I have always enjoyed reading Tom Eblen's columns but was so surprised at his comments regarding our Kentucky flag.
Being a 90-plus-year-old Kentuckian whose fifth-great grandparents came to Kentucky in 1790 through the Cumberland Gap, fought Indians to get here and settled near Boonesborough in Madison County, it makes me very proud to see the two gentlemen shaking hands featured on the flag.
I'm sure they are saying to each other, "United we stand, divided we fall." What a truly wonderful motto for our great commonwealth. It is so sad we cannot see more handshakes in Frankfort and Washington today by Kentucky leaders.
I would expect the men to be wearing the clothing of the pioneer and the gentleman depicted on our state seal even though the flag was not actually adopted until 1962. Goldenrod, our state flower (or weed) is certainly appropriate and, on the flag, it makes no one sneeze. After all, Kentucky is the 15th state of the union so we've been here for a good many years.
Eblen included pictures of flags from three states, all from the southwest. The Texas flag features one star which is what you might expect from the Lone Star state, but it tells me nothing about Texas. New Mexico's flag has a design that reminds me of the Reynolds Road roundabout in Lexington. The Colorado state flag? I'm still trying to figure it out.
Kentucky's flag, approved in a bill in March, 1962, tells a story of our great state.
After being a territory of Virginia, Kentucky gained statehood in 1792. Six months and 20 days later, on Dec. 20, 1792, the General Assembly approved the seal. The first Kentucky governor, Isaac Shelby, was a veteran of the Revolutionary War and had a fondness for a ballad written in 1768 entitled Liberty Song which included the following lines:
"Then join in hand,
Brave Americans all,
By uniting we stand,
By dividing we fall."
The state motto was adopted from these last two lines. Kentucky's flag was not officially designed until the legislature passed a bill on March 26, 1918, creating an official state flag which was ultimately made in 1920.
W.B. Hoke was chairman of the committee to have the flag made, Mrs. James B. Camp furnished the design and Bryan Pleating Co. made the flag. Jessie Cox (who later became Mrs. Joseph Burgess), a former art teacher in Frankfort, designed the flag and her sister sewed the flag.
A number of attempts were made to improve the design of the original flag but with little success until the administration of Gov. Flem D. Simpson (1927-31) and Adjutant General W.H. Jones. A few years later, Major Taylor L. Davidson, on the staff of Major General Arthur Y. Lloyd, took it upon himself to do something.
With the blessings of Gov. Bert Combs and Lloyd, Davidson consulted the Historical Society and traced the history of the early design. Harold Collins, an artist with the Kentucky Department of Public Information, produced three designs in color.
The best features of the three were selected and Davidson drafted a bill which was enacted into law during the 1952 session and Section 2.030 of the Kentucky Revised Statues became the legal authority for the flag.
A line drawing of the flag was submitted with the bill and printed in the statute and became the first and only illustration to appear in the pages of Kentucky's statutes.
I think our flag beautifully fits the need of our state. It tells the story of our state from 1792 to the present and on into our future. I see no need whatsoever for a new flag.