The evolving importance of flags | The Triangle

The evolving importance of flags

Photo by Kasey Shamis | The Triangle

After the 9/11 terror attacks that killed nearly 3000 people, there was a surge in purchases of American flags. People wanted to show their support and solidarity for the United States during one of its darkest hours. 

They purchased and flew Old Glory because of the flag’s status as the symbol of America. Since then, flags have continued to grow in popularity as a way for people to show support for social causes. Some of the most common flags we now see are the Gadsden flag (Don’t Tread on Me), the LGBT+ pride flag and the POW/MIA flag. Flags hold deeper meaning in modern American society than they did even just 30 years ago. 

Trump supporters fly flags stating, “Let’s Go, Brandon,” as a way of showing their support for the former president. Racists fly the Confederate battle flag thinking that it represents their heritage, even though the Confederacy lasted for about as long as it takes to complete a bachelor’s degree. Flags are also sometimes flown to show solidarity, as has been the case for Ukraine. We do not live in Ukraine, but a lot of people fly the blue and yellow flag to show that America stands with them.

With the evolving importance of flags in modern American culture, it makes sense that state flags have begun to adjust themselves to fit modern times. Mississippi had the last state flag in the country that incorporated the Confederate battle flag in its design. Its new flag is beautiful and perfectly represents the beauty of the great state of Mississippi. The changing of the flag was a step in the right direction for a state that has always dealt with difficult race relations. It was a sign of progress and a move towards equity. 

Utah followed suit by designing a flag that perfectly represents the stunning landscapes unique to Utah. These sorts of designs are perfect for marketing and can increase tourism. Minnesota will be adopting its new flag on Statehood Day later this year thanks to a successful push to ditch its old racially insensitive flag. Minnesota will also be getting a new state seal. Both symbols are better representations of the modern state of Minnesota, which is important. Things always change as time moves on, and it is important for states to keep up with the times.

The United States flag was most recently updated in 1960 after Hawaii became a state. If new states are added, like Puerto Rico, for example, it is likely that the American flag will be updated again. Shockingly, many states still have flags older than the national flag. For that reason, it makes sense that other states not previously mentioned should also consider updating the designs of their flags. The current flag of Pennsylvania was adopted in 1907. This was before World War 1 and before women had the right to vote. It makes sense that now would be a good time to update the state flag with something more modern and more marketable, something that Pennsylvanians can be proud to fly in their front yards or see in government buildings. Last summer, Representative Joe Webster proposed a bill that would begin the process of updating Pennsylvania’s flag. While it may still be a while before Pennsylvania has enough support among elected officials to make a new flag design a reality, you can still do your part by contacting your state representative. Let them know that you support redesigning Pennsylvania’s state flag.