Tuesday, June 14, 2011

It's Flag Day!

On June 14, 1777 the Second Continental Congress adopted the official flag of the United States. Although, like most aging individuals, it has gone through a few modifications and expansions since then, for the most part, Old Glory looks much like the flag that received the nod of approval from our Founding Fathers.

Almost 200 years later in 1971, Papua New Guinea held a nationwide competition for the design of its own official standard. 15-year-old Susan Karike’s drawing stood out, and the design was adopted on July 1 of that year.

Red, black, and yellow are traditional colors of many Papua New Guinean people groups. Flapping across the upper right, the bird of paradise, or kumul, plays an important role in the social and cultural events of the country, and its plumes are often used in ceremonies. The cluster of stars on the black form the Southern Cross, which is a visible constellation in the night skies of the Southern Hemisphere. It represents PNG’s historical relationship with other nations of the South Pacific. The plumes of the bird of paradise trail high over the Southern Cross, symbolizing PNG’s emergence into nationhood (official in 1975).

Today, as we honor the red, white, and blue, I'm delighted to add black and yellow to the mix. Only a few more colors to go!