Oregon Focus: State Symbols: Flag
About the Oregon flag
Did you know that Oregon's flag is one of only two state flags in the United States that has a design on both sides (Massachusetts is the other one)? The design for the Oregon flag was adopted by the legislature in 1925.
The flag is navy blue with all designs done in gold. On one side is the shield from the state seal supported by 33 stars. The legend "State of Oregon" appears in large letters across the top of the flag and "1859" is at the bottom instead of encircling the shield as they do in the state seal.
The other side of the flag is a navy blue field with a gold beaver in the center of the flag. The beaver was an important factor in bringing traders, trappers, and eventually settlers to Oregon (see state animal - beaver). The parade flag has gold fringe around the border.
The legislature adopted navy blue and gold as the state colors in 1959. The use of blue in the tradition of heraldic colors over the centuries usually depicted piety and sincerity. Gold usually denoted honor and loyalty.
Suggestions for teachers
Ask students to:
Describe the features of the state flag and "discover" the two-sidedness of it.
Feel the flag, hold it to feel its weight, and notice how it is equipped so it will not tear when on a flagpole.
Draw pictures of the various symbols on the flag.
Discuss the differences between the American flag and the Oregon flag.
Examine pictures of other state flags on the Web, or better yet, take a field trip to Salem to see them all next to the State Capitol. Compare them with Oregon's flag to identify differences and similarities.
Make up a flag song.
Print out and color a state flag (use state flag in coloring book-PDF).
Make a state flag. Cut letters and stars and paste them onto blue construction paper. Color a photocopy of the seal and paste it to the flag.
Design their own personal flags. Use initials, pictures, etc.
Review the rules for correct handling of the flag.
Compare Oregon's state colors with the national colors (red for valor, white for purity, and blue for justice).