You can add Oklahoma City to the list of cities in which flag design activists have taken up Roman Mars’ call to arms to improve the municipal flag. They call themselves the OKC Flag Project, and are soliciting design proposals at their website, okcflag.org.
Despite the nuclear bottlecap, the OKC project sees nothing wrong with the city seal:
To be clear, the OKC Flag Project is not critical of the Oklahoma City Seal. We are just of the belief that a flag should be something more than a city seal on a white flag. (Source: www.okcflag.org/current-flag.html)
Oklahoma City used to use a “banner of arms” based on the city seal as its flag, designed by Mrs. Daniel C. Orcutt for the city’s 75th anniversary in 1965.
It can be argued that the current city flag is a downgrade from this 1965 flag. How did this happen? John Purcell in American City Flags writes:
Mayor Ron Norick asked for a new design after learning that residents in the sister city of Taipei, Taiwan, could not immediately recognize Oklahoma in its former city flag.
The push for a new city flag began last year when history and geography teacher John Bratt made a presentation to the city council “to get the conversation started”. In addition to presenting the Good Flag, Bad Flag design principles, he presented three design proposals his students had created.
The simplest of these was a horizontal bicolor of blue (sky) over red (earth) charged with a black silhouette of the Survivor Tree at the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum near the site of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building bombed by mass-murdering American terrorists in 1995. One of the flag’s designers, Shea Hale, testified “I think it represents Oklahoma City being able to survive tough times like the bombing, tornadoes and any tragedies that come.”
The symbolism of two other designs presented is not as clear:
A closing note:
American City Flags describes a more complex version of the seal for use on the current flag:
Centered on the field is a shield divided quarterly, its first and fourth quarters in red and second and third quarters in white. A cross is superimposed over the quarters’ inner edges, itself divided into four sections with their colors counterchanged (colors alternated) with the quarter they border; thus, white in the first and fourth quarters, and red in the second and third….
Cognizant of legal actions taken against other U.S. cities (especially, in this case, Edmond, Oklahoma) where crosses on flags have been said to represent Christianity, [flag designer Mark McFarland] maintained that the cross here merely serves as an “artistic divider” to provide sufficient distance among the various symbols.
Does anyone know what happened to this version of the seal? Was it officially simplified/Christianized at some point?