PDA

View Full Version : Subtle flag design at inauguration. Is this customary or (yet more) Texas strutting?


stuyguy
01-21-2005, 11:30 AM
I saw a wide angle photo of the inauguration ceremonies in today's paper. Something struck me as odd. In the background, above the podium, were hung five giant US flags.

The one in the center was a contemporary 50-star version. The two on the ends were what I'll call "1776-style" with a ring of 13 stars and the normal red and white stripes. But the second and fourth flags were unusual: they had 28 stars, not 50.

So I did a little research in a flag book I have. I should have known it! The US flag was redesigned with 28 stars when Texas came into the Union. (Forgive me if this was common knowledge mentioned by inaugural commentators. I did not watch the ceremony.)

As someone who is sick of having Texas and God (... am I being redundant? ...) shoved down my throat by this administration, I naturally wanted to up-chuck.

But then I thought, Hold on. Maybe this is customary, as a subtle courtesy to the person being inaugurated. Maybe they always hang the flag that denotes the entry of the new president's state at his inuaguration.

So that's my question -- is this how it is always done?

zev_steinhardt
01-21-2005, 11:34 AM
But then I thought, Hold on. Maybe this is customary, as a subtle courtesy to the person being inaugurated. Maybe they always hang the flag that denotes the entry of the new president's state at his inuaguration.

So that's my question -- is this how it is always done?

I don't know for a fact, but I don't believe it's customary to do that.

In any event, just imagine the possibilities: If a Delawarian (is that the right word?) gets elected, we could have a flag with one star! :D

Zev Steinhardt

Absolute
01-21-2005, 11:41 AM
As someone who is sick of having Texas and God (... am I being redundant? ...) shoved down my throat by this administration, I naturally wanted to up-chuck.

How does the administration shove Texas down your throat? God, yes, I can understand why you would say that, but Texas?

yabob
01-21-2005, 11:47 AM
I don't know for a fact, but I don't believe it's customary to do that.

In any event, just imagine the possibilities: If a Delawarian (is that the right word?) gets elected, we could have a flag with one star! :D

Zev Steinhardt
Which would imply that we were annexing
Liberia (http://www.crwflags.com/fotw/flags/lr.html) (OK, it's short a couple stripes - who's counting)

Mathochist
01-21-2005, 11:49 AM
How does the administration shove Texas down your throat? God, yes, I can understand why you would say that, but Texas?

Texas Attorneys-General, Texas book-cooking Secretaries of Education...

David Simmons
01-21-2005, 11:54 AM
I don't know for a fact, but I don't believe it's customary to do that.

In any event, just imagine the possibilities: If a Delawarian (is that the right word?) gets elected, we could have a flag with one star! :D

Zev Steinhardt

Funny, but technically incorrect. The USA as currently defined didn't exist until the Constitution was ratified by a certain number of states. I believe it was nine, so the first Stars and Stripes would have had thirteen stripes and 9 stars.

David Simmons
01-21-2005, 11:59 AM
And I didn't get it right either. According to this site the first flags started with thirteen stars and thirteen stripes. (http://flagspot.net/flags/us-1777.html)

Absolute
01-21-2005, 12:14 PM
Apparently it's a tradition that began with President Reagan.

http://www.southcoasttoday.com/daily/01-05/01-19-05/a02wn386.htm

Five American flags from three centuries now hang from the West side of the Capitol, a decorative tradition that apparently began with President Reagan's first inauguration.
Flags of various types and star arrangements have always been present at inaugurations, but the five-flag theme seems to be consistent since 1981, the first year the ceremony took place on the West Front of the Capitol, said Betty Koed, assistant Senate historian.
Serving as a backdrop for the stage on Thursday, the large flags hang down, separated by the building's columns.
The official U.S. flag -- 13 stripes, 50 stars -- holds center place. Two of the so-called Betsy Ross flags, created soon after the birth of the nation and bearing 13 stars arranged in a circle, flank the arrangement.
The second and fifth spots typically change every four or eight years to represent how the flag appeared when the president's home state became part of the union.For President Bush, these flags have 28 stars: Texas became a state in December 1845, and the 28th star was added the next year.
President Clinton's backdrops in 1993 and 1997 included the 25-star flag dating to 1836, when Arkansas became a state.
For the first President Bush's ceremony, the five-flag backdrop included stars and stripes from 1789, 1889 and 1989, marking the bicentennial of George Washington's inauguration

So, hold your vomit, unless you are also equally disgusted by Clinton shoving Arkansas down your throat.

manhattan
01-21-2005, 12:29 PM
Absolute beat me to the punch, but yeah. Here's (http://memory.loc.gov/pnp/ppmsc/02800/02866v.jpg) a picture of the 1993 inaugural with 25-star flags. Oddly, though, this site (http://www.usflag.org/the.25.star.flag.html) claims the 25-star flag was not symmetric, so I don't know what's up with that.

stuyguy
01-21-2005, 12:34 PM
Good job, Absolute!

