Printing Method: Photogravure
Flags of Our Nation, Set VI: 2012 marks the sixth and final set of stamps in the series. The state and territory flags reflect the history of each region they represent. State seals are a common subject of many flags. A few designs are based on regimental banners used in the Civil War. The uniqueness of each state flag in the series reflects the diversity of the United States and its territories.
The Lone Star Flag was the national flag of the Republic of Texas, before the second-largest state joined the Union. When Texas became the 28th state in 1845, it adopted the same banner as its state flag. The blue stands for loyalty, the white represents purity, and the red is for bravery.
In 1912, the Sons and Daughters of Utah Pioneers prepared a flag to be presented to the battleship Utah. It featured the state seal encircled by a thin gold ring on a blue field. It differed from the flag adopted in 1896, which pictured the state seal as all white without a gold circle around it. The battleship’s flag became the official Utah state flag in 1913.
Vermont has had three flags since it became the fourteenth state in 1791. The first two flags were similar to the national flag, and residents wanted something unique. It was discovered that a flag design was authorized in 1838, but was not often used. It was the flag the Vermont regiments had carried during the Civil War, the Spanish-American War, and at the beginning of World War I. It consisted of the Vermont State Coat of Arms on a blue field. In 1919, the historic design became the official flag of Vermont.
The United States Virgin Islands is a territory of the United States located in the Caribbean Sea. Its flag’s background is white, which symbolizes purity. It pictures a familiar American symbol, the American Eagle with the U.S. shield on its breast. A sprig of laurel is held in one talon and three arrows in the other. The arrows represent the islands of St. Croix, St. Thomas, and St. John, the main islands in the territory. On either side of the eagle are the letters V and I, which stand for Virgin Islands.
Washington’s state flag is the only one with a green field and the only state flag picturing an actual person. Though this Northwestern state joined the Union in 1889, it did not adopt a flag until 1923. The state seal is in the center of the flag and pictures George Washington. Washington is the only state to be named after a President.
The citizens of western Virginia did not want to secede from the Union in 1861, so they left the Virginia Convention and formed their own state. On April 20, 1863, West Virginia became a free state of the United States. The original state flag had different images on the front and back. When it became too costly to produce the flag, the two designs were combined to create the present flag. The state coat of arms rests above branches of big laurel, the state’s flower. A red ribbon above the seal reads “State of West Virginia.”
The Civil War regiments from Wisconsin were anxious to have an official banner to display during battle. In 1863, the legislature voted on a resolution adopting a design that was already in use by some of the troops. The dark blue flag with the state’s seal in the center was officially adopted in 1913. To distinguish it from other state flags with seals, the word “WISCONSIN” and the year of statehood “1848” were added in 1979.
Wyoming did not have an official state flag in 1916, so the state regent for the Daughters of the American Revolution suggested a contest be held. A $20 prize was awarded at the state DAR convention to the winning flag design made by Verna Keays, a recent graduate from the Art Institute of Chicago. The design was adopted as the Wyoming state flag on January 13, 1917.
The Stars and Stripes is a proud symbol of the United States. It stands for freedom and democracy throughout the world. The thirteen stripes represent the country’s humble beginnings as thirteen small colonies on the Eastern Coast of a vast unexplored land. The 50 stars stand for the states of the Union, each of equal value to the country.
In 1893, English professor Katharine Lee Bates spent the summer teaching at Colorado College. While crossing the country on the train, she experienced the alabaster city of Chicago during the World’s Columbian Exposition and the amber grain fields of Kansas. While in Colorado, she took a trip up Pikes Peak and looked over the Great Plains. She wrote a poem, later entitled “America the Beautiful,” based on her experiences. The “Fruited Plains” in the first verse represent the bountiful crops that grow in the Great Plains.