George W – Who Knew?

The face of George Washington, on the flag of the state of Washington, is known to most Americans (who remember American History 101). But George plays a part – albeit much more obscure – in the history of another U.S.flag: the flag of the District of Columbia. 

 The District of Columbia, aka WashingtonD.C., was flagless for over a century.  Although various banners were flown, such as the flag of the D.C. National Guard, it was not until 1938 that an act of Congress established a commission to choose an official, original design.  A public competition was held, and the submission of a graphic designer, Charles Dunn, was chosen. It is based on the design of the coat of arms of George Washington, thought to have first been used to identify his family in the twelfth century.  The design was officially adopted on October 15, 1938.

 There was an effort to change the flag in 2002, to add the letters “D.C” and the words, “Taxation Without Representation” to reflect the fact that the District of Columbia does not have voting rights in Congress.  This would only be temporary until the district achieved equal representation.  Although popular for a while, support eroded and the bill was never signed by the mayor at the time, Anthony Williams.  It seems ironic that it is only in the seat of our national government in which residents are not represented in Congress.

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