Utah’s State Flag Correction

The state of Utah may experience an historic moment this March if the Utah State Legislature approves a correction to the state’s flag. Along with celebrating the centennial anniversary of the adoption of the Utah State flag, the placement of the year “1847” on Utah’s state flag will be moved from under—and almost behind—the shield to a new placement at the bottom of the shield. The color of the shield will change from blue to the originally intended white.

The correction to the Utah state flag restores the flag to its original 1903 design. The flag’s errors began in 1922 when a hand-stitched state flag inexplicably changed the color of the shield from white to blue and placed the year 1847 below the shield instead of at the bottom of it. Since the commission of that flag, the makers of the Utah state flag have continued to manufacture the flag in error.

Ron Fox, an amateur historian, brought the error to the Utah State Legislature’s attention recently when he found a Utah state flag from 1903 at the Utah State Historical Society. After Fox raised the issue to Utah State Representative Julie Fisher, Fisher led the passage of a resolution in the State Legislature. If the State Legislature approves of the resolution, Utah Governor Gary Herbert will sign the legislation on March 9, 2011. Herbert will also designate March 9 as Utah’s official Flag Day and commemorate the one hundredth anniversary of the adoption of the Utah state flag.

The proposed corrections to the new flag will result in a Utah banner that features Utah’s state seal on a blue background. The state seal features a white shield a bald eagle on top of it, draped American flags on either side of it, and the year 1896 below. A beehive with lilies appears inside the shield. The word “INDUSTRY” appears above the beehive and the word “UTAH” as well as the date 1947 appears below it. Utah is the “beehive state” and the beehive on the flag symbolizes industry. The lilies symbolize peace and the bald eagle represents the protection of peace. The American flags stand for patriotism to the United States of America. The year 1847 marks the year the Mormons entered the Salt Lake Valley, and the year 1896 is the year Utah officially became the 45th state in the Union.

“Utah State Flag and Seal,” Utah.gov. http://pioneer.utah.gov/research/utah_symbols/flag.html.
“Utah State Symbols,” Utah.com. http://www.utah.com/visitor/state_facts/symbols.htm.
Logan Daniels, “Bill would correct error on Utah state flag,” KSL.com, December 27, 2010. http://www.ksl.com/index.php?nid=148&sid=13791697.
Dennis Romboy, “Resolution aims to correct decades-old error in Utah state flag,” Deseret News, January 27, 2011. http://www.deseretnews.com/article/705365214/Resolution-aims-to-correct-decades-old-error-in-Utah-state-flag.html.

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