Every State’s Flag and What It Represents

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Massachusetts
> Flag design: The state coat of arms centered on a white field
> Officially adopted on: 1908

Massachusetts’ flag and state seal have been criticized as demeaning to Native Americans. The flag features the state’s coat of arms, which includes a Native American holding a bow and arrow. The arrow is pointed down, symbolizing peace. The white star represents the state as one of the original colonies. The ribbon is inscribed with the state motto in Latin, which means “By the sword we seek peace, but peace only under liberty.” The arm holding a sword with the blade up symbolizes Myles Standish, who protected the Plymouth colony during the revolutionary war, but he also killed many local Native Americans.

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Michigan
> Flag design: The state’s coat of arms on a dark blue field
> Officially adopted on: 1911

The moose and elk, which are common in the state, represent Michigan and the bald eagle signifies the United States. The Latin phrase “E Pluribus Unum” means “From Many, One,” meaning the U.S. being one nation made from many states. “Tuebor” means “I Will Defend” and refers to the frontier position of Michigan. The flag also contains the state motto: “Si Quaeris Peninsulam Amoenam, Circumspice,” which means, “If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look about you.”

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Minnesota
> Flag design: State seal on a medium blue field
> Officially adopted on: 1957

The three dates woven into the wreath surrounding the seal represent the year of statehood (1858), the year Fort Snelling was established (1819), and the year the original flag was adopted (1893). The 19 stars outside the wreath stand for Minnesota becoming the 19th state to enter the Union. The largest star at the top represents the North Star and Minnesota. The state motto is French: “L’étoile du Nord,” meaning “the star of the north,” hence the state’s nickname — The North Star State. The Native American on horseback represents the Native American heritage of Minnesota. The stump is a symbol of the lumber industry in the state.

Source: www.mdah.ms.gov/flagpoll-top2 / Wikimedia Commons

Mississippi
> Flag design: A white magnolia blossom and the words ‘In God We Trust’ on a red field with a gold-bordered blue pale
> Officially adopted on: Expected to be adopted in January 2021

Mississippi residents voted in November 2020 to replace the 126-year-old Confederate-themed state flag, which featured the Confederate battle symbol. The new flag will include a white magnolia blossom, which has been used as a symbol of the state and its hospitality for decades. The flower is circled by 20 stars, representing Mississippi’s admission to the Union as the 20th state.

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Missouri
> Flag design: 3 tribands of red, white, and blue with the arms of Missouri in the center, bordered by a wide band of blue with 24 white stars
> Officially adopted on: 1913

The red stripe on Missouri’s flag is a symbol of bravery, the white stripe a symbol of purity, and the blue stripe a symbol of justice. The center of the flag displays Missouri’s state seal surrounded by 24 stars because Missouri became the 24th state. The two grizzly bears are symbols of courage and strength. They stand on a scroll bearing the state motto in Latin: “Salus Populi Suprema Lex Esto,” which means, “Let the welfare of the people be the supreme law.” Above the shield is a helmet representing Missouri’s state sovereignty. The cloud around the stars indicates the difficulties Missouri experienced in becoming a state.

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