2011 44¢ Flags of Our Nation
Set V (10 stamps)
Issue Date: August 11, 2011
City: Columbus, Ohio
Printed By: Sennett Security Products
Printing Method: Photogravure
Flags of Our Nation, Set V: The Flags of Our Nation stamps issued in 2011 is the fifth group of the series. The stamps show historic state flags, as well as a “snapshot” image that shares some of each state’s character.
A mwáár surrounds the design of the official flag of the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands, a territory governed by the United States. The mwáár is a traditional Carolinian (referring to the Southwest Pacific culture) wreath, and represents unity among the islands of the region. The wreath encircles the central image of a single white star shown over a latte stone, which since ancient times has served as a foundation for Northern Mariana homes.
The Ohio state flag is unique among U.S. states for its burgee, or swallowtail, design. The burgee is a triangular pennant with a notch cut out of the narrow end. The white “O” symbolizes the name “Ohio,” and is surrounded by 13 stars representing the original colonies. Four more stars symbolize Ohio’s status as the 17th state to join the union. The flag was designed by John Eisenmann in 1901 to be used in the Pan-American Exposition, and was adopted as the state flag the following year.
Louise Funk Fluke won a 1925 contest sponsored by the Daughters of the American Revolution to design the Oklahoma state flag. Her design features a Native American war shield made out of buckskin, or buffalo hide. Seven eagle feathers hang from the rim, and crosses (native designs for stars) are in the background. Two symbols of peace are laid across the front of the shield – an olive branch and a calumet (peace pipe) – representing peace between native North American and European cultures.
Oregon’s history as a territory wrestled between the United States and Great Britain had a peaceful resolution – and that’s one of the themes shown on the state flag. A heart-shaped shield topped by an eagle is featured against a field of blue, and inside the shield two ships are pictured. The two ships, one American and one British, represent trade. Various tools are shown to highlight the importance of Oregon’s natural resources. Oregon’s flag has a unique aspect – it’s the only U.S. flag to have designs on both sides. The reverse side shows a gold-colored beaver set against a blue field.
Pennsylvania was the first to use its State Coat of Arms on its flag. Two draft horses are on either side of the seal, and an American eagle sits on top. A scroll across the bottom shows the official state motto: Virtue, Liberty, and Independence. The flag was authorized by the state general assembly in 1799.
Although the flag for the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico has a blue field, white star, and alternating red and white stripes, it is not based on the U.S. flag. Instead, Puerto Rico’s flag is patterned after the Cuban flag, with an identical style but changed in color to preserve the American identity. The flag was designed during the 1890s revolutionary movement in Cuba against Spain, and reflects Puerto Rico’s support. It was officially adopted in 1952, when the U.S. territory gained self-governance.
Rhode Island’s flag has a square shape that is different from the standard rectangles of most U.S. flags. Its white field has 13 gold stars circling
a gold anchor representing the state’s sailing tradition. A gold border surrounds the flag, and a blue ribbon features the state motto: “Hope.”
In 1775, South Carolina Colonel William Moultrie was asked by the colony to create a flag for the militia to use. Moultrie selected a blue color similar to the militia uniforms, with a silver crescent like the one found on their caps. The next year, Moultrie was in command of the defense of Fort Sullivan against a British fleet. English cannonballs were absorbed by the soft wood of the palmetto tree logs that made up the fortifications. In 1861, after South Carolina seceded from the Union, a likeness of the palmetto was added to the flag.
South Dakota’s State Seal is displayed on the official state flag, surrounded by a golden sun against the blue background, representing the sky. The words “South Dakota” and “The Mount Rushmore State” encircle the design. Originally, “The Sunshine State” was used, but was changed. In 1992, the official state nickname was changed to “The Mount Rushmore State,” reflecting the presence of four enormous statues of American Presidents on Mount Rushmore.
Tennessee’s state flag features three stars grouped in a circular blue background. The stars represent each of Tennessee’s main regions – the lowlands in the West, the highlands in the middle, and the mountains in the East, while the circle represents unity. The field is crimson, except for a slender white band with a wider blue band on the far-right edge.
The Flags Of Our Nation Series
On June 14, 2008, the USPS issued the first set of stamps in its Flags of Our Nation Series.
The state flags had been honored on US stamps once before, in 1976 as part of the Bicentennial Series (US #1633-82). Those stamps marked an important first – they were America’s first 50-stamp se-tenant. The sheet featured all of the state flags in the order the states were admitted to the Union.
In 2008, the USPS again decided to honor the state flags but in a different format. These stamps represented a US postal first. They have the beauty and historic significance of commemorative stamps, but were issued as se-tenant (face-different attached) definitive coil stamps.
The new series was called “Flags of Our Nation” and would consist of 60 stamps total – 50 featuring state flags, five territorial flags, the District of Columbia flag, and four US flags flying over American landscapes described in “America the Beautiful.” The stamps in the new set would be issued in alphabetical order by state or territory. Each stamp would feature a flag and a “snapshot” from the state or territory. These snapshots would include scenic areas, plants, animals, and more.
The first set of stamps was issued on Flag Day, June 14, 2008 at the National Postal Museum in Washington, DC. It featured the flags of Alabama through Delaware, American Samoa, and the American flag with “spacious skies.”
In speaking about the stamps, a USPS representative said, “Flags are our nation’s greatest symbols for unity and pride and the values we hold dear. The Postal Service is proud to present this tribute as we honor our nation’s flags.” That same day, special events were held in the nine state capitals whose flags were featured in that first set of stamps.
The second set in the series was issued later in 2008, on September 2. As with the first set, there were special ceremonies in the state capitols of those states featured on this set of stamps. The stamps in this set featured the flags of Florida through Kansas, the District of Columbia and Guam.
Initially, two sets of 10 stamps were supposed to be issued each year for three years. However, in 2009 it was decided that each year would only include the issue of one set of 10 stamps. The third set was issued on August 6, 2009 at the American Philatelic Society Stamp Show in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. These stamps featured the flags of Kentucky through Missouri as well as the US flag with “amber waves of grain.”
The fourth issue in the series was released on April 16, 2010 at the Mega Stamp Show in New York City. These stamps featured the flags of Montana through North Dakota with the US flag above “purple mountain majesties.”
The fifth set was issued on August 11, 2011, at the American Philatelic Society Stamp Show, in Columbus Ohio. These were the first in the series to be issued as Forever stamps. Featured on these stamps were the flags of Ohio through Tennessee, Puerto Rico, and the Northern Mariana Islands.
The series came to a close on August 16, 2012, with the sixth and final set. These stamps were issued at the American Philatelic Society Stamp Show in Sacramento, California. Featured on these stamps were the flags of Texas through Wyoming, the Virgin Islands, and the US flag with “the fruited plain.”
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