The flag has undergone many changes in its 105 year history, most recently in 2006 when Hugo Chavez added an eighth star for the province of Guayana and changed the horse in the coat of arms to face left (toward the hoist), but the tricolor — now shared with Colombia and Equador — has prevailed.
This year’s Independence Day comes at a very difficult time of economic and political turmoil for Venezuela. But the celebrations went on. Here is a sample of what got posted to Instagram under hashtag #5dejulio.
Where the Wishkah River flows into the Chehalis, just before it in turn flows into Grays Harbor in coastal Washington lies the small city of Aberdeen, best known as the birthplace and home of the lead singer of Nirvana, Kurt Cobain (1967-1994). Founded in 1884 by Samuel Benn, up until a few days ago it has never had a city flag.
Following a year-long effort by Aberdeen resident and flag enthusiast John Barclay, on 29 June 2016 the city council voted nearly unanimously to adopt his flag design. (Radio station KBKW noted the objection of councilwoman Andrews, “who said the design reminded her of Alvin and the Chipmunks”.) The flag was presented to the council by Barclay and by Brian Little, President of the Aberdeen Revitalization Movement, who had strongly endorsed the flag in a written statement that included:
Stemming in part from an ongoing community conversation regarding finding meaningful opportunities to express civic pride Mr. Barclay on June 24, 2015 first approached Council to propose the creation and adoption of a city flag. At that first meeting he offered that: “Every great city deserves a great city flag”. The idea was met with enthusiasm and, encouraged by the Council’s response, [he] has since championed the idea and enlisted other likeminded citizens and together they have worked to bring forward a suitable City Flag for Council’s consideration.
A canton comprised of a diagonal gold stroke extending from the upper hoist corner towards the fly and terminating just short of the botton of the blue field, and a thinner horizontal gold stroke extending from the lower middle hoist towards the fly and intersecting with the diagonal gold stroke.
The gold canton thus described being symbolic of the City of Aberdeen, Washington situated at the confluence of the Chehalis and Wishkah Rivers, and the blue field symbolic of the Harbor and the Pacific Ocean beyond. Together the symbolism represents Founder Sam Benn’s deeply held dream of “someday building a great city at the confluence of the Chehalis and Wishkah Rivers.” His dream is not just our city’s legacy but also our vision purpose. Building a great city!
So officially that’s not half of a capital A for Aberdeen decorating the blue field. But in the flag specification it reads “Font: Segoi UI Bold” — a curious annotation indeed if the design includes nothing textual. In his remarks to the Council Barclay seemed to indicate that the resemblance to text is intentional:
There’s a blue background, and that is not a letter, it’s not even half of a letter – although it does look like one, but that starts the conversation. […] The blue on the bottom represents the harbor, that leads out to the ocean, that’s why the leg isn’t attached to the bottom. The diagonal swatch represents the Chehalis River, the horizontal slash represents the Wishkah and this little part in here [gesturing at where the two met] represents where Sam Benn stepped out on the conflux to build a great city.
In 2001, Australian vexillographer Brendan Jones produced a series of intriguing proposals for new Australian state flags. The designs follow the pattern established by the flags of the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory: the southern cross from the national flag in a panel at the hoist, and an emblem representative of the state in the fly.
For New South Wales, the hoist is dark blue and the fly sky blue (the state color), bearing a red waratah (the state flower). Jones notes that the waratah “is also of significance to many local Aboriginal peoples and hence serves as an important symbol of Aboriginal recognition and reconciliation”.
The proposal for Victoria is in dark blue and white. In the fly, an eight-pointed star, taken from the historic Eureka flag of 1854, is counterchanged and combined with an inverted triangle to form the shape of the state’s initial “V”.
For Queensland, the hoist again is dark blue; the gold fly (which represents the state’s sunshine and golden beaches) is charged with a stylized Cooktown orchid (the state’s floral emblem) in maroon, the state color. The orchid’s six petals represent Queensland as the sixth and last of Australia’s states to have been established as a British colony.
South Australia’s heraldic colors of blue, gold, and red all appear in its proposed flag. The blue hoist represents the Southern Ocean and the red fly the desert of the Outback; a narrow gold fimbriation separates the two and the fly is charged with the piping shrike from the existing state flag and coat of arms.
The design for Western Australia uses the state’s heraldic and sporting colors of black (hoist) and gold (fly); the gold also represents the state’s mineral wealth and expansive desert. The fly bears the state emblem, the black swan, which appears in the current flag and badge and evokes the state’s former name, the Swan River Colony.
For Tasmania, both the state’s unofficial sporting color (green) and its heraldic colors (red and white) are used. The hoist is red and the fly white, charged with a map of the state in green; the green also symbolizes Tasmania’s natural heritage.
On the whole, the proposed designs are clear and distinctive, and the unifying pattern of the hoist panel with the southern cross makes them unmistakably Australian. All of them would be a considerable improvement over the British colonial ensigns currently serving as state flags. But it might also be felt that the use of the NT/ACT model inappropriately blurs the constitutional distinction between Australia’s states and territories, and that for the states’ flags to adhere to a uniform template does not serve to represent their individual identities and their status as sovereign entities within the Australian federation.