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New Hampshire State Flag

Adopted in 1909.New Hampshire State Flag

Adopted by the New Hampshire State Legislature in 1909, the state flag displays the State Seal of New Hampshire on a blue field surrounded by laural leaves and nine stars representing New Hampshire as the ninth state to join the union.

The flag has only been changed once since its adoption in 1909. This change was not to the design of the flag itself, but to the State Seal centered on the flag. In 1931 the New Hampshire Legislature passed recommendations to more precisely describe the State Seal at the prompting of the New Hampshire Historical Society.

The New Hampshire State Flag

The flag of the state of New Hampshire consists of the state seal centered on a blue background. The Great seal depicts the frigate USS Raleigh and is surrounded by a laurel wreath with nine stars. The Raleigh is one of the first 13 warships sponsored by the Continental Congress for a new American navy, built in 1776, at Portsmouth. The seal is surrounded by a laurel wreath. The wreath is an ancient symbol of fame, honor, and victory. The nine stars within the wreath show that New Hampshire was the ninth state to join the Union. The water stands for the harbor of Portsmouth, and in the yellow-colored spit of land is granite, a strong igneous rock, representing both New Hampshire's rugged landscape and the sturdy character of her people.

In 1784, when the present state constitution became effective, the legislature revised the seal to depict a ship on stocks, with a rising sun in the background, to reflect Portsmouth having become a major shipbuilding center during the war years. Over the years, various items for shipment were also shown on the frontal dock in the seal.

In 1919, New Hampshire Historical Society Director Otis G. Hammond, on the order of the Governor and Executive Council of New Hampshire, wrote a history of the state seal and flag. Hammond described how because the law governing the design of the seal was not very specific, when the dies wore down and had to be redesigned, the artists and sketchers had injected surprising details into the seal, such as rum barrels on the dock, sometimes including people standing beside them. In 1931, after Governor John G. Winant began his second term, he named a committee to produce a seal devoid of controversy. The General Court approved the committee's recommendations, later enacting a law codifying the official design of the state seal.

State Seal Law of 1931

The 1931 State Seal law placed the frigate Raleigh as the centerpiece of the new seal. The Raleigh was built in Portsmouth in 1776, as one of the first 13 warships sponsored by the Continental Congress for a new American navy. The law declared the seal to be 2 inches in diameter bearing the new inscription, SEAL • OF • THE • STATE • OF • NEW HAMPSHIRE, replacing the Latin phrase Sigillum Republica Neo Hantoniensis. The law also declared that only a granite boulder could be shown in the foreground.

New Hampshire Statutes

New Hampshire Statutes, Title 1, Chapter 3

TITLE I
THE STATE AND ITS GOVERNMENT
CHAPTER 3
STATE EMBLEMS, FLAG, ETC.
Section 3:2
3:2 State Flag. - The state flag shall be of the following color and design: The body or field shall be blue and shall bear upon its center in suitable proportion and colors a representation of the state seal. The seal shall be surrounded by a wreath of laurel leaves with nine stars interspersed. When used for military purposes the flag shall conform to the regulations of the United States.

Source. 1909, 16:2. PL 8:1. 1931, 133:1. RL 13:1.


Section 3:3
3:3 When Displayed. - It shall be displayed above the state house whenever the legislature is in session and during meetings of the governor and council when expedient, and upon such other occasions as the governor may designate.

Source. 1909, 16:3. PL 8:2. RL 13:2.

Section 3:3-a
3:3-a Display of POW-MIA Flag. -
I. The POW-MIA flag shall be displayed above the state house in Concord, all state facilities, and national guard armories and other state-owned military facilities whenever the flag of the United States is flown until all questions concerning the fate of America's POWs and MIAs are sufficiently resolved.
II. When the POW-MIA flag is flown on the same flagstaff as the flag of the United States, the POW-MIA flag shall be flown immediately below the flag of the United States. If a state flag or other flag will be flown on the same flagstaff, the order from top to bottom shall be: the flag of the Unites States, the POW-MIA flag, then the state flag or other flag.
III. If the POW-MIA flag is flown from a flagstaff of equal height adjacent to the flag of the United States, the flag of the United States shall be the first in order from the viewer's left, the POW-MIA flag shall be flown on the flagstaff to the immediate left (the viewer's right) of the flag of the United States, and the state or other flag shall be flown farther left (the viewer's right) of the POW-MIA flag.

Source. 1987, 44:1. 1998, 6:1. 2007, 357:1. 2010, 165:1, eff. Aug. 16, 2010.

Section 3:3-b
3:3-b POW-MIA Flag Design. - The POW-MIA flag shall be of the following color and design: the body or field shall be black and shall bear upon its center white markings which outline the silhouette of the head and shoulders of a man. To the left of this central figure shall be the outline of a guard tower, in which shall be an armed guard. A strand of barbed wire shall be to the right of the central figure. "POW-MIA'' shall be written in large, white, capitalized letters at the top of the flag. Below the central design shall be 12 connected arrow feathers. Below this design shall be written "You are not forgotten.'' in white letters.

Source. 1987, 44:1, eff. April 22, 1987.

Section 3:4
3:4 Permission to Use State Flag. - The governor is authorized to make rules and regulations governing the use and display of the state flag not inconsistent with the provisions of RSA 646-A, and it shall be lawful to use and display said flag in accordance with such rules and regulations. This section shall be construed to encourage the display of the state flag on public buildings.

Source. 1953, 266:7. RSA 3:4. 1955, 305:1. 1971, 291:2, eff. Aug. 22, 1971.

Section 3:4-a
3:4-a State Flag, United States Flag, POW-MIA Flag; Place of Manufacture. - Any state flag, United States flag, or POW-MIA flag purchased with state funds or displayed in a state facility shall be manufactured in the United States. This paragraph shall only apply to flags acquired after the effective date of this section.

Source. 2012, 89:1, eff. July 28, 2012.

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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