Flag of Missouri

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Missouri
Flag of Missouri.svg
Use Civil and state flag
Proportion 7:12
Adopted September 4, 1913
Design A horizontal tricolor of red, white and blue. The Missouri Seal, surrounded by a blue band and stars, is superimposed in the field center.
Designed by Marie Elizabeth Watkins Oliver

The flag of Missouri consists of red, white, and blue stripes, with the seal of Missouri in the center. Designed by Mrs. Mary Elizabeth Oliver, the red and white stripes, as is traditional, represent valor and purity, respectively. While the blue represents three things: the permanency, vigilance, and justice of the state. The three colors also highlight the French influence on the state in its early years. The flag was made the official flag of the state on March 22, 1913, when then governor Elliot Woolfolk Major signed a bill making it official.[1]

History[edit]

The Flag of the State of Missouri was designed and stitched in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, by Marie Elizabeth Watkins Oliver[2] (January 11, 1854– October 18, 1944), the wife of former State Senator R.B. Oliver. She began her flag project in 1908 as part of her volunteer activities with the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) when she was appointed chairperson of the DAR committee to research and design Missouri's flag. Oliver researched state flags extensively. She wrote each state's secretary of state for information about how their state's flags had been designed and officially adopted. Her original design incorporated Missouri's coat of arms and was rendered as a painted paper flag by her friend Mary Kochitzky.[3]

The flag was brought to the Missouri State Capitol in 1908 and bills to adopt the flag as the official flag of Missouri were introduced by Senator Arthur L. Oliver, her nephew, in 1909 and 1911. Both bills failed to pass in the House. A competing flag design, by Dr. G.H. Holcomb and referred to as the "Holcomb flag", was opposed due to its resemblance to the Flag of the United States and its lack of Missouri symbolism.[4] Oliver's original paper flag was destroyed when the Missouri State Capitol burned in 1911. With Mrs. S.D. MacFarland, Oliver sewed a second flag out of silk. Her design was adopted on March 22, 1913 when governor Elliot Woolfolk Major signed the Oliver Flag Bill. The flag design remains unchanged to this day.

The silk flag was kept by Marie Oliver until 1961 when her son Allen gave it to the State of Missouri. The flag was displayed until it began to deteriorate and was put into storage. In 1988, Secretary of State Roy D. Blunt issued a challenge to elementary students to raise money to restore the flag. The campaign was successful and the restored flag has been displayed in the James C. Kirkpatrick State Information Center in Jefferson City ever since.[5]

Design and Symbolism[edit]

The flag is a tricolor consisting of three horizontal stripes of red, white and blue. These represent valor, purity, vigilance, and justice. The colors also reflect the state's historic status as part of the French Louisiana (New France). In the center white stripe is the Seal of Missouri, circled by a blue band containing 24 stars, symbolizing Missouri's admission as the 24th U.S. state.[6]

The flag is described in Section 010.020 of Missouri's Revised Statutes.

In 2001, the North American Vexillological Association surveyed its members on the designs of the 72 US State, US Territory and Canadian province flags. The Missouri flag ranked in the bottom 25, 48th out of the 72.[7]

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