I took a trip down to our nations Capital last weekend with Frank. We toured D.C. during the day and watched the Mets play the Nationals at night. It's a trip that Frank has been looking forward to for a long time. Our first stop was the Smithsonian Institute Museum of American History. They have some interesting exhibits showcasing pieces of, you guessed it, American history.
One such piece is the United States flag that flew over Fort McHenry during the Battle of Baltimore in the war of 1812. This flag is HUGE! Originally, it measured 30x42 feet. On a football field, that's 10x15 yards! It was specifically made this large to make sure it was seen by the British. This flag had 15 stars and 15 stripes because at that time when a new state was admitted into the Union, a new star AND stripe would be added to the flag. in 1818, Congress passed the third flag resolution so the flag would have 13 stripes and one star for each state. They made the right call on this flag. 13 stripes to represent the original colonies while having the stars to represent the current states. It's a beautiful flag.
The museum is also surrounded by flags, one for each state and the District of Columbia. Unfortunately, most of those flags are not so great. Now, I'm not a card carrying member of a vexillological society, but I do appreciate a good flag. Here are my rankings of the State flags and why. (Within each tier, I have listed the flags in order of state admission)
Top Tier: These flags, like the United States flag, are simple in design, easily recognizable, and have meaning.
Middle Tier: These flags are not terrible, but there is something holding them back from being good. What makes these flags middle tier is the inclusion of a state seal or motto or even the state name on the flag. A flag is a symbol. If you have to write out what the symbol stands for ON the symbol, it's not a good symbol.
Bottom Tier: As Frank would say, these flags are "uhh, not good". There's many reasons why a flag may land in this category. Most of these "flags" are just the state seal printed on a bedsheet. Seals and Flags have different purposes. Even a great state seal would make a bad flag. There are two flags in this tier for other reasons: Alabama and Hawaii. Alabama is simply too basic. It's just a red cross on a white background. You gotta do something more than that. (No, adding the seal doesn't help, Florida!) As for Hawaii, I placed it in the bottom tier because it includes the UK flag, which no U.S. State should do. So, in no particular order, here are the worst state flags.
These are the correct rankings. If your state has a good flag, congrats. If not, don't be bad at me. I'm not the one who made it.