Saturday, August 27, 2011

My Flags

Having discussed this with some others, I thought I would list here some of my flags, in case some might find it of interest. I have long had an interest in what the educated folks call vexillology. Flags have a way of inspiring strong emotions in people that has never ceased to amaze me. Since I have a great many I will list here only those I have large enough for display outdoors (though at least a couple of them were not made durable enough for that) and with a few exceptions are 3’x5’.

The Grand Union Flag: This is the only American flag that I own and I fly it on those occasions in which I feel compelled to. There are a few misconceptions about this one. It was never an official flag of the United States as it was only used prior to the declaration of independence. However, it was the first flag to represent the thirteen colonies as a whole or the ‘American nation’ when they were still fighting simply for a redress of grievances while remaining within the British Empire. It was also the first American flag to ever fly over foreign soil in the brief capture of Nassau, Bahamas.

The Republic of Texas: This is the one that sees the most service and is the one that can usually be seen flying over my home. It is the flag of my country as I am one of those stubborn few who still adheres to the old idea of state sovereignty. So long as Texas adheres to the Union, I adhere but that is as far as it goes. It has been the official flag of Texas since December 10, 1836 though the basic symbol of the “Lone Star” is much older. Obviously not a monarchist flag, but nonetheless the symbol of my home and native land. As we say, “I’m Texas born, Texas bred and when I die; I’ll be Texas dead!” I’m also one of the few, even among Texans, who can sing the first two verses of the Texas national anthem, “Texas, Our Texas”.

The De Zavala Flag: Reading about this one always makes me laugh because someone will inevitably declare that this flag is a "myth"! Does that mean the one I own does not really exist? Silly. Of course it is no myth, it exists -I can hold it in my boney, nicotine-stained fingers. Whether or not it is an accurate depiction of the design suggested by Vice President Lorenzo De Zavala in 1836 I don't know, but it certainly exists and did at the time as well as the basic design, a blue field with a lone star, was quite common as were various words or mottos displayed on flags, the most common being "Texas" or "Independence". In any event, the historical facts regarding it are of little importance to me, I just think it is a nice design and it does quite well to convey my feelings to those passing by concerning the subject of Texas and our relationship with the Union.

The Confederate States of America: Here is one always sure to cause controversy. Some love it, some hate it and some hate anyone who would even display it. Well, for those, you’ll have to take a number and get in line, there will be quite a long wait. I also have the more familiar ensign but I prefer to fly this one, the third and last national flag of the Confederacy. I own it out of principle, my country voluntarily adhered to the Confederacy and was involuntarily forced back into the Union, which rather annoys me. It is not, I assure you, intended to show any support for racism or slavery. In fact, the nearest county to mine that existed at the time of the war voted unanimously in favor of secession and it had not a single ‘White’ resident at the time. I usually fly it on occasions when I am especially annoyed with the federal government in Washington. Tax day immediately comes to mind.

The New Orleans Greys: This one takes me back to my “Living History” period many years ago. The New Orleans Greys were two companies of volunteer militia from the United States (though it included members from Europe as well) which came to Texas in 1835 to aid in the War for Independence. They were ultimately wiped out almost to a man at the Alamo and the Goliad Massacre. This flag was presented to the first company by the ladies of Nacogdoches, Texas and flew at the Alamo where it was captured by Santa Anna and sent back to Mexico as a war trophy. Back when “W” was governor he tried to get it back, offering to exchange it for one of the Mexican flags captured at the battle of San Jacinto but Mexico said “no”. This has led some to think that the Mexicans either lost it or allowed it to deteriorate completely.

The Spanish Empire: This was the ensign of the Kingdom of Spain from 1785 to 1931 but, around here at any rate, is known as the Spanish imperial flag and can be seen in the more accurate displays of the Six Flags of Texas to cover the centuries during which Texas was part of the colonial empire of Spain. I bought it because of that, the Kingdom of Spain being the one monarchy Texas was longest associated with and though it does not see the light of day very often I do fly it occasionally on days significant to the Kingdom of Spain or just to cause annoyance on the sixteenth of September. What can I say? I’m a pain.

