The Tennessee State Flag
The Tennessee State Flag was designed by a fellow named LeRoy Reeves of the Third Regiment, Tennessee Infantry. It was officially adopted by the Tennessee State Legislature on April 17, 1905.
The geometric design sybolizes the geographical and cultural heritage of the state of Tennessee while echoing the colors of the national flag of The United States of America. The color white symbolizes purity. The blue sybolizes the love that Tennesseans feel for their state and the red sybolizes, that in times of war and peace, Tennesseans are true-blooded Americans.
Mr. Reeves explained his design:
The "three grand divisions of the state." that Mr. Reeves refers to are the three sharply contrasting geographical divisions of the state of Tennessee.
East Tennessee is defined by the Great Smoky Mountains, the Cumberland Plateau and the narrow valleys and forested hills. Farming was restricted by this landscape and two of the states most industrialized cities are in East Tennessee; Chattanooga and Knoxville.
Middle Tennessee is known for its rolling landscape; bluegrass country. Defined by the circuitous path of the Tennessee River, Middle Tennessee is ideal for raising livestock and dairy farming and is known for its fine horses and mules.
West Tennessee is where most of the state's cotton is grown. Between the Tennessee and Mississippi Rivers, this is rich river-bottom land.
Tennessee Flag Law
The following information was excerpted from the Tennessee Code, Title 4, Chapter 1.
Title 4 State Government
4-1-301. State flag or banner.
(a)The flag or banner of this state shall be of the following design, colors and proportions, to wit: an oblong flag or banner in length one and two thirds (12/3) times its width, the principal field of same to be of color red, but the flag or banner ending at its free or outer end in a perpendicular bar of blue, of uniform width, running from side to side, that is to say, from top to bottom of the flag or banner, and separated from the red field by a narrow margin or stripe of white of uniform width; the width of the white stripe to be one fifth (1/5) that of the blue bar; and the total width of the bar and stripe together to be equal to one eighth (1/8) of the width of the flag. In the center of the red field shall be a smaller circular field of blue, separated from the surrounding red field by a circular margin or stripe of white of uniform width and of the same width as the straight margin or stripe first mentioned. The breadth or diameter of the circular blue field, exclusive of the white margin, shall be equal to one half (1/2) of the width of the flag. Inside the circular blue field shall be three (3) five-pointed stars of white distributed at equal intervals around a point, the center of the blue field, and of such size and arrangement that one (1) point of each star shall approach as closely as practicable without actually touching one (1) point of each of the other two (2) around the center point of the field; and the two (2) outer points of each star shall approach as nearly as practicable without actually touching the periphery of the blue field. The arrangement of the three (3) stars shall be such that the centers of no two (2) stars shall be in a line parallel to either the side or end of the flag, but intermediate between same; and the highest star shall be the one nearest the upper confined corner of the flag.
(b)(1)It is an offense to knowingly manufacture or sell a state flag that is not in compliance with subsection (a).
(2)The provisions of this subsection (b) shall apply only to flags that are manufactured, sold or offered for sale as official state flags and shall not apply to miniature flags or flags manufactured, sold or offered for sale as souvenirs, novelties, decorations or toys.
(3)A violation of this subsection (b) is considered a deceptive business practice and punishable as provided in § 39-14-127.
(c)(1)Each Tennessee state flag manufactured or otherwise produced shall have imprinted on the flag a legend or other markings, or both, sufficient to clearly indicate the proper manner in which to fly or otherwise display the Tennessee state flag.
(2)The purpose of this subsection (c) is to ensure that the public does not fly or otherwise display the Tennessee state flag in any incorrect manner, especially not upside down.
(3)For the purposes of this subsection (c), "Tennessee state flag” includes all flags that are manufactured, sold or offered for sale as official state flags.
(d)All official flags of the United States and of the state of Tennessee, purchased under a state contract, shall be manufactured in the United States.
[Acts 1905, ch. 498; Shan., § 92a1; Code 1932, § 101; T.C.A. (orig. ed.), § 4-106; Acts 1990, ch. 1059, § 1; 2000, ch. 640, § 1; 2005, ch. 497, § 1.]
Title 4 State Government
4-1-329. Official salute to the Tennessee flag.
(a)The following salute written by Lucy Steele Harrison is designated and adopted as the first official salute to the flag of Tennessee:
"Three white stars on a field of blue
(b)The following salute written by Miss John Bostick is designated and adopted as the second official salute to the flag of Tennessee:
"Flag of Tennessee, I salute thee
[Acts 2006, ch. 841, § 1.]
Source: The Tennessee General Assembly, The Tennessee Code, (http://www.michie.com/tennessee/lpext.dll?f=templates&fn=main-h.htm&cp=), November 7, 2007.
Tennessee (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 Tennessee State Flags: You may purchase quality state flags from the United States Flag Store.
The Flags of Tennessee: by Devereaux D. Cannon, Jr., Illustrated by Debra L. Tullier, Hardcover: 95 pages, Publisher: Pelican Publishing Company (November 1990).
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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