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.
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.
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.
As the recent 4th-of-July-weekend Blues Festival began, Portlanders continued their tradition of protest, often using flags. At times that involved burning them.
The right-wing group Patriot Prayer planned a two-hour “Freedom March” at Tom McCall Waterfront Park with “a small amount of speeches to promote freedom and courage”. On Facebook it said “Fear will not silence Americans in these liberal strongholds. Please bring your best behavior.”
The opposition group Rose City Antifa [anti-fascist] organized an opposition rally called “Enough: Stop Patriot Prayer Now!” On Facebook it said “We will not allow our community to be overrun by fascists and those who make excuses for them.”
Most demonstrators had passionate but peaceful conversations. However, one fight started after some Antifa protesters burned flags. One man tried to hit others with a broken flag pole.
This behavior follows an incident where anti-Trump protesters burned American flags (and one Texas flag) in Pioneer Courthouse Square downtown on 20 January, Inauguration Day.
The Flag Fusions of Pedro Lasch (Scott Mainwaring)
A New Flag for Burlington, Vermont (Ted Kaye)
Travels with Flags (Michael Orelove)
Oregon Flag Registry Update
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. Keen eyed readers may also spot a terrible flag joke, not counting the visual pun below (and, please, send us better ones!).
As Ted Kaye noted last November, South Carolina’s capital Columbia is looking to replace its SOB flag with something that better reflects the contemporary city and that will be embraced instead of ignored by the public. After receiving 547 proposed designs, the Columbia Design League had a panel of NAVA members select 18 finalists to present to the public for feedback. The whole process is outlined on the Columbia Museum of Art’s website, on a page entitled Design a Better Columbia Flag!
The feedback period ends on July 10th, and allows for greater weight to be given to opinions expressed by those with some connection to the city (people who live there, are from there, or work there) via self-identification questions on the survey website colaflag.org. Unfortunately the survey presents the 18 finalists in a fixed order, which can introduce artifacts into the results; on the other hand, it anonymizes the designs, presents a statement of intended symbolism for each, and allows respondents to not only assign a 1-10 rating for each flag but to leave comments.
Two years later, it’s gone nowhere. The last tweet from the project (@SFFlag) was in November of last year. Media coverage has also lapsed — with the exception of a Flag Day article posted last week by the real estate website Curbed: San Francisco’s flag: Should it be redesigned?