Dear John/Farr Park flagsPublished 5:46pm Thursday, July 19, 2012
My question is about the three flags flying by the Tuck Langland statue on Division Street. One is our American flag; one is the POW-MIA flag — but I am unable to determine what the other flag represents.
— Jean E. Rowe
In Farr Park? Michigan! It’s been so steamy lately listless blue fabric doesn’t flap much to get a good gander. Growing up on Michigan Avenue, I fell asleep summer nights to water splashing in the lighted fountain where Dance of Creation surfaces.
The Pokagon Band has a nice flag display south of town on M-51, which also includes Indiana’s and the tribe’s.
Mrs. Pat Flewelling would be appalled I didn’t remember more Michigan history from fourth grade at Patrick Hamilton, but it’s been a while, so Wikipedia refreshed my memory about the state coat of arms on a dark blue field, as set forth in state law.
The state coat of arms shows a light blue shield with the sun rising over a lake and peninsula.
Did you know the governor has a variant with a white field?
The man with raised hand holding a long gun is supposed to represent peace and the ability to defend his rights.
What always looked to me like two deer boxing is supposed to be an elk and moose derived from the Hudson’s Bay Co. coat of arms — the first defacto government of Michigan.
The bald eagle symbolizes the United States, which formed Michigan from the Northwest Territory.
Then there’s Latin.
On the red ribbon, E Pluribus Unum: “Out of many, one,” a U.S. motto.
On the light blue shield, Tuebor: “I will defend.”
On the white ribbon: “Si Quoreris Peninsulam Amoenam Circumspice.” The official mitten motto, “If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look about you.” You can always tell a Michigander (or is it Michiganian?) because he’ll throw his palm up to field geography questions, like, “You’re from Do-where?”
Spent a lot of time in college pointing at my wrist.
Adopted in 1911, we’re on our third flag. The first featured first governor Stevens T. Mason — also known as the “boy governor” because he was 23. Take that, Bill Clinton! The second, adopted in 1865, showed the state coat of arms on one side and the U.S. coat of arms on the other.
Did you know that under Public Act 165 of 1972 we even have a state pledge of allegiance written by Harold G. Coburn?
“I pledge allegiance to the flag of Michigan, and to the state for which it stands, two beautiful peninsulas united by a bridge of steel, where equal opportunity and justice to all is our ideal.”
I spent the bicentennial summer of 1976 admiring tall ships sailing under the Mighty Mac from the porch of the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island. And the only time I camped, gazing up at its underside.
Ever hear of vexillology? It’s the study of flags. I might have learned that on “The Big Bang Theory” from physicist Sheldon Cooper.
There is actually a North American association founded in 1967. Michigan’s flag took it on the chin in a 2001 survey, which ranked it 59 out of 72 with an average score of 3.46 of 10 possible points. Time for flag No. 4?