Mississippi Furling

By Ted Kaye
Vexilloid Tabloid #72

Pressure to change the state flag  of Mississippi continues, from  inside and outside the state.

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The Stennis Flag, first proposed by artist Laurin Stennis in 2016. Photo from stennisflagflyers.com.
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Quarterman’s Mighty Magnolia Flag. Photo from mightymagnoliaflag.com.

Multiple independent efforts proceed within Mississippi.  The most prominent, the proposal by Laurin Stennis, has the support of the largest flag retailer in Jackson and the “Stennis Flag Flyers” group.  Design student Chase Quarterman explored “The Mississippi Identity” in the debut issue of NAVA’s revamped quarterly, Vexillum (March 2018) and is proposing his “Mighty Magnolia” flag.  Other NAVA members are working to guide state policy.  And Judge Carlos Moore made national news in 2017 when he removed the flag from his Clarksdale, Mississippi, courtroom (see Vexillum #2).

Stennis, Moore, and NAVA vexillologist Jack Lowe are featured in this short documentary from HuffPost | Between The Lines.

Other states have taken different approaches to the issue.

In Juneau, Alaska, the site of a 50-state flag display has replaced the Mississippi flag with the supposed 1861 Magnolia Flag, which Jackson vexillologist Clay Moss (disputing Whitney Smith) describes as the “flag that never existed”.

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The Magnolia Flag flying in place of the MS state flag in Juneau, AK, Sept. 2018. Photo: Mary Ansoff

Here in Oregon, the state legislature has removed the Mississippi flag from the 50-state flag display on the capitol grounds in Salem, leaving a bare pole.

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The bare pole which few the MS flag at the Oregon Capitol, Sept. 2018. Photo: Ted Kaye

 

 

Vexilloid Tabloid #72

It’s October, which means the latest issue of our newsletter is here for your vexillological pleasure.  It features:

  • Mississippi Furling (Ted Kaye)
  • Tulsa, Oklahoma Adopts a New Flag
  • Vexiday: The Third World Vexillology Day in Portland (Scott Mainwaring)
  • De gustibus non est disputandum (Carl Gurtman)
  • The 2018 Gresham Teddy Bear Parade (Michael Orelove)

And, as always highlights from our last meeting, a roundup of flag news and notes, sightings of the Portland city flag, and the What’s That Flag quiz.  (This issue’s quizmaster: Ted Kaye!)

If you have items you would like us to consider for publication in the Tabloid, or would like to be added to the email distribution list so you never miss an issue, please contact editor@portlandflag.org.

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Redesigns for Fayetteville, Georgia wanted

Thanks to the efforts of vexillonaires Connor Mahlbacher and Zachary Carter, the city of Fayetteville, Georgia has launched an online design contest to redesign its municipal flag. Flag designers are welcome to submit proposals at fayetteville-ga.gov/flag, and are encouraged to view Roman Mars’ TED talk on municipal flag design, and to consult NAVA’s Good Flag, Bad Flag guidebook. The deadline is 5PM Eastern Time, Monday, October 15, 2018.

The Flags of the World database provides information about the current text-heavy red, white, and blue tricolor flag the city adopted in 2002. Local designer and artist Nita McFarlin won a design contest that year, explaining “I designed the flag with the same colors as France, since LaFayette was French and Fayetteville is named for him. Also, the double t in Fayetteville serves as the foundation for the clock tower. I believe the courthouse, being the oldest in Georgia, is most recognized by the tower and clock.”

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Nita McFarlin in 2012

The search for a new flag has generated some controversy, as evidenced in this July 2017 letter to the editor of local newspaper The Citizen by the county historian, Carolyn Cary.  She apparently sees an educational purpose to having words on flags: “If someone wants to create a new city flag devoid of any historical elements and any wording, go ahead. But that is not going to teach children and new residents a thing about our history.”

On the other hand, Mayor Ed Johnson has been generally supportive. When Mahlbacher and Carter spoke before the city council earlier that same month about the need for a redesign, The Citizen reported:

Mayor Ed Johnson thanked Carter for his comments, and suggested Carter be on a committee to see if the flag should be updated.

Carter agreed, and Johnson gave him a preview of what his new position might entail.

“Just be prepared for some blowback,” he said.

Controversy and blowback often come with the territory of local efforts to improve existing flag designs.

