No Need for Missouri Flag Change

missouri-state-flagOn February 5, 2014 , CBS St. Louis reported that:

“A Missouri House committee is considering legislation that would create a commission to study the state’s official flag.

The House Veterans Committee held a public hearing Tuesday on the measure. Sponsoring Rep. Jeff Roorda, of Barnhart, says it would give Missouri the opportunity to adopt a new flag, if officials decide a change is needed.

The nine-person commission would hold public hearings around the state, then submit a report to the governor, secretary of state and lawmakers on whether the flag should be altered.”

On February 12, 2014 the Southeast Missourian reported that the bill was sponsored by representative Jeff Roorda, D-Barnhart. On February 14, 2014 article posted on the MyMissouriInfo.Com website revealed that the idea to change the state flag was inspired by a Missouri home school student.  My Missouri Info reported:

The bill began with a 17 year old homeschool student from Jefferson County coming up with the idea to study the state flag. The students name is Brendan Koch. His idea is to honor the past while giving young people a voice. The revised flag would have a white bear with a red background on the left representing the strength of people and soverignty of state. A new moon over a blue background on the right representing the possibilities of the state, and a white wavy line dividing the colors representing the Missouri River.

proposed_flagToday the Southeast Missourian published an Op-Ed written by the home school student Brendan Koch.

The article features an imaged of the proposed re-designed Missouri state flag (featured at left) and a clarification of why the student feels the flag change is needed. From the Southeast Missourian:

“I am a home-school student, and I’m 18 years old. I have become aware of complaints about the bill HB 1241.

I am the person who gave state Rep. Roorda the proposal to modify and/or change the Missouri flag.

Let me start with the fact I am a collector and a proud Missourian. I love flags, from the Revolutionary War, Civil War (both North and South) to present day, and obviously Missouri. I love the history of Missouri and studying the history behind her flag.

The reason why I made this proposal (to standardize or modify the flag) is because of the seven Missouri flags I own, only three are the same. The difference is either in the colors, the sizes, the bears, the moon or just other little tiny details. But it’s not only my flags I have seen difference in.

Another reason is because I do not think most Missourians know what it stands for; it can’t be copied, drawn or described easily, which makes it harder for it to become ours. There’s some confusion going on that says the new design is to represent the French. As the designer of the flag, I can assure you it has nothing to do with the French.

The picture I hope you get is what it looks like. The red, the white, and the blue are there giving tribute to the U.S. and the original Missouri flag. The bear and the moon are taken from the Missouri state seal; the bear represents the sovereignty and the strength of her people; the new moon represents the possibilities of Missouri.

Every time I look at it, I see a different part in Missouri’s history.

A diagonal, wavy, white line separating the bear and the moon represents the Missouri River and also the Mason- Dixon line: the two separated sides — north and south and the two governors Missouri had during the Civil War.

Like I said, it was to standardize our flag; however, I still feel the current Missouri flag is too busy and should be modified to make it easier for Missourians to understand.”

While I can appreciate young Mr. Brendan Koch’s enthusiasm for Missouri history, careful research reveals that there is a good possibility that the current Missouri flag might have very well been inspired by one of the flags flown by the Missouri State Guard during the Civil War.

On page 17 of  the book entitled “Flags of Civil War Missouri” (C) 2000 Pelican Publishing, written by Glenn Dedmondt ) there is a description of a “secession” flag that was raised in Monticello, Lewis County, Missouri on April 29, 1861.  The image and description are virtually identical with the official flag of the State of Missouri designed in 1913 by Marie  Oliver. From the book:

original_flag” On April 29, in Monticello, Lewis County a secession flag was raised over the courthouse. The banner, a nondescript affair, was composed of three stripes- red , white and blue. On one side was sketched the coat of arms of Missouri and a single star; on the other an eagle and a lone star. According to a newspaper account the eagle was gray. Modern day Missourians would hardly call this flag a “nondescript affair” since it quite closely duplicates Missouri’s  present state flag.”

Marie Oliver’s maiden name was Watkins. According to the National Park Services Civil War Soldiers and Sailors Data Base there were a number of Watkins family members that served the Confederacy in Missouri.  There were also a number of Oliver family members that served Missouri in the Confederacy.

In addition, a profile of Marie Oliver found in the book “Hardship and Hope: Missouri Women Writing about Their Lives, 1820-1920”,  listed Mrs. Oliver as a member of the United Daughters of the Confederacy.

