JOURNAL OF GREAT WATERS ASSOCIATION OF VEXILLOLOGY
December 2002 Vol. VII, No. 2, Issue 14
FLAG DESIGNED TO INSPIRE
In the Broadway classic, The Music Man, Professor Harold Hill sang lovingly of
Gary, Indiana. By the 1970s, however, the city was a mirror for the
decline of the United States steel industry.
Part of Mayor Scott King’s attempt to revive Gary was a city flag.
Though Gary was established in 1906, the city never had a flag before the
current design was adopted in December, 1999.
The flag came about through a contest open to all Gary residents. From the over
500 entries, a panel of judges selected the top six entries. Then residents were
invited to vote for their preferred design through ballots printed in the local
newspapers. The winners whose designs were selected were then
invited to collaborate on the final design. This group included students
from elementary schools, middle schools, high schools, and teachers. The
resulting flag nods to the city’s past as well as pointing to its future.
Two vertical blue bars, indented slightly
from the hoist and fly, appear on a white field on either side of the
city’s logo. The bars closest to the logo are light blue, and the outer
bars are darker blue. The light blue acknowledges Gary’s location on
Lake Michigan. The dark blue represents the blue in Indiana’s state
flag. Ben Clement, Gary’s Director of Economic Development, says that
the four bars together represent the delicate balance of the three branches of
government and the Fourth Estate, which is the people and their media watchdog.
On the white background is a white ring bordered in black. The words
"City of Gary,” above, and the date “1906,” below, appear in black.
Within the ring is a sunrise which indicates Gary’s rebirth and the bright
future the city looks toward. Superimposed against the sun is the domed
silhouette of City Hall, which represents the role of government in the future.
On the viewer’s left are factories to represent the industries which helped
build the city. To the viewer’s right is a school to represent Gary’s
educational system and the role it plays in the past and future. Gary’s
role as a transportation center is represented by the airplane, seen in gray
above the school. The circle is divided in half horizontally, and all this
is mirrored below in the waters of Lake Michigan.
Superimposed on the center is a multi-cultural handshake to represent Gary’s
diversity and the cooperation required to rebuild the city. Below the seal
is a blue ribbon in both shades of blue, dark above and light below, on which
appears the word “Indiana” in white. (DB)