Vexilloid Tabloid #71

The August 2018 issue of our newsletter has arrived, featuring:

And, as always highlights from our last meeting, a roundup of flag news and notes, sightings of the Portland city flag, and the What’s That Flag quiz.  (This issue’s quizmaster: Tony Burton of the Flag Society of Australia.)

If you have items you would like us to consider for publication in the Tabloid, or would like to be added to the email distribution list so you never miss an issue, please contact editor@portlandflag.org.

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Vexilloid Tabloid #70

The seventieth edition of our newsletter features:

  • The Raven Flag
  • Rotary Club Flag Presentation (Michael Orelove)
  • Flags in Ireland: A Field Report, Installment 3 (Ted Kaye)
  • Face Flags of Washington: Seattle (Scott Mainwaring)
  • New Flag–Reno, Nevada

And, as always highlights from our last meeting, a roundup of flag news and notes, sightings of the Portland city flag, and the What’s That Flag quiz.

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Canada and Mexico Announce Merger

SAINT-ALPHONSE-RODRIGUEZ, QUEBEC — In a surprise announcement today, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto proclaimed their mutual withdrawal from NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement, and the merger of their two countries into the Federation of Camexida.  “It just got too difficult dealing with the Trump administration, so we’ve decided to leave NAFTA and join forces,” explained Trudeau. “That Trump, he’s just one bad hombre. Loco… Loquísimo!” added Peña Nieto, in an uncharacteristic display of informality.

The two leaders further revealed that to appease the Quebecois, the capital of the new federation would be developed in the small town of Saint-Alphonse-Rodriguez in Quebec (one of the few municipalities in Canada with a Spanish place name) and that Mexico would half-heartedly adopt French as a second official language (due to some lingering resentments around the events of 1861).  A new two-sided flag was revealed to represent the new country, with the Mexican eagle side serving as the front of the flag in even-numbered years, the Canadian maple leaf in odd-numbered years.

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Camexidian flag – obverse (even-numbered years), reverse (odd-numbered years).
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Camexidian flag – obverse (odd-numbered years), reverse (even-numbered years)

After their short announcement, the two leaders declined to answer any questions from the stunned audience, and left to have a meal of moose meat tacos and huitlacoche poutine.

Vexilloid Tabloid #69

Our latest newsletter features:

  • The Korean Unity Flag (Ted Kaye)
  • Flags in Ireland: A Field Report, Installment 2 (Ted Kaye)
  • Flags for All Seasons, Take 2 (Scott Mainwaring)
  • Flags along I-5 in Oregon (Michael Orelove)

And, as always highlights from our last meeting, a roundup of flag news and notes, sightings of the Portland city flag, and the What’s That Flag quiz.

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Scottsdale, Arizona Redesign Poll Closes Feb 28

The municipal government of Scottsdale, Arizona — “the West’s most Western town” according to its uninspired current flag — is narrowing in on a redesign and inviting public input. Why? “Scottsdale hopes a new flag will become an immediately recognizable symbol of the proud and accomplished desert community known around the world for its blend of western heritage, natural beauty and modern art and culture.”

Here are the contending proposals. (Interestingly, the web survey shows each proposals at two sizes, to allow the design to be read both close-up and at a more typical viewing distance.)

