Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Flag of West Virginia

The flag of West Virginia, the 35th state
On June 20, 1863, West Virginia became the 35th state in the Union. A free state, West Virginia was one of several new states created prior to the Civil War with a hope to balancing Congress and thus prevent a war over slavery.

The design of the West Virginia state flag was passed in the spring of 1929. The flag has a field of white surrounded by a wide, blue border. Centered in the middle of the white field is a version of the state seal designed especially for the flag. It contains several classical elements including two banners, a garland , a baroque style implied shield, the state motto, and a symbolic depiction of the state's roots and early industry. 

The West Virginia seal as designed for its flag.
 The red banner at the top holds the state's name: State of West Virginia. Below this is a lush, green and red garland of rhododendron, the state flower. Inside this garland is a baroque style shield in the color gold. This circlet  includes the official state seal as designed for the flag along with the state motto.

The state motto is Montani Semper Liberi, Latin for "mountaineers are always free." The motto, also in a red banner, is centered inside the bottom of the gold circlet. Above this, the seal contains a picture of two men, one is a farmer and the other is a miner. Between them is a large rock with the date of West Virginia's statehood, June 20, 1863.

The Liberty cap from American and French revolutions.
Below the miner, farmer and great rock are two crossed rifles. At the juncture sits a red Liberty cap.

The Liberty cap or Phrygian cap dates to ancient Rome and is associated with the hats worn by freed slaves.

Let it fly!

Blackwater Falls in Beartown State Park, Pocahontas County, West Virginia. It doesn't get more magical than this.

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