The state flag of Georgia may not be quite as famous as, say, the California or South Carolina state flag, but it’s no less meaningful to Georgians. This flag, officially called Georgia Stars and Bars, features a three-stripe design with red, white, and blue stripes plus a blue canton in the top right corner.
The focal point of the Georgia flag, though, is the Georgia coat of arms in gold, encompassed by a ring of 13 white stars. This flag is a beloved symbol of state pride and tells a unique story about Georgia’s over-200-year-old history.
The History of the Georgia Flag
Over the centuries, the Georgia state flag has changed its design more than a few times. Compared with many other state flags, the current Georgia state flag is relatively new. It was adopted on May 8, 2003 (compare that to Mississippi’s state flag, which celebrated its centennial in 1994), but it is an iteration on various other versions dating back to 1879.
The original state flag was introduced on the eve of the Civil War, after the state’s secession from the Union. New laws required the governor to supply regimental flags to Georgia militia units assigned outside the state, so state senator Herman H. Perry introduced the design—a simple blue flag with the state’s coat of arms in gold. In the years that followed, the state changed the design seven times more until the current version was officially adopted.
Beginning in 1956, a design featuring a prominent confederate flag was flown in the state. This version was designed by World War II veteran John Sammons Bell, who was an outspoken supporter of segregation. Despite the controversy surrounding this flag, Georgia used this flag officially until 2001, when Governor Roy Eugene Barnes dismantled its use and implemented a new version designed by architect Cecil Alexander.
The 2001 Georgia state flag featured small versions of previous versions of the flag below a gold State of Georgia seal. The new design was a major flop, consistently rated one of the worst state flags in the United States. This prompted the next governor, Sonny Perdue, to run on the platform of allowing Georgians to choose their own state flag. Citizens chose the Stars and Bars, and Perdue signed the legislation designating it the official state flag in 2003.
Symbolism and Meaning
The Georgia flag is rich with various symbols and meanings that honor the history and pride of the last state in the Thirteen Colonies. The state’s coat of arms features an arch and three pillars, which symbolize the state’s constitution and three branches of government, respectively. Banners displaying the state’s motto—“Wisdom, Justice, and Moderation”—are wrapped around the pillars and guarded by a colonial figure that represents the state’s role in the Revolutionary War.
Georgia’s flag is also emblazoned with the official motto of the United States, “In God We Trust,” beneath the state’s coat of arms. The positioning of this wording is said to symbolize the state’s foundation within its country. The thirteen white stars that surround the coat of arms symbolize the state’s place in history as one of the original Thirteen Colonies. This particular design was based on the first national flag of the Confederacy, which was also nicknamed the Stars and Bars.
How to Honor the Your State Flag
If you want to show your love for The Peach State, there’s no better way to do it than to fly a Georgia state flag outside your home! Nowadays, you see state flags on just about everything—from t-shirts to bumper stickers, to home décor—but the best way to show your respect for your favorite state is to fly your pride outside your home or business. This can be done relatively easily with a simple flagpole kit.
Make sure to buy state flags from reputable online resources that supply only American-made flags. If you intend to fly the flag outside year-round, invest in a high-quality outdoor Georgia flag that will stay in great shape throughout all kinds of weather. We recommend choosing a durable, heavyweight nylon flag for outdoor purposes. This will help keep the flag in excellent condition with minimal fading, even when constantly exposed to the Georgia sun!