Us State Flags

Written by Beth Hrusch
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Every state in the Union has its own flag, symbolic of some unique aspect of that particular state. Each state flag has evolved out of the traditions and history shared by all of the state's residents. This being the case, each state flag has come to be a sort of condensed version of each state's history. Learning about a state's flag can tell one a lot about the origins of some long-standing traditions.

A State Flag Tells a Story

The idea that each state should have its own flag was a natural one, progressing from the time-honored tradition of recognizing a newly formed territory as an entity somehow apart from others, yet a valuable member of the Union. The U.S. flag declared to the world that a new nation had been formed. In a similar way, as each state in the Union was born, it was obvious that it would need its own unique symbol.

Flags became a way to incorporate a state's chosen symbols. California's flag, for example, displays the state animal, which is the grizzly bear. The red star was in imitation of the star of Texas. New Mexico incorporated an Aztec symbol into its flag. The name of the state is, in fact, a form of the Aztec phrase meaning "place of Mexitli" in reference to an Aztec god.

The state of Ohio adopted the nation's only pennant-shaped flag in 1902, 99 years after it entered the Union. Some Southern states such as Mississippi and Alabama use the colors and symbols found in the Confederate flag as a way to acknowledge their Southern heritage. All U.S. state flags are reflections of their respective states in some way, and a study of them can be instructive for those seeking information about the different identities of all the states in the Union.


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