Worthington Daily Globe | That Old Flag

There is not a school child in southwest Minnesota who can draw the Minnesota flag, freehand.

We had better amend that.  There are notably gifted children living in southwest Minnesota.  But there are few children in Minnesota, few adults in Minnesota, few people anywhere who could make a drawing of the state flag.

It’s a complex thing.  The Minnesota flag incorporates the state seal, which includes a depiction of a waterfall, a farmer plowing, an Indian riding on a horse, a musket, and a sunset.  The state seal is inside a floral wreath which incorporates the dates 1819 (the year Fort Snelling was established), 1858 (the year Minnesota was admitted to the Union), and 1893 (the year the flag was adopted).  In addition to this “Minnesota” is neatly lettered into the design.  There are four stars near the top, with a larger star signifying the North Star.  Then there are four stars over here, four stars over there, eight stars in two clusters near the bottom.

On and on.

Minnesota’s flag seems to be everything a flag should not be.  It is something so detailed almost no one can remember all its symbols and symbolism.  (It is similar to several other state flags in this regard.)  Reproductions are necessarily expensive.  And the flag is something few children could describe, much less draw.  It is not and it never was a truly satisfactory flag.

This becomes preface, needless to say, for an endorsement of the proposal […] to dump the old state flag and to adopt a new design […] with a band of green at the bottom representing Minnesota’s farms and forests, a band of white above this to represent snow, and then a band of blue: Minnesota, land of sky-blue water or sky-tinted water.  There also is a single gold star, the symbol of the Star of the North […]

Rep. Gil Gutknecht of Rochester notes not much thought went into Minnesota’s original flag, which was hastily designed for an exhibition at Chicago.  The first flag was a two-sided flag, with a white background on one side and the blue background on the other.  The flag was redesigned in 1957, making both sides blue, but the seal is backward when viewed from the back.

There really is not much to commend the present flag.  Let’s all talk about this matter and come up with something new and improved.