The Arizona state flag is made up of thirteen red and yellow rays on the top half and blue on the lower half. The flag also has a star rising from the blue in the lower half in the same manner as the sun rises from the east. The earlier proposals for the flag had a sun in place of the star, but the star was preferred since the sun made the flag similar to that of Japan.
It is believed that Charles Wilfred Harris was the originator of the current Arizona state flag. Colonel Harris was captain of the Arizona National Guard which was a participant in the riffle completion in Camp Perry Ohio. All participating teams except for the Arizona National Guard had an emblem of some sort. Colonel Harris decided to design a flag for his team. The Arizona legislature later adopted this flag as the official state flag of Arizona. Although Charles Harris is given credit for coming up with the rifle team flag, some individuals are likely to have been involved in the making of the official flag of the state. One such individual is W.R Stewart of Mesa. Being the leader of the Mesa Rifle Team, he felt obliged to come up with a flag for competition. He sketched a flag on an envelopes backside and his wife, Mae, sewed it. Arizona’s first US congressman, Carl Hayden, is also believed to have worked with Colonel Harris while making the first state flag. It is also possible that the flag was designed by Rachael Berry together with another woman, probably Nan Hayden. Rachael Berry was the first woman elected to the Arizona legislature when Arizona became a state in 1912. She was also a leader in women’s suffrage.
The third Arizona legislature adopted the Arizona flag as the official state flag on February 17, 1917. The bill was passed into law despite nonconforming votes and the refusal of Governor Campbell to sign the bill into law. The governor did not give any reasons for his failure to sign the bill.
Meaning of the Symbols of the Flag
The top half of the flag of Arizona has thirteen rays of red and weld yellow. The bottom half is blue. The red and yellow rays are the same colors found on the flag of Spain. The rays represent the thirteen original states as well as the picturesque sunsets of Arizona. The blue color represents the Colorado River and is similar to the liberty blue on the US flag’s field of stars. The copper star rising from the blue in the lower half of the flag is a representation of the massive copper mining industry in Arizona. The red and gold are also the colors that Colorado’s expedition carried to the seven cities of Cibola in 1540.
The design of the state flag is in the ratio of 2:3 and the rays on the upper half of the flag are divided into thirteen equal parts. The first ray is red followed by yellow. The sequence continues until the rays are complete. The copper star is located centrally on the flag and measures one unit in height. The red and blue colors are similar to the ones used on the US flag. The Arizona State was recognized as one of the ten best flags in the continent in a survey run by the North American Vexillological Association. The flag ranked sixth out of seventy-two flags of North American states for general design quality.
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