“Honor the Texas flag; I pledge allegiance to thee, Texas, one state under God, one and indivisible.”
Children across our state recite this pledge at the start of every school day. Placing their right hands over their hearts, they take a moment to pause and appreciate the independent spirit of our beloved Lone Star State.
Many identify this famous moniker with the Texas flag, which proudly bears a single white star. But the story of our flag’s design and unusual history deserves to be shared, especially as we prepare to celebrate its 183rd anniversary on January 25th.
In 1839, the Republic of Texas adopted the bold flag as a symbol of our fierce independence. Each color represents a staple characteristic of our state: red for bravery, white for purity, and blue for loyalty. The red and white stripe resemble the flag of the Republic of Fredonia, a short-lived Republic near modern-day Nacogdoches that seceded from Mexico in the 1820s. The famous single star represents all Texans standing together for God, state, and country.
Before our current flag cemented its place in history, two others shared some time in the spotlight, though both were eventually removed. Stephen F. Austin and Lorenzo de Zavala created their own ideas for the Texas flag, but neither of these ideas was formally adopted. In 1839, the national flag was approved, marking the official beginning of our state’s present-day flag.
While the original mastermind of our beloved flag is still unknown, some speculate the creator of the Lone Star flag may have been Montgomery County resident and former representative in the Texas Congress, Charles B. Stewart. It is said his sketches looked suspiciously similar to those of Peter Krag’s design, which would ultimately become the flag we know and love today. Stewart’s drawings even included an interesting detail from some of Krag’s previous artwork – an upside-down copy of Republic of Texas President Mirabeau Lamar’s signature.
After the legislation to make the flag the official symbol of the Republic of Texas introduced in 1838, it wasn’t long before Texas joined the Union in 1845 and brought our beloved flag with us. From 1879 to 1933, Texas was technically “flagless” due to a state civil statutes revision which did not renew the flag code but in 1933 the Texas Flag Code was enacted, finally codifying our state flag.
Today, the Texas flag serves as one of only two state flags that have doubled as a national flag – the other being Hawaii.
While six flags have flown over Texas, the one we know and love today has withstood the test of time. Whenever we catch a glimpse of the Lone Star flag billowing in the wind, let’s take a moment to thank our lucky stars for that unwavering symbol of freedom.