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Iowa State FlagIowa State Flag

Adopted in 1921.

The flag of the state of Iowa is a vertical tricolor of blue, white, and red, reflecting Iowa's history as part of the French Louisiana Territory. Because of the wider middle stripe and symmetric design, the design is sometimes classified as a "Canadian pale".) The image of a bald eagle with a long ribbon reading "Our liberties we prize and our rights we will maintain", taken from the Seal of Iowa, is centered in the middle white stripe. The word "Iowa" is placed directly below it in red, serifed majuscules.

The flag was adopted in 1921; it was first approved in May 1917, by the Iowa State Council for Defense. It was designed in 1917, by Knoxville, Iowa, resident Mrs. Dixie Cornell Gebhardt, of the Daughters of the American Revolution of Iowa.


The Iowa State Flag

Iowa was almost 75 years old before the state flag was adopted by the General Assembly. Creation of the state flag had been suggested for years by patriotic organizations, but no action was taken until World War I, when Iowa National Guardsmen stationed along the Mexican border suggested a state flag was needed to designate their unit. This prompted the state's Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) to design a flag in 1917.

The Iowa General Assembly officially adopted the design in 1921. Designed by Mrs. Dixie Cornell Gebhardt of Knoxville, Iowa, a member of the DAR, the state flag consists of three vertical stripes - blue, white and red. Gebhardt explained that the blue stands for loyalty, justice and truth; the white for purity; and the red for courage. On the white stripe is a bald eagle carrying a blue streamer in its beak. The state motto " Our Liberties We Prize, and Our Rights We will Maintain" is written on the streamer. The name of the state is emblazoned in red letters. The flag may also be flown on the sites of public buildings. When displayed with the United States flag, the state flag must be flown below the national emblem.

State Names, Flags, Seals, Songs, Birds, Flowers and Other Symbols

1938 revised edition
George Earlie Shankle, Ph.D.

When the United States entered the World War, Iowa had no state flag. "It was expected that the Iowa men would fight in State regiments as they had in former wars and this emphasized the desirability of a State flag to designate the Iowa units. The organization most interested in this matter was the Iowa Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution which had already prepared two designs. On May 11, 1917, Mrs. Lue B. Prentiss, chairman of the Society's flag committee, Mrs. Dixie Gephardt, and a number of other interested persons appeared before the State Council on National Defense, presented a flag design submitted by Mrs. Gebhardt, and asked that it be adopted as the State flag for use by the Iowa soldiers. The Council approved the plan without much discussion. Thereupon the Daughters of the American Revolution had a number of flags manufactured and presented one to each of the Iowa National Guard regiments, one of which - as the 168th United States Infantry - was already in France. The use of state flags however, was soon rendered almost impossible by the policy adopted by the War Department of assigning men to military units without regard to the State from which they came."

Iowa Flag Law

The Iowa Code, Title 1, Subtitle, 1, Chapter 1B.


1B.1 Specifications of state flag.
The banner designed by the Iowa society of the Daughters of the American Revolution and presented to the state is hereby adopted as the state flag for use on all occasions where a state flag may be fittingly displayed. The design consists of three vertical stripes of blue, white, and red, the blue stripe being nearest the staff and the white stripe* being in the center. On the central white stripe is depicted a spreading eagle bearing in its beak blue streamers on which is inscribed the state motto, "Our liberties we prize and our rights we will maintain" in white letters, with the word "Iowa" in red letters below the streamers.
[C24, 27, 31, 35, 39, § 468; C46, 50, 54, 58, 62, 66, 71, 73, 75, 77, 79, 81, §31.1]
C93, §1B.1
95 Acts, ch 1, §1

*Editor's Note: On the original design, the white stripe was about equal to the sum of the others

1B.2 Use of state flag.
The design shall be used as the state flag and may be displayed on all proper occasions where the state is officially represented, either at home or abroad, or wherever it may be proper to distinguish the citizens of Iowa from the citizens of other states. When displayed with the national emblem, the state flag shall in all cases be subservient to and placed beneath the stars and stripes.
[C24, 27, 31, 35, 39, § 469; C46, 50, 54, 58, 62, 66, 71, 73, 75, 77, 79, 81, §31.2]
C93, §1B.2
95 Acts, ch 1, §2

1B.3 Flags on public buildings.
It shall be the duty of any board of public officers charged with providing supplies for a public building in the state to provide a suitable state flag and it shall be the duty of the custodian of that public building to raise the flags of the United States of America and the state of Iowa, upon each secular day when weather conditions are favorable.
[S13, §2804-c; C24, 27, 31, 35, 39, § 470; C46, 50, 54, 58, 62, 66, 71, 73, 75, 77, 79, 81, §31.3]
C93, §1B.3
95 Acts, ch 1, §3

Display of Flag

The Iowa Code, Title 1, Subtitle, 1, Chapter 1C.


1C.11 Iowa State Flag Day.
The governor of this state is hereby requested and authorized to issue annually a proclamation designating the twenty-ninth day of March as "Iowa State Flag Day" and to urge that schools, civic organizations, governmental departments, and all citizens and groups display the Iowa state flag on that day and to reflect on and consider the heritage of the state flag.
98 Acts, ch 1023, §1

The Iowa Code, Title 1, Subtitle, 6, Chapter 280.


280.5 Display of United States flag and Iowa state flag.
The board of directors of each public school district and the authorities in charge of each nonpublic school shall provide and maintain a suitable flagstaff on each school site under its control, and the United States flag and the Iowa state flag shall be raised on all school days when weather conditions are suitable.
[S13, §2804-a, -b; C24, 27, 31, 35, 39, § 4253; C46, 50, 54, 58, 62, 66, 71, 73, §280.4; C75, 77, 79, 81, §280.5]
95 Acts, ch 1, §4

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