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This design represents the natural beauty and desirableness of Scottsdale’s geography and desert climate. The flag depicts the sun rising over the mountains of the McDowell Sonoran Preserve. Old Town is represented with the iconic cowboy logo which is also utilized in the City’s logo, seal and current flag. The blue and gray are traditional colors that are prominent in the City’s logo. The “sun-ray” design is borrowed from the Arizona state flag to provide a logical connection between state and city.
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Our stark blue sky creates a bold backdrop for our 48-square mile Preserve, making up more than 25% of the city limits. The outline of the mountain is meant to represent a portion of our 181 miles of trails. It’s only fitting to have a majestic sagurao on “West’s Most Western Town” city flag. Incorporated just in 1951, so many of the saguaro’s we see today were here well before then, thus becoming one of our city’s most loved icons.
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Having fallen in love with Scottsdale and moved here 3 years ago, these elements are why my husband and I are now permanent residents: the glorious sun, the stark blue sky, the undulating mountains and the magnificent flora. With an average of 314 days of sunshine, who wouldn’t want to live here?! Sunshine makes people happy and should be a key element on our flag. In 1994, the first parcel of land was dedicated as the McDowell Sonoran Preserve. This vast treasure, taking up just over 25% of Scottsdale, is a draw for locals and visitors alike as the largest urban park in the U.S. From the spring wildflowers to the ever towering saguaros, the stunning beauty of our flora is unmatched. These 4 elements together make up Scottsdale’s new flag.
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Scottsdale, “The West’s Most Western Town”, is synonymous with relaxation, open spaces, natural beauty, blue skies, sunshine, luxury, amazing events, and warm, welcoming people. This flag design reflects this. The American-flag/Arizona-flag blue at the top represents the 300+ days of clear blue skies stretching from horizon to horizon. There is a luxurious gold strip horizontally across the middle. The luscious green at the bottom represents our verdant spring desert, the preserve and the mountains that surround our dale. The white symbol at the center is a simplified version of the city seal, and is both a cowboy’s spur and a sun. It has ten points to spell out the name SCOTTSDALE.
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The blue triangle represents the McDowell Mountains as seen from a distance. The compass rose represents the travel industry, which makes up a large part of Scottsdale’s economy. Its white color symbolizes the cleanliness of the city. The three stripes are arranged to represent a sunset. The red stripe represents the beauty of Scottsdale and the surrounding desert. The orange stripe pays homage to Scottsdale’s original name, Orangedale, and to the citrus trees planted upon its founding. The yellow stripe represents the abundant sunshine. The yellow and blue were borrowed from the coat of arms of the city’s founder, Winfield Scott. All colors but orange and white are the same shades used on the Arizona state flag.
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The Scottsdale flag consists of 4 red mountain peaks representing the McDowell Mountains with the Saddleback Mountain in the middle and the highest peak in the east (far left side of flag). The McDowell Mountain preserve is central to Scottsdale wildlife and resident activities. The weld-yellow sky is symbolic of Arizona’s beautiful sunsets. The blue at the bottom of the flag represents the Salt-River which runs through the southern border of Scottsdale. In the center is Scottsdale’s official city seal, a rider astride a bucking horse, which symbolizes the deep roots in the old west and western activities. The Scottsdale flag resembles the Arizona flag in color scheme which allows it to be more easily recognized by Arizona residents or people visiting from out of state.
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The icons of the cactus and the mountain range were chosen to represent the beautiful horizons and mountain ranges surrounding Scottsdale. Highlighted are the breathtaking, radiant sunsets, represented by the blaze of orange and yellow. The deep royal blue was chosen to create a visceral connection to the depth of elegance within Scottsdale.
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The middle of the flag features a sunburst in the middle of a pure white Giant Saguaro blossom, our state flower and a favorite of Scottsdale. Around the white flower blossom is a circle of bold deep blue and white rope representing our wild west heritage and lifestyle. The background is split horizontally with a golden tan on the bottom representing our arid desert landscape and a deep blue representing our year round beautiful skies. The blue is similar to our state, county, and country flags.
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This City of Scottsdale flag design is based on a petroglyph originally found on the west side of the McDowell Mountains near DC Ranch. In 1937, Frank Lloyd Wright relocated the boulder to Taliesin West, inspiring its symbol. It reflects the artistry of Scottsdale residents, ancient and modern. The clasping hands symbolize the collaborative spirit that has taken place in Scottsdale through the years resulting in such community amenities as the Indian Bend Wash and the Scottsdale McDowell Sonoran Preserve. The blue background is the same as in the Arizona and United States flags and reflects the municipal connection to the state and federal governments. The brown represents the color of the Sonoran Desert and the McDowell Mountains. The blue lines also symbolize the canals and washes, and the brown lines symbolize the mountains that surround the community. The negative space between the clasping hands creates an “S” for Scottsdale.
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This flag design option portrays a version of the most prominent symbol of Scottsdale, in a simple but powerful form of the Cowboy and Horse. The blue represents the blue skies typical of Scottsdale and city color of blue. The copper represents the southwest, copper state, and the iconic sunsets.

As with many of these redesign efforts, it is worth asking whether deciding between these specific options through a public poll will lead to a better result (a more widely adopted flag) than would hiring a design professional to produce a final design after taking these amateur ideas into thoughtful consideration.

(Also, Oregonians will beg to differ: Port Orford, Oregon and obviously not Scottsdale is the literally most western incorporated settlement in the continental US.)

