For Flag Day: America's 10 Best State Flags

Categories: Whatever

As all you vexillologists out there know so well, it's Flag Day again: the most wonderful day of the year.

Last year's drought and intense heat put us in a sour mood, so we raked ten of the worst state flags over the coals. This year, thanks to all the rain we've been enjoying, we're feeling much better, so much so that we are going to give you the ten best.

As part of their 2001 survey of the best and worst flags on the continent, the North American Vexillological Association came up with five guidelines toward creating a great flag.

First, it should be so simple a child could draw it from memory. Second, there should be symbolism and it should be meaningful. The colors should be basic, and no more than two or three should be employed. Fourth, flags should have no writing on them and seals should be avoided, and last, flags should not duplicate other flags, while retaining some similarities to show connections.

We agree with some but not all of that, and here, without further ado, are our Ten Best American State Flags.
10. Texas

We're putting this down low on the list to avoid accusations of bias; it probably should rank higher, as it lives up to all of NAVA's standards. There's the lone star, symbolic of the Republic of Texas, and the red, white and blue nod to Old Glory. And there are no seals or letters clogging up the picture.

9. Maryland

America's only heraldic flag has Ye Olde Englishe flair. The red-and-white cross represents the Crossland-Mynne family, while the psychedelic gold-and-black checkerboard represents the Calvert family, to which Maryland founder Lord Baltimore belonged. During the Civil War in this border state, Southern sympathizers adopted the Crossland colors while Unionists stuck with the Calvert design. This flag attempts to mend those fences, and does so strikingly.

8. California

Even the sin of having words can be overcome if you put a big old grizzly bear on your flag. Did you know that California's lone star was a rip-off of Texas's design of one year previous? So they totally deserved it when Enron, etc. overcharged them grievously for their electricity back in the rolling-blackout days.

7. Oklahoma

Another cool flag with words; the art-deco-y font helps...NAVA also advises against putting shields on flags, but this one kicks so much ass. The peace pipe and olive branch represent Native Americans and Sooners living together in harmony, and the blue memorializes Choctaw soldiers who served in the Civil War.

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Scott Bodenheimer
Scott Bodenheimer

Ohio? how can you not include Ohio with its unique shape? And Hawaii - there's a jazzy flag, word flags are just lame.

John Nova Lomax
John Nova Lomax

 I dunno, I'd lump it in there with the other screamin' eagle flags like North Dakota and Illinois, and it's the weakest of those three. Also, it copies France. Despite the name of its capitol, very little about Iowa seems French.


...John, i think the Iowa flag should have either made the top ten or at least gotten honerable mention     

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