The Alaska Flag

In January of 1927 thrteen year old Benny Benson submitted this simple but elegant design as his entry for a contest to select a flag for Alaska.  The Alaska Territorial Legistlature, anticipating future statehood, opened the contest to students all over the state.  

The stars depict both the constellation Ursa Major (Great Bear), commonly known as the Big Dipper, and the North Star. The blue background is for the sky and the state flower, the forget-me not.  The gold stars reflect the gold that first attracted so many miners, and others hoping to make their fortune, to the state.

Perhaps the symbolism of the flag is best expressed in the words of the much loved Alaska Flag Song, written by Marie Drake.

Alaska Flag Song

Eight stars of gold on a field of blue -
Alaska's flag.  May it mean to you
The blue of the sea, the evening sky,
The mountain lakes, and the flow'rs nearby;
The gold of the early sourdough's dreams,
The precious gold of the hills and streams;
The brilliant stars in the northern sky,
The "Bear" - the "Dipper" - and, shining high,
The great North Star with its steady light,
Over land and sea a beacon bright.
Alaska's flag - to Alaskans dear,
The simple flag of the last frontier.

Displaying the Alaska Flag
The following information was excerpted from the Alaska Statutes, Title 44, Chapter 9.

TITLE 44, STATE GOVERNMENT.
CHAPTER 9.  STATE SEAL, FLAG, AND EMBLEMS.

Sec. 44.09.030  Display of flags.

(a)  The official flag of the state shall be displayed with the flag of the United States only from sunrise to sunset,, or between the hours designated by proper authority.  However, the flag may be displayed after sunset upon special occasions when it is desired to produce a patriotic effect.

(b)  The flag of the United States and the flag of the State of Alaska shall be displayed daily, weather permitting, in the following places:

(1) in or near the main administration building of  every institution under the control of the state government;
(2) in or near every schoolhouse during school days.

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