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Vexillopedia

Flag of West Virginia

West Virginia
Ratio 10:19
Adoption 1962
Design A pure white field bordered on four sides by a stripe of blue with the coat of arms of West Virginia in the center, wreathed by Rhododendron maximum and topped by an unfurled red ribbon reading "State of West Virginia." [0]
Colors
#FFFFFF
#003776
#FF3516
#06884F
#FFB30F

History

Prior to the adoption of the current state flag of West Virginia, the state had been represented by a number of flags since attaining statehood in 1863, all of which proved impractical. The first West Virginia Legislature commissioned Joseph H. Diss Debar of Doddridge County to design the Great Seal of West Virginia in 1863. On September 26, 1863, the West Virginia Legislature officially adopted the seal designed by Diss Debar, a stylized version of which was also designated the state's coat of arms. Despite the adoption of an official seal, the state did not decide upon an official state flag until 1905. [0]

Meaning

The white of the field symbolizes purity, while the blue border represents the Union. The center of the state flag is emblazoned with the state's Coat of Arms, a stylized version of the Great Seal of West Virginia. The lower half of the state flag is wreathed by two tethered swags of Rhododendron maximum, the state flower of West Virginia. Across the top of the state flag is an unfurled red ribbon with the constitutional designation "State of West Virginia", and across the bottom of the state flag is a tied red ribbon with the state's Latin motto Montani Semper Liberi (English: "mountaineers are always free").

The state's coat of arms in the center of the flag symbolizes the principal pursuits and resources of West Virginia. In the center is an ivy-draped boulder that has been inscribed "June 20, 1863," the date of West Virginia's admission to the Union as a state. In front of the boulder lie two crossed hunting rifles and a Phrygian cap (or "Cap of Liberty") to illustrate the importance of the state's fight for liberty. Two men, a farmer and a miner, stand on either side of the boulder and represent agriculture and industry. The farmer stands on the left with an ax and plow before a cornstalk. The miner stands on the right with a pickax and, behind him, an anvil and sledge hammer. [0]