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I like flags. I don’t collect them nor do I really want to collect them but I enjoy learning about them, the symbolism, the design and how they came to be. Flags are everywhere. Countries, states, cities, sports teams, organizations, clubs, everyone has a flag. It intrigues me what goes into flag design and how the final version is ultimately selected. If you are curious as to how complicated it can be, look up the effort to redesign New Zealand’s flag!

Many years ago while I was working in New York I took my lunch break and strolled over to Barnes and Noble. Right in front of the store they had their usual clearance table where I stumbled upon a book of flags. I think it was marked down to maybe $5.00. I didn’t have a particular interest in flags up to that point but I thought for $5.00 why not.

Some things I’ve learned about flags. Vexillology is the study of flags. A person who studies flags is a vexillologist, one who designs flags is a vexillographer, and the art of designing flags is called vexillography. One who is a hobbyist of flags is a vexillophile. A flag is divided into four quadrants. The upper quadrant away from the flag pole is called the “Upper Fly” and the lower section is called the “Lower Fly”. The upper quadrant closest to the pole is called the “Upper Hoist” and naturally it follows that the lower quadrant next to the pole is called the “Lower Hoist”. The blue field as seen on the American flag is called a “canton” and any symbol such as a star or a cross or a the sun is called a “charge”.

One of my favorite flags that I recently discovered comes from the Isle of Man that displays a field of red with a triskelion, composed of three armored legs with golden spurs.

Around the corner is a house that flies several flags every day. They have a few tied up along their front porch and they have one that they hoist up a flag pole. What I love is that the flag flown on the pole is different every day. I have no idea how many flags they have but enough that I have not seen a repeat in a while. My nephew is visiting and each day we make sure to check and make our guesses as to which country or other group the flag represents. Yesterday was the Greek flag, the day before was the flag of the United States Navy and the day prior was the Ukrainian flag. I can’t wait to finish this post so I can walk over to see what is flapping in the wind today.

My book about flags

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