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Issue 7 

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FLAGWAVER

 

THE JOURNAL OF GREAT WATERS ASSOCIATION OF VEXILLOLOGY

June, 1999                                                                 Vol. IV,  No. 1, Issue 7

STOW, OHIO FLAG CONTROVERSY CONCLUDES

        Judge Dan Polster of the U.S. District Court ruled on December 18,1998 that the cross on the City of Stow's seal and flag was unconstitutional, and should be removed (Fig. 1). City council reacted at its meeting on January 14, 1999, by voting 5-2 to appeal the ruling, but almost a month later, on February 14, 1999, reversed itself after learning that its insurance company, which had paid the costs of defending the city's point of view through the first trial, declared that it would not finance an appeal, likely to run $50,000 or more. The appeal was dropped, but a compromise was found as council voted to replace the cross with the words "In God We Trust", also the national motto of the U.S. The open book, often interpreted as bible, although it has no writing on it, will remain as part of the seal (Fig. 2).

         In previous issues of Flagwaver1, the city flag of Stow had been described incorrectly as red seal centered on a yellow field, which is in fact only one part of the flag that had been published in a newspaper photo that appeared to be the entire flag. A subsequent visit to Stow by the writer revealed the true flag design, which is considerably more complicated. (Fig. 3)

The field of the flag is yellow, and the red seal appears in the lower fly. Diagonally across the field from the lower hoist to the upper fly is a narrow white stripe on which, in blue, appear the words CITY OF STOW, OHIO. In the canton position is the U.S. Liberty Bell in white on a blue field. A small flag resembling an eighteenth-century U.S. flag is at the bell's apex, and around the bell in a circle are 17 white stars to commemorate the fact that Ohio was the seventeenth state to be admitted to the Union. New city flags have been ordered and will incorporate the new seal design in place of the old one. (JP)

1. See also: Vol. 1, no. 2, Vol. II, nos. 1 and 2, and Vol. III, no. 2 of Flagwaver.   Cleveland Plain Dealer, August 16, 1996. From the Akron Beacon Journal, December17, 1998, January 16 and February 12, 1999; and Cleveland Plain Dealer, December 17, 1998, February 13 and April 16, 1999.

GWAV 1999

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