Actually, I started thinking a lot about the design (if you can call it that) back in 2011-2013 while I was a workplace injury prevention consultant in Colorado for the state’s largest power company, Xcel Energy.

I guess that statement begs some explanation.

We are all familiar with the current Maine state flag…or at least we should be.  It is composed of the ornate state seal centered on a dark blue background.  With those two ingredients, it is just like 25 other states, and that is my point.  It is seen flying over some state buildings here in Maine, or at least it probably should be.  If not, it is standing on a pole in the building’s lobby right next to the unique and iconic, (and easily recognizable) American flag.

Where else do you find it?  Essentially no place where it isn’t mandated by state law or ordinance that it should be.  In stark contrast, I offer the Colorado state flag.  It is everywhere in Colorado.  Coloradans love their very unique state flag.  Note the slightly modified flag bumper sticker in the attached photo.

The slightly, (yet lovingly) modified Colorado state flag bumper sticker…a birthday gift from our youngest Colorado granddaughter, Nella

It was sent to me by our then 3-year-old granddaughter, (with some help from her parents, no doubt) for my birthday last summer.  It has occupied its own space on the rear hatch window of my Toyota 4Runner ever since.  How many Maine grandchildren send a likeness of the Maine State Flag to their out-of-state grandparents? Not many, I am sure.

Enter the original Maine State Flag made official in 1901 by the state legislature, until 1909 when the go-with-the-flow state legislature at the time, adopted the state seal on that blue background just like a couple dozen other states.

Back to Colorado.  I soon found, in 2011, that the Colorado state flag likeness was everywhere in the state.  Coloradans and visitors alike were wearing the flag on t-shirts, hoodies, bumper stickers, knit caps, baseball caps, pillows, and banners to name just a few applications.   You name it, and you can find it with the Colorado state flag likeness on it.  It truly is a symbol of state pride and/or association with the state.

You can even find a store in Silverthorne, CO, a town that is downhill on the west side of the Continental Divide and on the right side of I-70, a couple of miles after one emerges from the Eisenhower Tunnel,  that store is entirely devoted to things you can buy featuring, you guessed it, the Colorado state flag likeness or reasonable modifications of same.

Now let’s consider the original Maine state flag (see photo), proudly displayed as another bumper sticker on that back hatch of my 4Runner, along with symbols of other entities I am proud to be associated with.

My historic 1901 Maine state flag bumper sticker, also displayed (with pride) on my increasingly historic Toyota 4Runner

It is a simple, yet historic, flag made up of a dark green pine tree likeness, with a blue star in the upper left corner….all on a beige background.  It is not as colorful as Colorado’s, yet I am convinced that if it ever was adopted as our official state flag again, you would see its likeness everywhere in this state that most all of us are very proud of.

It is already becoming a symbol of that pride in Maine.  There is even a specialized website of the Maine Flag Company devoted to this historic design. Go to www.originalmaine.me and you will find a few items, in addition to a grommeted flag suitable to be flown on any Maine flagpole.  Included is a throw pillow of the original flag as well as a throw pillow with the equally historic Maine Merchants and Marine Flag on it.

This flag was used from 1901-1909 to be flown on seagoing vessels homeported in Maine!  I really like that one, since there is an antique anchor with attached line, resting at the base of the pine tree.  I see it as giving a deserved tip of the hat to our rich maritime history (not to mention the importance of our coast insofar as our present tourism industry is concerned).

Colorado isn’t the only state that is using its unique state flag as a symbol of state pride.  I believe that the state of Texas, with its “Lone Star” state flag comes in second place in terms of displaying pride in that Lone Star state.  Other states, including Arizona, New Mexico, South Carolina, California and Alaska, are showing that same state pride by having entrepreneurs, in addition to the states themselves, putting their flag likeness tastefully on all sorts of items….thus spreading the state pride (or at least “I’ve been to this great state” sentiment) back in the visitor’s home state, especially, I would think, those two dozen states whose flag looks a lot like Maine’s present banner.

There was a bill introduced in the Maine Legislature this winter with the purpose of re-establishing that historic Maine flag as our state flag once again.  It had a lot of support, but not quite enough this time around.  However, there is word that Maine’s upcoming 200th year bicentennial celebration in 2020, will focus on the 1901 flag design to symbolize our 200 years of state pride.   After that, perhaps a bill will be introduced in the 2021 legislature to make it once again our unique state banner of pride in our great state.  In the meantime, I am confident that we are going to see the historic flag likeness more and more in coming months.

If the Maine Flag Company decides to make that Maine Merchant and Marine flag again, I will surely get one and run it up the weathered wooden flagpole with its copper sailboat on top, that is affixed to our boathouse (presently filled with canoes and kayaks).  I think that would be eminently appropriate for any boathouse in Maine.  Agree?

There, I rest my case.  What we all need to do in the coming months is to urge our state senators and representatives to vote for the return of the classic flag to official status in the 2021 legislative session, eh?

We need to write, otherwise nobody will know who we are.

                                                                     Garrison Keillor

 Per usual, your thoughts and comments are welcome.  Jot them down on a 3x5card and affix it to any item from the www.historicmaine.me website.and slip it inside the log door on our mudroom on the rockbound west shore of Gull Pond.  Thank you very much, in advance.