September 17

All of the states – and many counties and municipalities – emblazon symbolic representations onto flags.

Many of these flags were purposefully designed to convey fundamental precepts – or generating history – for which their government exists.

Some flags are deeply steeped in history and have flown for decades, if not centuries; others are relatively new, such as the young State of Georgia and City of Portland flags.

For example, the City of Detroit’s flag – originally designed in 1907 by David E. Heineman and adopted in 1948 – includes as its hub the City’s seal. The seal has two latin mottos “Speramus Meliora” (“We hope for better things”) and “Resurget Cineribus” (“It will rise from the ashes”). Inspired by the great fire of June 11, 1805 – in which all but one building was destroyed – the seal also includes two figures – one weeping at the destruction, the other expecting greatness to arise from the ashes. In addition, the flag is divided into quarters – each representing a sovereign which controlled the city. Originally founded in 1701 by the French, the left quarter has the classic fluers-de-lis; the upper right quarter has Great Britain’s traditional lions to represent British control from 1760-1796; the upper left and lower right quarters are the classic 13 stars and stripes of the United States (albeit divided in a unique manner).

Learning about state, county, and local flags can only provide us greater insight into our origins and liberties.