The description of Missouri’s state flag reads as follows:

“A design by Marie Elizabeth Watkins Oliver was adopted as the official Missouri State Flag on March 22, 1913; almost 92 years after Missouri became the 24th State to join the union.

This design was for a rectangular flag, consisting of three horizontal red, white and blue stripes. These stripes represent valor, purity and vigilance and justice. A circle is centered on the flag surrounded by a band of blue enclosing the Missouri Coat of Arms on a white background. The blue band displays 24 white five-pointed stars representing Missouri as the 24th State.

The shield of the Missouri Coat of Arms shows, on the right, a Bald Eagle grasping the olive branches of peace and the arrows of war in its talons. This represents the strength and powers of the Federal Government. On the left side of the shield (the state side) are a grizzly bear and a crescent moon. The grizzly bear symbolizes the strength and bravery of the citizens of the State. The crescent moon symbolizes the State of Missouri at the time of its induction into the union; a State with a small population and wealth and huge potential. The crescent moon also symbolizes the “second son.” Missouri was the second State to be carved from the territory acquired with the Louisiana Purchase. The shield is encircled by a belt inscribed “United we stand, divided we fall” indicating the advantage of the union of the United States.

Two more grizzly bears, one on each side of the shield, echo the bravery and strength of the State’s citizens. They are standing on a scroll displaying the Missouri State Motto, Salus Populi Suprema Lex Esto (Let the welfare of the people be the supreme law). Below the scroll are the Roman Numerals for 1820, the year that Missouri became a member of the United States.

Above the shield a helmet is depicted, representing Missouri as a sovereign State. A large star surrounded by 23 smaller stars signifies Missouri’s status as the 24th State. A cloud around the large star represents the difficulties that Missouri endured on its way to Statehood”

It seems that Missouri’s current state flag has done a good job representing our state’s history, heritage and people for the past 101 years  and besides it’s a beautiful flag, as beautiful as the State of Missouri itself.- Editor


Citizens opposed to changing our beautiful state flag should contact Representative Jeff Roorda at:

Phone: 573-751-2504


About aldermanlacy

I am just an average blue collar American who works hard and tries to be a good dad. I have a passion for history, music and freedom.

4 Responses to “No Need for Missouri Flag Change”


    • Technically he’s not a child. He is 18. While it is good to see some younger people taking interest in something other than play station or xbox games I believe this young man’s motives are well intentioned but not needed.

  2. The Honorable Jeff Roorda, Mr. Chair and Madam Vice Chair of the Veterans Committee:

    I understand you have proposed a bill to make a change to the Missouri state flag.

    I would like you to know that it was under the administration of my great uncle, Elliot Woolfolk Major (Governor 1913-1917) that Missouri’s flag was adopted. You should be aware that Governor Major was a staunch Democrat and was considered during his time a Progressive, having as state Attorney General to successfully bring suit against Standard Oil Company. He was also put forward at the Democrat convention during his administration as a “favorite son of Missouri.” I am proud of my family’s history in the state of Missouri ad often speak with pride that it was Gov. Major who signed the legislation creating our present flag. It was also under his administration that our beautiful Capitol’s re-construction began after a devastating fire prior to his taking office.

    Additionally I would like you to know that we are a proud family of Missouri who have home schooled our 3 children, with one child a successful college graduate working in her chosen field, another in his first year of college and our 13-year old who is currently home schooled. We loved home schoolers and the great things they accomplish and support homeschool activities.

    HOWEVER, I must object in the strongest possible terms any suggestion for the adoption of a new state flag and particularly the design that I have seen that literally signifies almost nothing of our history. The current flag is full of symbolism from the bears to the state seal and the symbols attesting to Missouri being the 24th state to enter the Union.

    It borders on ludicrous to think that because some members of the family of the lady who designed the flag fought on the side of the southern cause or that she herself was a member of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, is no reason to decide to make this change. Missouri was a border state in that war and has proud traditions that should not or cannot be ignored or swept away through some misguided political correctness.

    If we were to follow political correctness, then we must remove from our history books any references to President Harry Truman’s family history and its southern leanings. I was born in Independence, MO and know full well the background and history of Mr. Truman’s maternal line.

    Therefore I would register my strong opposition to any change to our current flag.

    J. Robert Brown
    St. Joseph, MO

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: