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State of Missouri
Flag of Missouri.svg
Use Civil and state flag Civil and state flag
Proportion 7:12
Adopted March 1913; 106 years ago (1913-03)
Design A horizontal tricolor of red, white and blue. The Missouri Seal, surrounded by a blue band and stars, is superimposed in the field center.
Designed by Marie Elizabeth Watkins Oliver

The permanency, vigilance, and justice of the state. The three colors also highlight the French influence on the state in its early years. The flag was made the official flag of the state on March 22, 1913, when then governor Elliot Woolfolk Major signed a bill making it official.

History

The Missourian state flag was designed and stitched in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, by Marie Elizabeth Watkins Oliver (January 11, 1854– October 18, 1944), the wife of former State Senator R.B. Oliver. She began her flag project in 1908 as part of her volunteer activities with the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) when she was appointed chairperson of the DAR committee to research and design Missouri's flag. Oliver researched state flags extensively. She wrote each state's secretary of state for information about how their state's flags had been designed and officially adopted. Her original design incorporated Missouri's coat of arms and was rendered as a painted paper flag by her friend Mary Kochitzky.

The flag was brought to the Missouri State Capitol in 1908 and bills to adopt the flag as the official flag of Missouri were introduced by Senator Arthur L. Oliver, her nephew, in 1909 and 1911. Both bills failed to pass in the House. A competing flag design, by Dr. G.H. Holcomb and referred to as the "Holcomb flag", was opposed due to its resemblance to the Flag of the United States and its lack of Missouri symbolism. Oliver's original paper flag was destroyed when the Missouri State Capitol burned in 1911. With Mrs. S.D. MacFarland, Oliver sewed a second flag out of silk. Her design was adopted on March 22, 1913 when governor Elliot Woolfolk Major signed the Oliver Flag Bill. The flag design remains unchanged to this day.

The silk flag was kept by Marie Oliver until 1961 when her son Allen gave it to the State of Missouri. The flag was displayed until it began to deteriorate and was put into storage. In 1988, Secretary of State Roy D. Blunt issued a challenge to elementary students to raise money to restore the flag. The campaign was successful and the restored flag has been displayed in the James C. Kirkpatrick State Information Center in Jefferson City ever since.

The Oliver-Leming House, also known as the Home of the Missouri State Flag, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.

Design and symbolism

The flag is a tricolor consisting of three horizontal stripes of red, white and blue. These represent valor, purity, vigilance, and justice. The colors also reflect the state's historic status as part of the French Louisiana (New France). In the center white stripe is the Seal of Missouri, circled by a blue band containing 24 stars, symbolizing Missouri's admission as the 24th U.S. state.

The flag is described in Section 010.020 of Missouri's Revised Statutes.

In 2001, the North American Vexillological Association surveyed its members on the designs of the 72 U.S. state, U.S. territorial and Canadian provincial flags. The Missouri flag ranked in the bottom 25, 48th out of the 72.

The Great Seal of the State of Missouri, which dominates the flag has many special meanings of its own. Robert Wells, who was a lawyer, state legislator and a judge, designed it. The seal shows, by its helmet and buckled belt, that although Missouri is a strong state, it wants to be free to handle its own problems. The grizzly bears signify the size and strength of the state and the courage of her people. The new crescent moon was included to remind us that we can make our future better; it was also a special heraldic symbol pointing out that Missouri was the second state formed out of the Louisiana Purchase. The larger star, rising into a group of 23 stars, was to remind people that Missouri became the 24th state only after solving many difficult problems. The helmet was designed to show the power of the people of the state. Finally, there are two mottoes. "United We Stand, Divided We Fall" tells us how important it is to support the whole United States. "Salus populi suprema lex esto" is Latin which means, "Let the welfare of the people be the supreme law." That reminds us our state government functions to help better our lives.


Flag of Missouri Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.