SD State Flag Debate – Do you want to change our flag or not?

If you haven?t looked yet – there are 2 huge reasons to oppose HB 1235. This is the bill to change the South Dakota Flag.

Proposed State Flag - Design by Dick Termes of Spearfish

Regarding the fiscal impact ? during these lean times, has anyone requested a fiscal note on what the impact will be to schools, cities, counties, and state government to order new flags for every classroom and office that currently has a South Dakota flag on the wall, desk, or flag pole?

Regarding the historic impact, read the latest edition of the South Dakota Blue Book, on page 233 where it tells the story of the South Dakota State Flag:

The South Dakota flag features the state seal surrounded by a golden blazing sun in a field of sky blue. Letters reading ?South Dakota, The Mount Rushmore State? ?the official state nickname ? are arranged in a circle around the sun. South Dakota had no official state flag until the year 1909. As recounted in Wi-iyohi Bulletin Volume II, November 1, 1948: ?In 1909 Senator Ernest May of Deadwood came into the Historical Society office. Seth Bullock wanted a state flag. May asked Doane Robinson about it and was told by Robinson that Ida Anding, now Mrs. McNeil, former operator of KGFX radio of Pierre, who was then a stenographer in the Historical offices, would design him a flag. She did. It was a blazing sun, on an azure (blue) background. May liked the design, Senate Bill 208 ws introduced. On the floor later, May moved that ?on the reverse of the blazing sun shall appear the Great Seal of the State of South Dakota in dark blue.? This was adopted and the bill passed. Money to buy two flags was appropriated. One went to the Secretary of State, and Seth Bullock of Camp No. 1, United Spanish Veterans of South Dakota, got the other.? This flag is still displayed in the Secretary of State?s office to this day.

The state flag was then designed by Ida M. Anding,
legislative librarian, in 1909 according to the following specifications: ?The Flag of South Dakota shall consist of a field of blue, one and two-thirds as long as it is wide, in the center of which shall be a blazing sun in gold, two-fifths as wide in diameter as the width of the flag. Above this sun shall be arranged in the arc of the circle, in gold letters, the words ?South Dakota? and below this sun in the arc of the circle shall be arranged the words in gold letters, ?The Sunshine State?, and on the reverse of the blazing sun shall be printed in dark blue the Great Seal of the State of South Dakota. The edges of the flag shall be trimmed with a fringe of gold, to be in proportion to the width of the flag. The staff shall be surmounted by a spearhead to which shall be attached cord and tassels of suitable length and size.?

This was the only official state flag until the year 1963. It became increasingly evident by this time that the cost to manufacture a flag with a different emblem on each side was expensive to the degree that there were few South Dakota state flags in existence, and they were seldom flown. In the legislature of 1963, House Bill 503 was introduced by Representative William Sahr of Hughes County, enacted, and was approved by the Governor on March 11th.

It appears this was a wise decision as the cost of the South Dakota state flag was greatly reduced, and more requests for the state flags were made than ever before.

In 1992, a measure sponsored by State Representative Gordon Pederson of Pennington County, South Dakota changed the wording on the flag to read ?The Mount Rushmore State?. Codified law now reads as follows:

1-6-4. State flag–Description.

The state flag or banner shall consist of a field of sky-blue one and two-thirds as long as it is wide. Centered on such field shall be the great seal of South Dakota made in conformity with the terms of the Constitution, which shall be four-ninths the width of the flag in diameter. The seal shall be on a white background with the seal outlined in dark blue or, in the alternative, shall be on a sky-blue background with the seal outlined in dark blue thereon. Surrounding the seal in gold shall be a serrated sun whose extreme width shall be five-ninths the width of the flag. The words “South Dakota” symmetrically arranged to conform to the circle of the sun and seal shall appear in gold letters
one-eighteenth the width of the field above the sun and seal and the words “The Mount Rushmore State” in like-sized gold letters and in like arrangement shall appear below the sun and seal. Flags designed of such material as may be provident for outdoor use need have no fringe but flags for indoor and display usage shall have a golden fringe one-eighteenth the width of the flag 0n the three sides other than the hoist.

Our current South Dakota flag bears the fingerprints of Seth Bullock, Ernest May, Ida Anding, William Sahr and Gordon Pederson. To cast away a flag whose basic design pre-dates the completion of the capitol seems sacrilegious to our state?s proud history, as well as the memory of our forefathers.

I hope everyone who reads this contacts our legislators, and encourages them ? Don?t Bag the South Dakota Flag!