Happy Flag Day, Texans! 175 Years Under Old Glory (Give Or Take A Few)

Happy Flag Day, fellow Texans!

Aside from a few years off for the Civil War, Old Glory has been our national flag for 175 years.

The colors on our flag, the familiar red, white, and blue motif, have accompanied the colors of the American flag even since our days as a standalone republic recently unshackled from turbulent Mexican authoritarianism. But the exact hues of those colors did not always match — at least until 1993.

In researching how to properly salute state flags including Texas’s, we came across some interesting facts about the Lone Star Flag: namely that we had no official flag for 54 years, and quite possibly no official colors or specifications for that flag for 114 years.

You see, there was a revamp of the Texas Flag Code in 1993, which made the Lone Star Flag official once again and clarified that the Texas flag’s red-white-and-blue color scheme must match Old Glory’s exactly.

The Texas state flag is the 1839 national flag of the Republic of Texas, as many of us know. Before that there were several variations of national flags, most famously a simple yellow star on a blue background that resembled the familiar Bonnie Blue. During the period between 1839 to 1879 — under the republic and the antebellum state — the Lone Star Flag was the legal Texas flag. But after the new state constitution was written it reverted a de facto flag.

The unofficial status of the flag gave printers and flag-makers much liberty in how to interpret the dimensions and “azure blue” and “blood red” colors for the flag because the original 1933 Flag Code did not specify exactly what hue to use. This is why even official flags printed or sewn before 1993 can often contain a lighter or darker blue, sometimes with a star of varying sizes. The bill to make the flag uniform, HB 575 during 1993’s 43rd Regular Session, was dedicated to “making plain the salute to the Texas Flag and giving uniformity to the salute; providing a clear description of the Flag to the end that pupils in the lower grades of the elementary schools will be able to draw or make the Flag.”

And ever since then students have not had an official excuse to break out the aquamarine crayon for the blue field around the Lone Star.

The bill also clarified some confusion on how to properly salute the flag — a point of confusion in certain quarters. Look for our article Sunday on how salutes to the flag have changed over the years as a response to fascism and socialism.

Flag Day is Sunday, June 14, 2020.

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