Flags, Flags, Flags. Yeah, we all have them, but why are national flags so important to us? Scenes of Reason went and decoded it. Here are 6 things we found out.
Flags make you look patriotic. The bigger they are, the more important you and your country look. That’s the intended effect, anyway.
Flags were used as a method of claiming land for your country. When America became the first country to land on the Moon, they planted an American flag as a symbol of American power.
In tough times and in wartime, national flags are often used as a beacon of hope, and a symbol of what the country stands for. I’m getting emotional just thinking about it.
Historically, flags were used in battle to keep track of where different armies were on the battlefield. Generals would use flags to work out where their regiments were.
However, they also showed the enemy where you were. Making you prime target number one. Not a good plan.
In the Napoleonic Wars between Britain and France the British regiments carried flags called colours. It was considered shameful to lose your flag in battle. Enemy flags which were captured would be paraded up and down.
The Union Jack (flag of the United Kingdom of Great Britain) shows how the country has changed over the years.
First we had the Flag of England, and the Saltire, the Flag of Scotland. The first Union Flag was created to mark the bond between the two countries.
Then in 1801, two red stripes were added to mark Ireland becoming part of the union. This is the version we have today.
The Union Jack has no reference to Wales, as it was already part of England when the English Flag was created. Rhy ddrwg (Too bad).
We have flags for the European Union, the United Nations and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
An artist has even created an International Flag of Earth. And it’s pretty cool. Even if it does look a little like a nuclear warning.
Somalia used the United Nations blue colour as part of their new flag design, to show appreciation for the UN support in creating their independent state. Ain’t that nice.
There’s a mysterious relationship between Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott and the number of Australian National Flag surrounding him.
When making official announcements he started off with two or even no flags. Then it grew to four; then to six. By the time he was making speeches with eight flags the world had noticed. Some bright spark even created this helpful graph to map his flag use.
People started making the link between the number of flags and the importance of the announcement. Or was it that the number of flags was a distraction from the announcement itself? Sending troops to Iraq? Eight Flags. New changes to citizenship rules? An amazing ten flags!!
God help us if we get to a Twelve Flag Announcement.
Yeah, so they may not actually be on a pole, but it could be argued that the branded items you carry around are flags of some kind. Lots of products use the Union Jack as a design, and it’s the same in other countries. Products like an Apple laptop, a super-dry hoodie; all of these have logos on them. A lot like the national flags, the logos show that you belong to a certain group.
After the Charleston shooting, where a white man called Dylann Roof shot and killed nine black people, many have been calling for the Confederate flag to be removed from the State House in South Carolina.
The Confederate Flag was the flag used by southern general Robert E. Lee, in the American Civil War. After the war ended it was kept on as a memorial to those who died in the war. The American Civil War was caused when 11 southern states decided to leave the United States, over differences with the government led by Abraham Lincoln. One of those issues was the slavery of black people shipped to America from Africa.
The American Civil War wasn’t just about slavery, and for many the flag is seen as nothing more than a link to their past and to those who died in the war.
However, white supremacy groups like the Klu Klux Klan have hijacked the identity of the Confederate flag over the years; linking it to their causes.
The Charleston shooter Dylann Roof was photographed holding it, and now people are demanding it be removed.
New Zealand is discussing whether or not to get rid of the Union Jack, which is part of the design for their national flag. This dates back to when the United Kingdom ruled New Zealand. They are planning a referendum to decide whether or not to change the design. Good to see the important decisions are being made.