State Flyovers

The heavy-duty bracket I purchased to display our American flag sits patiently on the garage shelf. The flagpole and flag stay wrapped in the plastic they came in. I hesitate with this little DIY project because I’m mounting the bracket onto a rounded wood column on the front porch. If the column isn’t solid throughout, it may not support the Stars and Stripes. Or the Palmetto State flag, for that matter.

South Carolina

If you’re not familiar with the South Carolina state flag, you are now.  Not very exciting, eh?  A white palmetto tree in the middle and a white crescent to the upper left, on a rectangle of deep blue.  Okay, but what about why the flag has this look?  That’s a little more interesting.  All of it is a nod to the Revolutionary War.  The crescent could be found on an American soldier’s cap, palmetto logs were used to build the forts they fought from, and the deep blue was the color of their uniforms.  My assumption was simply, “Oh, our state has a lot of palm trees and a lot of clear moonlit nights.”


The same could be said for the state of our former residence.  Colorado’s flag is likewise simple, with a big red “C” for Colorado surrounding what I assumed was a yellow nod to the state’s bountiful days of sunshine (300+/year).  Nope, I only got the sunshine part right.  The “C” represents “columbine” (state flower) and “centennial” (Colorado became a state in the hundredth year of America’s independence).  The red represents the state’s distinctive sandstone soil, the white its ever-present snow, and the blue its endless skies (which really are an amazing blue).  More than meets the eye with this “state flyover”, am I right?


Not content with just SC and CO, I decided to give a few other state flags a whirl… literally.  I flicked my mouse wheel the way someone might spin the bottle, for an unsuspecting kiss choice from the list.  Up came ME.  There’s a lot going on with Maine’s state flag, including a couple of proud characters and a moose that looks rather cartoonish.  “Dirigo”, from a long-ago-but-now-defunct language of the region, means simply, “I lead”.

Here’s a further sampling of U.S. state flag trivia:

  • Arkansas was the first of the fifty states to produce diamonds.
  • Hawaii was once under British control, so their flag includes a small version of the “Union Jack”.
  • Montana’s motto is “gold and silver”.
  • Ohio’s flag is not rectangular and includes a “swallowtail” notch (which can’t be said for any of the others).
  • Oregon’s flag has a different design on each side.
  • Utah’s flag changes in 2024, to better represent the makeup of the state’s residents.

If you live in an American state, you should play this game yourself.  Scroll to the image of your flag in the article: The state flag for all 50 states… but before you read the written description, make your best guess on the colors and symbols.  It’s fair to say most Americans don’t really know our state flags.

Go Dawgs!

South Carolinians love to fly flags.  You’ll see the colors of colleges and universities from all over down here (including the red/black of those nearby football champion Georgia Bulldogs).  You’ll see a lot of those “garden flags” designed to represent the year’s seasons and holidays.  But mostly you see the Stars and Stripes, and the Palmetto and Crescent.  South Carolina’s forever nod to the Revolutionary War means I’ll never look at our flag the same way again.  Now I just have to get the bracket where it belongs so I can hoist the banner same as every other resident.

Some content sourced from the USA Today article, “The state flag for all 50 states…”, and Wikipedia, “the free encyclopedia”.

Author: Dave

Three hundred posts would suggest I have something to say… This blog was born from a desire to elevate the English language, highlighting eloquent words from days gone by. The stories I share are snippets of life itself, and each comes with a bonus: a dusted-off word I hope you’ll go on to use more often. Read “Deutschland-ish Improvements” to learn about my backyard European wish list. Try “Slush Fun” for the throwback years of the 7-Eleven convenience store. Or drink in "Iced Coffee" to discover the plight of the rural French cafe. On the lighter side, read "Late Night Racquet Sports" for my adventures with our latest moth invasion. As Walt Whitman said, “That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.” Here then, my verse. Welcome to Life In A Word.

20 thoughts on “State Flyovers”

  1. Patriotism. We’ve been watching a lot of Stanley Cup Hockey playoffs and listening to your anthem. I wonder how many Americans know the history of the song! It is my absolute favourite of all anthems, though a special nod goes to the singing of the Canadian anthem in Edmonton’s arena. The singer starts the Canadian anthem, then stops and lets the crowd sing the rest of it. Fun to watch and listen to.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love Canada’s anthem, Margy. It has the reverent feel of a church hymn and then that soaring finishing stanza. I hope singers respect your anthem more than they have the Star-Spangled Banner over the years. With very few exceptions (notably, Whitney Houston) our anthem is meant to be sung exactly as it was written.

      Sorry to see your Oilers bow out of the playoffs. Canada hasn’t taken the Stanley Cup for thirty years now and that somehow feels wrong.


      1. What I find frustrating about our Canadian Anthem is the way it keeps being changed. It is in the public domain – it can be used as a base for derived works. So, sometimes it is sung with some lines in English and some in French (linguistic duality – in my province, 2% of the population speaks French.) In 2018 it was altered to make it gender-neutral. When the two language version is sung (which is frequently because it is the ‘correct’ thing to do), I only know four of the nine lines…

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I moved to Nevada that has a boring flag – giant field of blue with a small logo in the corner saying, “Battle Born.” One of the official mottos of Nevada. At least California had a giant bear right smack in the middle of its flag.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’ll note Nevada didn’t even make my list of trivia. I have to agree; that is one boring flag. Maybe like Utah, you should push for a new design to better represent the state’s population. You could even sew the first one and earn a footnote in the U.S. history books like Betsy Ross did! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Considering most Coloradoans don’t even know their state name literally means “colored red” (again with the sandstone soil), 99 of 100 would think the “C” stands for Colorado. A more meaningful interpretation might be a little much for them. Let’s just keep this blog post a secret, shall we?

      Liked by 1 person

  3. As an Ohio resident I know that our flag goes way beyond not being a rectangle. The flag shape is called burgee which makes the description of it about as unclear as the fog on Lake Erie.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “Burgee” is a new one on me, Ally (seems to be a sailing term and I do not sail). I even pronounced it wrong before I looked it up – no hard “g”. Good to know!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Our flag here in Michigan just has a coat of arms, the State Bird (Robin) and the State motto “If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look about you.” We are known as the Great Lakes State because we are first in the nation for having the most freshwater coastline of any state in the U.S (3,288 miles, a factoid I had to look up).

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Dave, here in Michigan we are proud of our Great Lakes. The tourism campaign of “Pure Michigan” is mostly based on our waterways. I have only been to Northern Michigan twice, but still have not seen the most beautiful areas of the northern parts of state. We are also considered second to the New England states for leaf peeping! Unfortunately, many people think Michigan is associated primarily with being the top automotive manufacturing state with no other attributes.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Several state flags nod to the original colonies and/or other states. Indiana’s is one of those – there’s nothing “Indiana” about it. I think an update is in order 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Every time I see a Colorado flag, I think it’s for the Chicago Cubs. The palmetto thing and history of your new flag is interesting

    As for the Indiana flag, the 19 stars represents Indiana’s status as the 19th state. I find it dignified.

    Liked by 1 person


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