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Massachusetts State FlagMassachusetts State Flag

Adopted in 1915; 1971.

On March 6, 1915, Massachusetts adopted a State flag that was very similar to the flag that flies over the Commonwealth today. The 1915 flag depicted the Commonwealth coat of arms on one side on a white field. On the other side was blue shield with a pine tree on it, a symbol of the value placed on wood by the settlers of Massachusetts.

Today, the design depicts the Massachusetts coat of arms on a white field on both sides of the flag, a design approved on June 2, 1971 to take effect on November 1, 1971.

The Massachusetts State Flag

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts' flag in the United States has been represented by official but limited-purpose flags since 1776, though until 1908 it had no state flag per se to represent its government. A variant of the white flag with blue seal was carried by each of the Massachusetts volunteer regiments during the Civil War alongside the National Colors. An exception were the two "Irish regiments" (the 9th and 28th Volunteers), each of which was permitted to carry an alternative green flag with a harp symbol. The state currently has three official flags: a state flag, a "naval and maritime flag" (despite it no longer having its own navy), and a governor's flag.

The Massachusetts State Flag is white, bearing on both sides a representation of the coat of arms (except that the five- pointed star is white instead of silver). In 1971, the flag was changed and only depicts the original front design and was adopted in its final form; before that, the obverse side depicted a pine tree. On a white field is a blue shield emblazoned with the image of a Native American , Massachusetts. He holds a bow in one hand and an arrow in the other. The arrow is pointing downward representing peace. The white star represents Massachusetts as one of the original thirteen states, the sixth state. Around the shield is a blue ribbon with the Massachusetts state motto: Ense Petit Placidam, Sub Libertate Quietem (" By the Sword We Seek Peace, but Peace Only Under Liberty".) Above the shield is the state military crest: the bent arm arm of Myles Standish with a broad sword blade up to remind that it was through the American Revolution that liberty was won, and representing the first part of the motto. The arm itself is the Goliad symbol common in early Texas flags and signifying the philosophy that those represented would rather lose their right arm than live under tyranny.

The first official nonmilitary state flag, which was adopted by the legislature on March 6, 1915, featured on the obverse side the coat of arms; on the reverse side was a green pine tree on a blue shield. In 1971 the reverse-side design was eliminated from the state flag, but the maritime flag (a pine tree on a plain white field) was resurrected.

Naval and maritime flag

In April 1776, the Massachusetts Navy adopted, as its flag (naval ensign), a white field charged with a green pine tree and the motto "An Appeal to Heaven." In 1971 the motto was removed, and the flag was designated "the naval and maritime flag of the Commonwealth".

Massachusetts is one of only two states with its own naval ensign (the other is Maine)

Massachusetts Flag Law

The General Laws of Massachusetts, Part 1, Title 1, Chapter 2

PART I. ADMINISTRATION OF THE GOVERNMENT.
TITLE I. JURISDICTION AND EMBLEMS OF THE COMMONWEALTH, THE GENERAL COURT, STATUTES AND PUBLIC DOCUMENTS.
CHAPTER 2. ARMS, GREAT SEAL AND OTHER EMBLEMS OF THE COMMONWEALTH.

Chapter 2: Section 3. Commonwealth and naval and maritime flags; design

Section 3. The flag of the commonwealth shall consist of a white rectangular field, bearing on either side a representation of the arms of the commonwealth, except that the star shall be white. The naval and maritime flag of the commonwealth shall consist of a white rectangular field bearing on either side a representation of a green pine tree.

Chapter 2: Section 4. Flag of governor; design

Section 4. The flag of the governor shall conform to the design of the flag of the commonwealth, except that the field of the flag of the governor shall be triangular in shape.

Chapter 2: Section 5. Coat of arms, seal and flags of commonwealth; state secretary as custodian; conformance to specifications; use and display regulations

Section 5. The state secretary shall be the custodian of the coat of arms, seal and flags of the commonwealth and all representations of said arms, seal and flags shall conform strictly to the specifications which shall be prepared under the direction of the state secretary in the year nineteen hundred and seventy-one and deposited in his office. The proper use and display of said arms, seal and flags of the commonwealth and their manufacture are hereby subject to such regulations relating thereto which the state secretary may from time to time issue, provided that such regulations shall be in conformity with all the relevant legislation of the United States and of the commonwealth.

Chapter 2: Section 6. Flags of the United States and commonwealth; display

Section 6. The flag of the United States and the flag of the commonwealth shall be displayed on the main or administration building of each public institution of the commonwealth. The flags shall be of suitable dimensions and shall be flown every day when the weather permits.

Chapter 2: Section 6A. Commonwealth flag; flying at half-staff

Section 6A. The flag of the commonwealth shall be flown at half-staff at or on the main or administration building of each public institution of the commonwealth, at or on each other state-owned or state-controlled building, and at all state military installations on the following occasions for the periods indicated:--

(a) On all occasions upon which the national flag is flown at half-staff and for the same period of time;

(b) On the death of a governor or ex-governor of the commonwealth for thirty days from the day of death;

(c) On the death of a lieutenant-governor, secretary, treasurer and receiver-general, attorney general, or auditor of the commonwealth, from the day of death until sunset of the day of interment;

(d) On the death of a senator in congress from the commonwealth, from the day of death until sunset of the day of interment;

(e) On the death of a representative in congress from the commonwealth, the flag of the commonwealth shall be flown at half-staff at the aforementioned sites in the representative's congressional district from the day of death until sunset of the day of interment;

(e1/2) On the death of a member of the general court, the flag of the commonwealth shall be flown at half-staff from the day of death until sunset of the day of interment at the aforementioned sites in the member's representative district on the death of a member of the house of representatives, and the member's senatorial district on the death of a member of the senate.

(e3/4) On the death of a former member of the general court, the flag of the commonwealth shall be flown at half-staff from the day of death until sunset of the day of interment in accordance with such orders or instructions as may be issued by or at the direction of the governor after consultation with the speaker of the house of representatives on the death of a former representative in the general court, or with the president of the senate, on the death of a former state senator.

(f) In the event of the death of other elected officials or former elected officials of the commonwealth, from the day of death until sunset of the day of interment in accordance with such orders or instructions as may be issued by or at the direction of the governor; and

(g) In the event two or more of the aforementioned periods coincide in full or in part, the state flag shall be displayed at half-staff for such period as will comply with the above provisions without resulting in an additional and separate period of such display for each such death.

State Flags
State Flags
The flags of the US states exhibit a wide variety of regional influences and local histories, as well as widely different styles and design principles.
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