The Cross of Burgundy: I own this flag for much the same reason as that above. It was widely flown in the Spanish colonial period, though the only place I have ever seen one still flying today was at Mission San Jose near San Antonio. It is pretty rare and I was surprised to find one at my usual flag store and had to grab it immediately. I have never actually flow it though because it is significantly smaller than the rest and would not fit my flag pole. However, I like the flag, I like what it represented and it was also commonly used by the Carlists and the (historic) Carlist cause is one I have great sympathy for. Let us not, however, get into the debate again over those still using the name today.

The Cross of St George: This one I did not buy but was given to me as a gift by an Englishman. In fact, the first time I met this friend of mine ‘in the flesh’ he had this flag wrapped around him so he was certainly hard to miss. I like the English flag, I do not like the rather negative reputation many have attached to it today. It is also a part (one of many) of my ancestry and having had ancestors who fought for the King in the English Civil War it seems only appropriate to have an English flag. Alas, if it has ever been flown it was only briefly (I can’t really remember) as it was one of those not made for outdoor use but more for hanging on a wall inside.

The Dominion of Canada: As I have said before, I do prefer the old Canadian Red Ensign but I have nothing against the current design. I purchased this flag during my first visit to Canada (indeed the first time I had ever visited an existing monarchy) which was close to Dominion Day (aka Canada Day) and so a lot of Canadian paraphernalia was to be found in the stores. I also flew it the first time the friends I was there to visit came down to Texas. However, I don’t think it was made for extended outdoor use and in any event, given the odd shape of the Canadian flag compared to most, was not a perfect fit for my pole. It could be done but was bubbled a little in the center so was not exactly at its best. I do have some family in Canada as well, I’ve never met them and they live on an Indian reservation but -there’s that anyway.

The German Empire: I don’t recall what prompted me to buy this flag but it was a disappointment in any event. We will blame it on the German percentage of my ancestry and if I am going to have a German flag it was going to be the German Empire and not the republic and if it is going to be an Imperial German flag it was going to be the ensign as I just think it is much more attractive than the civilian flag. Anyway, when it actually arrived it was, again, a great disappointment. It was one of those printed versions and something must have been askew in the printing process as the colored portions in the central arms were almost all missing, so there is a cross but no orb, a tongue but no beak and so on. It just looks terrible. I did fly it once but it was not made for outdoor use. It also has some blood stains on it as I had it in my truck when I was in a bad accident and nearly broke my neck.

The Kingdom of Italy: This is my latest addition, which I bought this year to mark the anniversary of Italian unification. If I am going to fly the flag of Italy it is going to be the flag of the Kingdom of Italy and not the current dysfunctional republic, whose blank tricolor is just boring anyway. It was not made for extended outdoor display, which is probably just as well as down here it would probably just confuse people who would think it was some sort of version of the Mexican flag. Also, as with just about every Italian flag made outside of Italy the shade of green used is not quite correct. But, it serves its purpose and I like a flag with a crown on it in any event.

The Holy See: I do not remember the exact occasion I first bought this flag for but I do remember I had a hard time finding it at the flag store. I looked under “V” for “Vatican City”, then I looked under “P” for “Papal flag” and finally even looked under “C” for “Catholic Church” only to still find nothing. Finally I asked the clerk and it was quickly located, of course, under “H” for “Holy See”. Anyway, as the symbol of the tiny State of Vatican City it is the flag of the last Christian absolute monarchy in the world so significant for that at the very least. I do not often display it but it has been flown on Vatican “independence day” (the day the Lateran Treaty became official) and possibly some other days of papal significance.

The Principality of Monaco: Ever since buying my first Monegasque flag (whenever that was) I have always wondered if they didn’t lie to me and sell me an Indonesian flag instead. I may never know. The red and white come from the coat of arms of the House of Grimaldi which dates back nearly to time immemorial but the national flag was officially adopted by HSH Prince Charles III on April 4, 1881. Since I was knee-high to a duck the Monegasque monarchy was always most prominent in our home, no doubt because of the influence of the late, beloved Princess Grace, who caused a craze for monarchy and Monaco in particular across the United States. Ever since then, in our house at least, the Princely Family, being half-American, was seen as partly our own and it is from that, I suppose, that my fascination with the very long history of Monaco and the Grimaldi dynasty grew. I fly it on every significant Monaco-related occasion, be it National Day or any date significant to the Princely Family.

