Saturday, September 21, 2019

Still Life with Robin: Flying the 51 Stars (and 13 Stripes)

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by Peggy Robin

If you attended the DC Statehood hearings on Thursday, September 19, you know that Mayor Muriel Bowser arranged for Pennsylvania Avenue to have 51-star flags flying all along the route to the Capitol. Nice touch, Madam Mayor! (See the news video here: )

If you would like to support DC statehood, here’s a quick, simple, and rewarding way to do it: Just donate $51 or more to DC Vote’s membership drive, and your reward will be your own 51-star flag in return – go here: And if one day we should ever get a Congress with a majority in both houses who care about voting rights for ALL, your 51-star flag could turn into the official flag of the United States.

In the meantime, its purchase price will be contributing to the goal of getting real representation for the 702,000 of us ~give or take~ who live within the roughly diamond-shaped entity that is now just the plain, old, unstately district.

For those with an interest how that extra star was fitted into the canton (that’s the name for the blue field that holds the stars in the top left corner of the flag), you might enjoy reading this 2012 article on flag design from Smithsonian Magazine: (Try not to be put off by the fact that the article was written in anticipation of Puerto Rico’s statehood movement succeeding ahead of our own, and the 51st star representing an island in the Caribbean, while DC remains a colony.)

Now for those rooting for BOTH Puerto Rico and DC to become states, here’s a site that shows what a fifty-TWO-star US flag would look like.
In fact, on the awesome site above, you can see the possible star layouts for US flags with fifty-one through SEVENTY states of the union. Just don't ask me where states number fifty-three through seventy will be found!

For more on the design of our current 50-star flag, listen to the story told by its designer, Bob Heft, in this brief StoryCorps piece:

And let's leave this subject with a rousing salute in song:

Still Life with Robin is published on the Cleveland Park Listserv and on All Life Is Local on Saturdays. 

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