Virginia Flag: History and Significance

Virginia flag on the mast

The wide variety of designs, colors, and styles of our nation’s state flags is stunning. Every state has a banner that flies over state buildings, in schools and in many homes of proud residents. The Commonwealth of Virginia is no exception. While it is like many other state flags that feature the state seal on a blue field, the Virginia flag is the omnipresent symbol of a great state with a long and interesting history. Continue reading

Ode to Our American Flag – How the Star-Spangled Banner Became National Anthem


Until the War of 1812, the primary function of the American flag was to identify ships and forts. The flag didn’t attract the reverence of the public. It wasn’t until Francis Scott Key wrote a song glorifying it that the flag took on symbolic meaning to Americans. The sight of the flag rallied Key and his fellow prisoners. Continue reading

Top 21 Places to See Historical American Flags

People and nations keep relics, and these relics connect us to our own lives, our family’s experiences, and our nation’s history. These connections help form, in Lincoln’s words, the “mystic chords of union” which tie us together.

Powerful connections are made with historical American flags. They remind us of key events in our nation’s life. Like a 21-gun salute, here are 21 places you can experience these important symbols of the American experience. Continue reading

Flags Around the World Inspired by the American Flag

Flag of the USA

The American flag is iconic. It is instantly recognizable around the world, and it has had an influence on the design of flags from many different countries. Some flags resemble the American flag because of ancestral links, while others have a shared history that is celebrated or remembered through similar colors or designs. Continue reading

Why It’s Important to Fly an All-Weather American Flag

Is your old flag looking a little old and beat up? Is it past its prime? When your flag is no longer fit to serve as a symbol of the American nation, it’s time to retire it and hang up a new one.

With the Fourth of July coming around, you might be thinking about investing in a new flag or purchasing one for the first time to show a little Patriotic pride. Before going out and purchasing a flag, however, it’s important to determine the right American flag for you. Continue reading

Sailing Flags – Best Nautical Flags, Pennants and Signals for Your Boat

boothbay harbor windjammer

Flags on ships (and boats) communicate. They are intended to send messages to other boats (and ships), and they are structured to do so internationally. Each flag by itself and many combinations provide very specific information, which you should know before you raise any flags.

If you are a serious boater, you will have a complete set of nautical flags available for use. The flags represent the letters A-Z, the digits 0-9 and four special flags. The special flags indicate that you’re answering a signal or are repeating a specific letter. Continue reading

Flagpole Finials – Decorative Ornaments for Your Indoor Flag Pole

With the 4th of July quickly approaching, it’s time to raise our flags in honor of our forefathers before us who declared our independence from Great Britain. All around the country, we are firing up the grill and gathering together to watch fireworks, but what about our grand old flag?

If you have an indoor flag that’s looking neglected, the addition of a flagpole finial is a fine way to pay your respects to our nation’s beginnings. Flagpole finials are the decorative ornaments that are placed at the top of the flagpole. Finials can also serve to protect outdoor hollow flagpoles from the rain or be used to hold pulleys, which allow the flag to be raised and lowered.

Flag Etiquette and Finials

A National Flag Code was created on Flag Day, which was on June 14, 1923, to provide regulations as to the proper exhibition of the American flag. Flag etiquette includes many obvious guidelines.

For example, most of us know the flag should never be flown upside down, except to indicate an emergency. However, some rules may not be as well-known.

Flag etiquette for flags hung on the wall requires the stars be positioned at the top of the flag. For those of you who display your flags on an indoor flagpole, your flag should always have its place without the presence of other flags surrounding it.

Despite these specifics, the National Flag Code is flexible when it comes to the use of finials. No law inhibits the use of any finial atop a flagpole, and the style of the finial is left to the owner’s discretion. Common flagpole finials include the eagle, the spear and the gold ball.

The Eagle

The eagle has a long history of representing freedom in the United States. The symbol of our national bird dates to 1782 after Congress set out to officiate a new national seal. Charles Thomson is credited with the idea of the bald eagle, which is native to North America.

eagle flag finialInterestingly, Benjamin Franklin was opposed to the bald eagle, arguing the bird was lazy in its pursuits because they prefer to scavenge if the opportunity presents itself instead of hunt for themselves. Franklin believed the turkey better represented American history and courage.

Luckily, Congress accepted the bald eagle, which can be seen on our currency, the Great Seal of the United States and in artwork throughout the country to express patriotism. The eagle’s majesty and power have become a fitting symbol of American pride. Wherever the eagle is displayed, it means only one thing to all Americans: freedom.

The eagle finial is atop the flagpoles in the offices of the President and Vice President, and the United States Army considers this flagpole finial the only one appropriate for Presidential flagpoles. It comes in many different styles, including detailed depictions, as well as traditional eagle designs.

The Spear

multi colored spears flag finialsThe image of the spear dates to the Native Americans who used it for war and hunting. Spears carry a connotation of bravery and were also used in ceremonies to be given to the warriors of great courage. This idea is the significance communicated through a spear finial, which gives the flag a strong and bold appearance.

The spear used by the United States Army is flat with two wings extending perpendicular to the central spearhead. Other styles include the more traditional Native American design that only contains the central point.

The spear usually comes in silver or gold and is the only finial used by the United States Army when flying the Army’s flag.  It has a long, rich history that has carried into present day, representing the heroism of our past and the fearlessness towards our future.

The Gold Ball

american flag hanging from pole with gold ball finialThere is a myth that a gold ball finial at the top of a flagpole contains items that could be used against an attacker should the flag be under siege. It is rumored to contain weapons like a match, razor or bullet to aid in defense of the flag. Another suggestion is that the sphere contains a symbolic item, like a penny which stands for American economic strength.

Although these beliefs have been proven false, the gold ball is a classic finial that gives your flagpole an elegant appearance. Some prefer the gold ball over other figures for an outside flagpole because the flag is unable to catch on sharp edges if being blown by high winds. For indoor flags, it gives a respectable and conservative look for those aiming for a more traditional style.

Final Thoughts

All the above finials are appropriate and commemorate our nation’s history along with the star-spangled banner they adorn. Independence Day is a national flag flying holiday when all Americans, civilians and U.S. military members both stand together in honor of our country’s fight for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. This July 4th, be sure to remember your American flag, which stands in the corner of your household, silent but proud.

Quaint and Quirky – 20 Best Small Town Fourth of July Celebrations

Quaint and Quirky - 20 Best Small Town Fourth of July CelebrationsPatriotic holiday. Happy family, father and his daughter child girl with American flag outdoors on background sunset cityscape. USAFourth of July is just around the corner, and it’s the best day to express your patriotic passion in an unabated way. From sea to shining sea, towns and cities across the nation each have their own ways to celebrate America’s birthday. Some of these towns have a direct connection to 1776, while others make up for it with their festiveness and unique celebrations.

While Washington D.C. may be the obvious choice for those wishing to celebrate, smaller towns offer quaint and quirky charms that can’t be replicated in the one-size-fits-all celebrations of larger cities. As eclectic towns across the nation, each with their own unique traditions and ways of celebrating, come together to commemorate this special day, America’s patriot spirit comes alive! Here are the 20 best small-town celebrations across the country. Continue reading