The Kingdom of France: Finally we come to the French. This flag I have had for quite a while and is probably the most common French flag one will see in my part of the world. I bought this flag both for my admiration for the ancien regime and because it is one of the Six Flags of Texas, during that brief period when we were claimed by King Louis XIV. That claim was made by La Salle with whom there is some local connection and while the blue flag with the three lilies is also often seen, it is the white flag that I have always preferred. I make it a point to fly this flag at least once a year, naturally on Bastille Day.

There are a few others on my 'list' to get that I just havn't gotten around to picking up yet, but I'm sure I've gone on long enough now on a subject of interest to very few if any. Moving on then...

15 comments:

  1. Oh, you'd love marching with the traditional faction (bialo-czarno-czerwona) on the pilgrimage to Czestochowa. We're not called the 'flag group' for nothing. :)

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  2. Probably so, if I were to put all of mine, of all sizes, on display this place would look like some sort of reactionary, historical UN compound.

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  3. That's a nice collection. I wish I could find someplace to get the gold and black flag of habsburg austria. Evidently there's not much of a demand for it in north america.

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  4. As would I. Once I did find an Austrian Imperial ensign but, I didn't grab it when I had the chance and I've not found another since. If I do, I will not hesitate next time.

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  5. I myself have a French royal flag, though it has less fleur-de-lis on it. As I understand, the number itself isn't actually important.
    I'd love a German War Ensign though.
    I do also have a small French tricolor (I intend to obtain a larger one), but I like to think of it as the Imperial flag.

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  6. In that case I would prefer one with bees on it or something of the sort so that there would be no confusion that it meant to represent the empire. Still not my preference of course but I can understand having some nostalgia for the "gloire" of the empire period.

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  7. Ah, well there are a great many reasons for loving the Empire.

    Bees might be nice, though I often see that associated with the Second Empire as opposed to the First, so I might get both, as well as a flag of the Free French.

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  8. One might fly a Vendee tricolor with the Sacred Heart.

    No one would happen to know where to acquire a Papal flag with the appropriate proportions, would he? The flag is supposed to be 3x3 (like Switzerland), but all you can ever find online is 3x5.

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  9. Why, if I might ask, would you fly the Grand Union flag rather than the Red Ensign of 1707 (The flag of British America. First flag to fly over the 13 colonies, obviously before the Revolution, when the colonists were still loyal to the crown.

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    1. A) Because I don't have one and B) that's a British colonial flag and my homeland was never a British colony. It is now part of the United States and the Grand Union was the first flag used by the future U.S. as a distinct political entity, before the Declaration of Independence so, when a U.S. flag is called for I use the Grand Union.

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    2. Ah, I see. I purchased one simply for the fact that it was flown prior to the Revolution and was the precursor to the first national flag. I thought about getting the Grand Union flag but, for me, it symbolizes the beginning of rebellion against the crown. Thank you very much for the reply! I love your blog and I read it all the time, although my previous post was my first. Keep up the amazing work. God bless.

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  10. Do I get any "bonus points" for revealing who this mysterious Englishman was?

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    1. Not from me, I already know. That's like turning yourself in to the cops and asking to collect the reward. (though if someone actually tried that, I'd have to salute them for their attitude)

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  11. i noticed you don't have any African monarchies i know there less glamorous but a king is a king

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    1. And you felt the need to point this out...why? Do you think I am unaware of what I do and do not have, or that others are or are you trying to imply something? You might also have taken the trouble to notice that this post is better than 2 years old and consider that more might have been added since then or that not all of those above are monarchial flags at all but are from places I have a connection with. I have no connection with Morocco, Swaziland or Lesotho.

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