District of Columbia Flag

The flag of Washington, D.C., consisting of three red stars (or mullets) positioned on top of two red bars against a white background, is actually an armorial banner based upon the design of the coat of arms granted in 1592 to George Washington’s great-great-great-grandfather, Lawrence Washington, of Sulgrave Manor in Northamptonshire, England. This coat of arms was also used privately in the President’s home at Mount Vernon.

The D.C. flag was chosen in 1938 with the help of a Commission of Fine Arts, which created by an Act of Congress. This District Flag Commission included the Secretary of War, the Secretary of the Navy, and the president of the Board of Commissioners, none of which were locally elected. Consequently, at the time, the flag was seen as a symbol of Washington’s lack of Representation, since no local group was involved in the selection process. Despite this, however, over time it paradoxically went from at first being rejected by the locals to becoming embraced by most residents and businesses, as well as the D.C. Statehood Movement, as a symbol of local identity.

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