NR Digital

Fifty Flags

by John J. Miller

On state ensigns fetching and plain

The United States has the best flag. Does anyone doubt this? Here’s something well beyond dispute: We Americans love our flag. We pledge our allegiance to it. We sing a national anthem about it. We give it nicknames: “Old Glory,” the “Stars and Stripes,” the “Red, White, and Blue.” We raise it at schools, hang it in sports arenas, and hoist it above car dealerships. We even have Flag Day, which falls on June 14 but isn’t as honored as a better-known flag-flying celebration three weeks later.

So we’re good at flags — except when we’re not, which is pretty often when it comes to state flags. Have you seen Nebraska’s? Flag people call it an “SOB,” or “a seal on a bedsheet,” which is to say it slaps the state seal on a navy-blue background. If that sounds familiar, it’s because about half the states follow this dull design. Most seals are detailed images meant for close-up viewing, not quick identification at a distance. They should stay off flags.

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