And consider my vomit held. But, being an obnoxious NYer, seeing anybody else's flag up there disgusts me. In fact, at my inauguration I'll be pissed that I'll have to share my "state flag" with those twelve other colonial-era coattail riders! [Big grinny here.]

yabob
01-21-2005, 12:35 PM
Absolute beat me to the punch, but yeah. Here's (http://memory.loc.gov/pnp/ppmsc/02800/02866v.jpg) a picture of the 1993 inaugural with 25-star flags. Oddly, though, this site (http://www.usflag.org/the.25.star.flag.html) claims the 25-star flag was not symmetric, so I don't know what's up with that.
If you dig through the history on FOTW, you'll find that it wasn't until 1912 that the pattern of stars was officially specified as well as the number. Before then, different civilian flag manufacturers arranged them in different patterns (the military specified patterns that were not binding on civilian flags).

Diceman
01-21-2005, 12:43 PM
If you dig through the history on FOTW, you'll find that it wasn't until 1912 that the pattern of stars was officially specified as well as the number. Before then, different civilian flag manufacturers arranged them in different patterns (the military specified patterns that were not binding on civilian flags).
I've seen two different styles of 15-star flags (which state was that? Tennessee?) One flag had a 3x5 grid, and the other one had the original circle of 13 stars, with two more stuck in the center.

yabob
01-21-2005, 12:45 PM
Good job, Absolute!

And consider my vomit held. But, being an obnoxious NYer, seeing anybody else's flag up there disgusts me. In fact, at my inauguration I'll be pissed that I'll have to share my "state flag" with those twelve other colonial-era coattail riders! [Big grinny here.]
When states got admitted in batches, they sometimes skipped numbers later on, too, so some of the later states caould get annoyed, too. Apparently, Vermont (14th), states 16-19, 22, and 39-42 would have to share "their" flags.

Note that Vermont and Kentucky would have stripes added for them on the 15 star / 15 stripe flag. It's a pity somebody realized that was going to become unwieldy. We could have a pin-striped flag with 50 of them.

Marley23
01-21-2005, 12:50 PM
How does the administration shove Texas down your throat? God, yes, I can understand why you would say that, but Texas?
He does talk about Texas a ton. I don't know if this is unusual either.

yabob
01-21-2005, 12:56 PM
Actually, the numbers I gave you were for numbers of stars skipped. Kentucky (15), and states 20, 23 and 43 (I'm too lazy to look these up) have to "share" as well.

(I wish we could edit. Please ignore that extra "too".)

Ephemera
01-23-2005, 06:26 AM
I've seen two different styles of 15-star flags (which state was that? Tennessee?) One flag had a 3x5 grid, and the other one had the original circle of 13 stars, with two more stuck in the center.

Kentucky. Tennessee was the 16th state.

Diceman
01-23-2005, 09:36 AM
Kentucky. Tennessee was the 16th state.
Damn. I knew it was either Tennessee or Kentucky.

Jurph
01-23-2005, 01:03 PM
I don't know for a fact, but I don't believe it's customary to do that.

In any event, just imagine the possibilities: If a Delawarian (is that the right word?) gets elected, we could have a flag with one star! :D

Zev Steinhardt

As a Delawarean (note the authoritative spelling, FYI, zev) I would probably place the 1787 flag in one spot and either the Delaware state flag or the Sussex County flag (or, what the hell, the Air Force flag) in the other slot. Since we only have three counties, we retain an absurd amount of pride in them.

Martin Hyde
01-23-2005, 01:09 PM
Delaware always amuses me for some reason.

Bricker
01-23-2005, 02:07 PM
Good job, Absolute!

And consider my vomit held. But, being an obnoxious NYer, seeing anybody else's flag up there disgusts me. In fact, at my inauguration I'll be pissed that I'll have to share my "state flag" with those twelve other colonial-era coattail riders! [Big grinny here.]

New York was hardly a trailblazer for independence at the Continental Congress.

jimpatro
01-23-2005, 02:14 PM
Somehow all the Texas talk doesn't bug me.
Texas, however, is not synonymous with any god or gods.

kniz
01-23-2005, 06:08 PM
So, hold your vomit, unless you are also equally disgusted by Clinton shoving Arkansas down your throat.
Monica had a complaint somewhat like this. :rolleyes:

Little Nemo
01-23-2005, 06:15 PM
If a Delawarian (is that the right word?) gets elected, we could have a flag with one star!
Delaware: The Original Lone-Star State.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@straightdope.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Copyright 2018 STM Reader, LLC.