The New Mexico State Flag
Since 1912, when New Mexico entered the union, two official state flags have flown over this southwestern state.
The first flag of the state was designed by New Mexico historian Ralph Emerson Twitchell and featured a design quite different from the current flag. Mr. Twitchell's flag was blue with a small representation of the flag of the United States in the upper left hand corner and the New Mexico State Seal in the lower right hand corner. "NEW MEXICO" was embroidered diagonally across the field from the lower left hand corner to the upper right hand corner.
Enter the Daughters of the American Revolution who had been quite involved with the official state flag designations in other states. In 1920, the Daughters of the American Revolution suggested that a new design be adopted that was more representative of the unique character of New Mexico. This idea had many supporters and, as had been done in other states, a design competition was launched. The winner was Dr. Harry Mera, a Santa Fe physician and archeologist. The flag was constructed by Dr. Mera's wife, Reba.
The simple and meaningful design features an interpretation of an ancient symbol of the sun as found on a late 19th century water jar from Zia Pueblo. This red symbol is called a "Zia" and is centered on a field of yellow.
Four is the sacred number of the Zia and can be found repeated in the four points radiating from the circle. The number four is embodied in the four points of the of the compass, North, East, South and West; in the four seasons of the year Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter; in the 24 hours of each day by sunrise, noon, evening and night; by four seasons of life, childhood, youth, adulthood and old age. The Zia also believed that with life came four sacred obligations: development of a strong body, a clear mind, a pure spirit and devotion to the welfare of people/family. All of these things are bound together within the circle of life.
The red and yellow colors are the colors of Isabel of Castilla brought to the continent by the Spanish Conquistadors.
New Mexico Flag Law
The following information was excerpted from the New Mexico Statutes and Court Rules, Chapter 12, Article 3.
CHAPTER 12 Miscellaneous Public Affairs Matters
12-3-2. [Adoption of flag for state of New Mexico.]
That a flag be and the same is hereby adopted to be used on all occasions when the state is officially and publicly represented, with the privilege of use by all citizens upon such occasions as they may deem fitting and appropriate. Said flag shall be the ancient Zia sun symbol of red in the center of a field of yellow. The colors shall be the red and yellow of old Spain. The proportion of the flag shall be a width of two-thirds its length. The sun symbol shall be one-third of the length of the flag. Said symbol shall have four groups of rays set at right angles; each group shall consist of four rays, the two inner rays of the group shall be one-fifth longer than the outer rays of the group. The diameter of the circle in the center of the symbol shall be one-third of the width of the symbol. Said flag shall conform in color and design described herein.
12-3-3. Salute to state flag.
The official salute to the state flag is: "I salute the flag of the state of New Mexico, the Zia symbol of perfect friendship among united cultures."
12-3-7. Spanish language salute to the state flag.
The official Spanish language salute to the state flag is: "Saludo la bandera del estado de Nuevo Mejico, el simbolo zia de amistad perfecta, entre culturas unidas."
Source: New Mexico Legislature, New Mexico Statutes and Court Rules Unannotated, (http://www.conwaygreene.com/nmsu/lpext.dll?f=templates&fn=main-h.htm&2.0), October 24, 2007.
New Mexico (U.S.): FOTW "Flags of the World" Web Site.
State Flags: Complete list of state flags with links to large pictures and images suitable for coloring.
Flag Terminology: The parts of a flag and terms associated with its design.
Visit Our Flag Shop: Purchase all kinds of flags and banners, lapel pins, 50 state flag sets, decals, patches, college banners at the Flag Shop.
Purchase New Mexico State Flags: You may purchase quality state flags from the United States Flag Store.
Flags of the Fifty States and their Incredible Histories: A complete guide to America's most powerful symbols by Randy Howe.
How Proudly They Wave: Flags of the Fifty States: This book, by Rita D. Haban, is geared toward younger readers.
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