Grand Old Flags- Matthew Klein, Features Editor
A state’s flag says a lot about its citizens, and some are better than others. Here is a compilation and justification of the best flags in the United States. It excludes Maryland, of course, because everyone knows its flag is unquestionably the best.
Arizona: For a state with as much natural beauty as Arizona (thanks to its abundance of national parks), it only seems fitting that the flag try to capture, through symbolic representation, its remarkable landscape. It succeeds to quite an extent: the flag is representative of a classic Arizona sunrise, with a star seeming to appear over a horizon, streaming colorful red and yellow stripes into the sky out above a dark blue bottom (the ground). However, one should look a little deeper. The flag is trying to warn you in advance of the extreme heat Arizonans go through on a regular basis (summer in 2016 got as hot as 120 degrees). The flag earns a spot on this list for not only its uniqueness and color contrast, but also its symbolic representation of the state’s landscape and remarkable heat.
New Mexico: The Land of Enchantment is one of the most diverse states in the country. Almost 30 percent of New Mexicans speak Spanish and 48 percent of the state is either Hispanic or Latino. They also have one of the largest Native American populations in the country, with almost 10 percent of the state being a part of this ethnic group. Their flag is the only one that appears to acknowledge Native American culture in any way. Its large shape in the middle was placed in 1920 to acknowledge the state’s Pueblo roots. Aside from its brightness, its devotion to those whose land was stolen in 1492 makes this flag one of the country’s best.
Ohio: Perhaps it is not the country’s most creative flag in terms of design, but it is unquestionably deserving of a spot on this list due to the fact that it is the only state to create a flag that isn’t rectangular. Even the most progressive of states weren’t quite liberal enough to make a flag as bold as Ohio’s. Its two triangular-shaped pieces joined at the bottom contribute to the most unique flag in the country, quite indicative of Ohio’s uniqueness as a state. For example, it is the home to two of the most famous American astronauts (Neil Armstrong and John Glenn), it had the first professional baseball team (the Cincinnati Reds), and has the longest streak of voting for a winning presidential candidate ever (it has voted for the winner of every election since 1964).
Oregon: The Beaver State is unusual in a similar way to Ohio. It is the only state flag to have a different front and back. The front may be boring, but the beaver on the back is so cute he’ll make you forget the front ever existed. I don’t know how hard it is to stitch a flag with a different front and back, but I am certain of one thing – Betsy Ross would be impressed.
Wyoming: Simple yet elegant, Wyoming’s flag pays tribute to the bison, once a species near death. Wyoming itself is a simple state (it ranks 50th in terms of population), so the state seal inside a beloved American beast allows it merit on this list.
High Flying Fails- Max Jordan, Managing Editor
America is well known for its flag. When you see those waving stars and stripes high in the sky, you know that it represents one thing: freedom. The US has similar success with their state flags. A bunch of state flags knock it out of the park in terms of representing their state, but some states are just wrong. I question how some of these even made it past the brainstorming session.
Mississippi: The Mississippi flag is what I would call “out of date.” As we all know, the Confederate flag has become a symbol of racism in America. Up until 2003, Georgia also had a Confederate flag incorporated into their flag, but they changed it because as times change, so does our society and what we deem acceptable. The Mississippi flag may have seemed progressive when it was designed in 1894, but it’s unacceptable in today’s day and age.
New Jersey: Whoever designed this flag should be banned from any sort of creative work forever. The most eye catching feature about this flag is its repulsive color, one that I can only equate to dijon mustard, and I hate dijon mustard. As if the sickly yellow-brown color wasn’t enough, the Coat of Arms in the state of New Jersey is horrendous. Two ladies standing next to a bodiless horse might be the creepiest thing I’ve seen today.
Florida: Florida’s flag looks like someone had the ugliest emblem on the face of the Earth but didn’t know what to do with it. The emblem looks like the creator placed the emblem on a Paint document, took the brush, increased the stroke size to 100 and drew two obnoxious red lines diagonally. Florida should take advice from their license plate department, who did a great job with their plates, which you might know as the “ones with the oranges.” As the home of Disney World and Pitbull, I would’ve expected better from you, Florida.
Virginia: Remember what I said about Florida having the world’s ugliest emblem? I take it back. As a former Virginia resident, I am appalled that I was ever brought up in a state that cares so little about their flag that they are willing to accept credit for this monstrosity. All the flag is is someone standing over someone else who he just slayed. You must wonder that is possible the best thing they could have included on their flag. Is Virginia really for lovers? And don’t even get me started on the border. It looks like a wallpaper design that I would find in my grandmother’s bathroom.
Massachusetts: What I admire about all 49 other flags is that they at least tried to incorporate some pizazz into their flag by using a colored background. Why you would ever use a white background is hard for me to comprehend. Why have a background at all if it’s going to be white? Might as well just have the ugly emblem in the middle be the entire flag. Yellow and blue is not a great color scheme, and it really doesn’t work when it is the center of attention. The strangest part of the flag is how small the emblem is. The flag is all white; they might as well blow up the emblem a little so we can see it.