Tuesday, March 15, 2016

State Flag of Ohio: Note for a lecture, "E Pluribus Unum? What Keeps the United States United"

The Ohio Burgee
Ohio’s official flag was adopted by an act of the Ohio Legislature on May 9, 1902. The Ohio burgee (bûr’je), as the swallow-tailed design is properly called, was drawn by John Eisenmann, architect and designer for the Ohio State Pan-American Exposition Commission.

The Ohio flag has three red and two white horizontal stripes. At its staff end is a blue triangular field whose apex is at the center of the middle red stripe; there are 17 white, five-pointed stars grouped around a red disc superimposed upon a white circular “O.”

Mr. Eisenmann explained the Ohio flag’s symbolism most aptly:
“The triangles formed by the main lines of the flag represent the hills and valleys as typified in the State Seal, and the stripes the roads and waterways.
“The stars, indicating the 13 original states of the Union, are grouped about the circle, which represents the Northwest Territory; and that Ohio was the seventeenth state admitted into the Union is shown by adding four more stars.
“The white circle with its red center, not only represents the initial letter of Ohio, but is suggestive of its being the Buckeye State.”


When the flag of Ohio, or any state, is flown on the same halyard with the flag of the United States of America, the U.S. flag should always be at the peak. When flown from adjacent staffs, the Stars and Stripes should be hoisted first and lowered last.

When a number of state flags are grouped and displayed from staffs with our national flag, the U.S. flag should be at the center or at the highest point of the group.

When carried in a procession with the Ohio flag or any state flag, the U.S. flag should be on the marching right.

When there is a line of several state flags, the U.S. flag should be in the front and center of that line.


In 2002, in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the adoption of the Ohio flag, the Ohio General Assembly adopted a pledge to the Ohio flag for the first time in state history. The pledge, “I salute the flag of the state of Ohio and pledge to the Buckeye State respect and loyalty,” can be recited following the pledge of allegiance to the American flag.

Folding the Burgee

Alex Weinstock, an Eagle Scout from Ohio’s Junction City Troop 260, devised the method of folding the Ohio state flag as his Eagle project. The 17 folds symbolize that Ohio was the 17th state admitted to the Union. This procedure was signed into law by the Governor in 2005. 
Step 1: Fold in half length-wise so the points are aligned.
Step 2: Fold in half length-wise again, with the red disc facing down.
Step 3: Fold pointed end back on itself.
Step 4: Fold two inches of flag onto itself.
Step 5: Repeat two-inch fold 14 times, alternating in a fan-like manner.
Step 6: Wrap remaining length of flag around fan-folds to make a rectangle.

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