Amid all the lights and other Christmas decorations, you might not have noticed that U.S. flags have been at half-staff to mark the passing of George H.W. Bush. Gov. Gary Herbert ordered the flags lowered until the end of December in honor of the 41st president who advocated a "kinder, gentler" America, and who was the longest-lived chief executive in U.S. history (94 years, 171 days). If you didn't notice the stars and stripes, then you probably also missed our state and Salt Lake City flag at half-staff, too.
Odd, but folks are calling for the capital city and the state to get new flag designs. Salt Lake's flag is pretty simple: an oval with a silhouette of high-rises, the top of a temple-like structure and a city hall-like building against a background of snowcapped mountains and blue sky. The flag is in green, white, black and blue colors and was updated during Rocky Anderson's term as mayor. It might be a "I have big cajones too and want my own flag" kinda thing, but Mayor Jackie Biskupski wants a new flag now and launched a public survey in November seeking input on the current flag and ideas for a new one. The survey was open through Dec. 21, allowing residents to chime in on how they felt about a new banner.
On the state level, Rep. Steve Handy, R-Layton, has gone on record saying that our Utah flag is an "S.O.B." For you foul language fans, that doesn't mean "Son of a Bitch." It means "A Seal on a Bedsheet." Basically, the design of our current flag is 100-plus years old and looks like a notary stamp on a blue bedsheet. People who study flags (vexillologists) say that a good flag should follow a few basic guidelines: simplicity, meaningful symbolism, limited use of colors, no lettering, good design and, well, a different look than other flags. Our state flag is just plain and fuddy-duddy, not dope or lit.
Where do you, dear reader, hail from? I love the flag of Arizona, a star and sun's rays emanating from it; or the beautiful red Zia sun on a field of yellow for New Mexico. Mapquest rated state flags and found Hawaii's to be the worst (it includes a Union Jack—as in a British flag) and Utah's ranked No. 21. North Dakota, Vermont, Michigan and many other states also have an "S.O.B."-type flag. The top three flags? Louisiana's pelican with her young, California's bear and Wyoming's buffalo. Maybe Utah should take a cue and install a queen bee, cougar or sage grouse in its rightful place, front and center on the new state flag.