Re-Imagining the Royal and Vice-Regal Flags of the Commonwealth

From the August 2017 Vexilloid Tabloid #65
By Max Liberman

Queen Elizabeth II reigns as monarch of 16 sovereign and independent countries.  Although they share the same person as queen, each country’s throne is legally distinct:  she is simultaneously and separately Queen of the United Kingdom, Queen of Australia, Queen of Papua New Guinea, etc.

Some of these countries have adopted royal standards for the monarch’s personal use, usually a banner of the national coat of arms, defaced with Elizabeth’s  personal badge of a crowned “E” in a wreath of roses.

The royal standard of New Zealand, shown below, is a typical example.

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New Zealand royal standard.

Since the queen lives in the United Kingdom, in her other 15 realms she is represented by a governor-general, who fulfills the day-to-day functions of the head of state.

Most of these viceroys (governors-general) fly nearly-identical flags:  blue, with the lion-and-crown crest from the British royal arms above a scroll bearing the country’s name.

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Flag of the governor-general of Belize.

The flag of the governor-general of Belize is shown above.

From a heraldic and constitutional perspective, the symbolism of all this is not very satisfying.  The crowned-“E” badge serves as an armorial mark of difference, indicating that someone other than the actual bearer of the coat of arms is represented.  But as monarch, the queen is the personal embodiment of the state; the nation’s arms are her arms, and there is no reason for a person to bear his or her own arms differenced.

In accordance with heraldic custom, I suggest that in each realm she should use a banner of the  national arms without defacement or difference—as illustrated by proposed standards for the Queen of Grenada, the Queen of Tuvalu, and the Queen of Canada below.

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Proposed Grenadian royal standard.
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Proposed Tuvaluan royal standard.
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Proposed Canadian royal standard.

What of the governors-general? They do not represent the United Kingdom or the British government, so there seems little justification for their flags bearing the crest of the British monarch.  Rather, since each governor-general is the personal representative of his or her own country’s queen, I propose that he or she should fly a differenced version of that country’s royal standard.

A bordure ermine for difference might be especially suitable; this has often been employed in heraldry as a mark of difference, and is used today in the United Kingdom by members of the royal family without banners of their own.  Proposed flags for the governors-general of New Zealand and Barbados are pictured here.

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Proposed flag of the governor-general of New Zealand.
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Proposed flag of the governor-general of Barbados.

For the governor-general of Jamaica, ermine will not do, since the field of the Jamaican royal standard is already white.  In this case, I suggest a bordure compony of the national colors of green, gold and black.

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Proposed flag of the governor-general of Jamaica.

Something similar could be done in the Bahamas, St. Vincent and the Grenadines (see below), and St. Kitts and Nevis, where the same problem arises.

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Proposed flag of the governor-general of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Australia (below) and Tuvalu present another problem—how should the vice-regal flag be differenced when the royal arms already have a bordure?

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Current Australian royal standard.

The overall result, in my view, is a series of flags which clearly denote each realm’s independence and distinct national identity, combining existing national symbolism and centuries-old heraldic principles to accurately reflect today’s constitutional realities.

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Queen Elizabeth II’s personal flag.

Chicago Flags Finds a New Home in Gresham

From the August 2017 Vexilloid Tabloid #65
By Michael Orelove

About two years ago I wrote a  letter to the Chicago Fire Department requesting an old Chicago flag that had flown over a fire station.  I just received the flag.

It flew over Engine 83 which was 2.6 miles from where I used to live in Chicago.

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Michael Orelove at Troutdale Fire Station 75.

I wanted to find a new home for the flag so I went to Troutdale Fire Station 75 and asked if they knew any firefighters with a Chicago connection.  They referred me to Joe Griffin of Gresham Fire Station 76.

I connected with Joe, who has family in Chicago and goes to back there about once a year.  I gave him the flag.

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Joe Griffin and fellow firefighters at Gresham Fire Station 76.

As with other flags the stars and stripes represent different things.  On the Chicago flag each point of the stars has a different meaning.  For example, the second red star represents the Chicago Fire of 8–10 October 1871.  The points of the second star signify religion, education, esthetics, justice, beneficence, and civic pride.

Chicago adopted the original version of the flag in 1917.  Since then, it has added stars, and now flies extensively throughout the city.  The design has been voted one of the best in the country and has inspired other city flags.