Flags are all around us, symbolizing various aspects of rank, allegiance, hierarchy, and status to those that see them.
We have seen stories of conquering nations raising their own flag over a country they recently took over, of pirates hoisting a skull and crossbones flag over ships they have hijacked, and of how a flag can inspire soldiers to continue onward even during unprecedented odds against them. These pieces of cloth have symbolized patriotism and status for many over the long history of mankind and will continue to do so as long as people are part of this world.
Ever since people from opposing countries or with differing views went into battle against each other, pieces of cloth have flown above marching troops or placed on uniforms of fighters to ensure everyone on the battlefield would know what side they were on. This identification of friend or foe became a rallying point for forces to understand whether or not their troops were marching forward. The use of these items for the purpose of identification grew and became much more useful over many years, but the military origin is something that we still see today.
European Flag Designs
One of the oldest civilized continents in the world is Europe. Many countries in this area have adopted a specific set of rules for creating the flag that will fly above their state buildings and as a symbol of patriotism. For the most part, the flags of Europe follow the practice of heraldry and do not have two metal colors touching each other. Metal colors are considered to be yellow, white, and silver. There is one exception to this rule, as you find in many areas of life. The flag o the Vatican city is yellow and white with yellow, white, and silver colors used in the logo that rests on the white half of the flag.
What Goes Into Designing a Flag?
For some countries, a regime change will require a new flag to be created, while in other countries, additional land masses mean an addition to the flag that flies for that country. Think about the flag of the United States and what it represents. Each time more areas were granted statehood, another star was added to the field of blue where the stars are located. Some countries select symbols for the ruling class, while others adopt symbols of the leaders.
Need a Flag, Hire a Vexillologist
A Vexillologist is a person who studies and designs flags for different countries, organizations, and groups. When a new flag is needed for a country, this is a great honor for the person designing the symbol that will fly above the country and represent patriotism and togetherness for that nation. This is an extremely important job and something that needs to be taken seriously. Many times, there are several designs that are presented to become possibilities for that country to adopt and use as its logo/symbol.
How Important is a Flag to a Nation?
In Denmark, the Dannebrog, which is the national flag, can be seen on every public building and some private ones as well. The flag of Greece is celebrated to the extent that most Greeks will fly their flag even when living in another country. You often see various nationalities flying the flag of their ancestors in America, even though the Stars and Stripes are present and certainly celebrated in a bigger way than nearly every other flag in the world. For nearly every country on the planet, there is a flag that is proudly flown by the people that live or herald from there.
The First Flags Weren’t Made of Cloth
Early symbols of loyalty and nationality were not made of cloth, mostly because it made much more sense to engrave symbols on wooden staves rather than try and create something out of animal hide or cloth. By the sixth century, C. E. the production and distribution of silk from China proliferated, and this is when the flag of a country could be made of cloth instead of wood. The Ottoman Empire became one of the first civilizations to use a flag made of cloth and fly it in the wind.
What Does the Flag of the United States Represent?
Most Americans learn in grade school what the Stars and Stripes represent and why this is the flag that flies around the country and in battle. This flag has grown over the years, but it has always had some elements that we recognize as being part of the patriotism we feel as Americans. This flag has had the same level of symbolism since it was first created in 1777, making it a flag that has been original to this country with only the addition of stars to the field of blue.
What do the Stars and Stripes Represent?
The flag of the United States of America is currently a flag with a field of blue in the upper left corner with fifty stars on this field. The remainder of the flag is alternating red and white horizontal stripes that are red and white. There are thirteen of these stripes, and each one represents one of the first thirteen colonies. The first version of this flag had thirteen stars, but as each state was added to the union, another star would be added to the flag of the nation.
Where do You See Flags Today?
We still see flags all around us, in fact, we see them more now than ever before in history. Flags are used as symbols of churches, organizations, anarchy, social messages, rank in the military, states, and nations. One of the first items that nearly every organization takes on when they get started is to create a logo and put that logo on a flag. Whether flying on a piece of cloth, printed on currency or sewn into a hat, the flag of a country has symbolic and patriotic meaning for the people that live there, invoking pride and unity for those who live under that flag.
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