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Making Waves

Recapping the Kansas flag debate so far

My story in last summer’s Journal asking Kansans to consider a redesign of the state flag was the most widely read – and perhaps the most divisive – article the magazine has ever run. Respondents were split, with a majority – but not a substantial one – seeming to come down on the side of keeping the existing state flag.

 

 

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Those who love the flag see it as beautiful and representative of our state’s history. Critics find it dated and ugly. A third group thinks we should spend our time worrying about more significant issues. One Kansas newspaper editor strongly endorsed the idea of making a change.

 

“Maybe a new state flag would re-energize Kansas, not to mention project a more powerful and memorable image to those who would gaze upon our flag.” John D. Montgomery Editor and publisher of The Hutchinson News, in an editorial endorsing a new flag

 

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Others, on social media, in survey comments and in letters to the editor, defended the beauty of the existing flag. “When I look at our flag to me it speaks to the strong work ethic of Kansans and our pioneering spirit. Those characteristics are part of our heritage and will help our state as we look to the future.” Nolan Dealy, Wichita Facebook comment

 

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Some reacted strongly against the idea of changing the flag. “Why are we so fast to destroy something that has always been a symbol of our state just because someone from some other place tells us our flag is not a good flag design?” Doris Blew, Stafford in a letter to the editor

Others thought reaching back into our state history might give us a better flag. Bob Schremmer of Ford County suggested adopting a version of the Kansas state banner, which represented Kansas in lieu of a flag from 1925 until 1927.

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This version of the Kansas state banner was designed by former Adjutant General Joe Nickell, according to the Kansas State Historical Society.

Interesting. This banner is deeply rooted in the history of Kansas. But it’s also a simple design that might please vexillologista and other flag lovers like me. It makes me wonder. Has a really good state flag been hiding under our noses all along?

 

 

 

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This article was originally published in the Winter 2016 issue of The Journal, a publication of the Kansas Leadership Center. To learn more about KLC, visit http://kansasleadershipcenter.org. For a subscription to the printed edition of The Journal, visit klcjr.nl/amzsubscribe

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