Friday, March 29, 2013

Iowa State Flag Day


Today is Iowa State Flag Day. The Iowa Regimental Flag used by the Iowa National Guard during the First World War was adopted as the State Flag by the Iowa General Assembly on March 29, 1921 - ninety-two years ago. Dixie Cornell Gebhardt designed the flag. Knoxville, the county seat of Marion County, calls itself "The Birthplace of the Iowa Flag" as that is where Mrs. Gebhardt resided.
That's my 'window on the world' in the background behind our neighbor's flags. I no longer have a flagpole, but over the years I've worn out many American Flags, Iowa Flags, Irish Flags and a couple of other state's flags - Arizona and Alaska. Those two I flew just because I liked the designs, not for any sentimental reasons.


And speaking of Iowa county seats, I learned something surprising yesterday. I've always prided myself on my knowledge of Iowa history, but I never knew Lee County Iowa has two county seats! Fort Madison was the first county seat, established in 1837 and Keokuk became the second one by special act of the Iowa General Assembly in 1848.
The line which separates the North and South parts of the county follows what is known as the Sullivan Line. The surveyor, J.C. Sullivan, was responsible for drawing the boundary line between Missouri and Iowa in 1816. His line ended at the Des Moines River on the west boundary of Lee County. It was assumed the line would continue on to the Mississippi making Keokuk and the southern part of Lee County part of Missouri. But it didn't. The border followed the Des Moines River southeast to the Mississippi. That's the little tail part of Iowa in the old 1856 map above.

Iowa became the 29th state on December 28, 1846. The official State Motto was adopted as an element of the State Seal by the First General Assembly on February 25, 1847. The motto, "Our liberties we prize and our rights we will maintain", is inscribed in white letters on blue streamers carried in an eagle's beak in the middle, white, section of the state flag. The blue section represents loyalty, justice and truth while the red stands for courage.
I wonder if I would be able to design a state flag if I were charged with such a responsibility. Could you?

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