Flag Of West Virginia: History And Symbolism

The flag of West Virginia is a representation of the state’s heritage and significance. With a straightforward and expressive design, the flag carries several symbolic meanings. In this article, we’ll delve into the history and significance of the West Virginia flag.

The Story Behind the West Virginia Flag

West Virginia, the 35th state of the United States, has a unique and fascinating history behind its flag. The design of the flag was adopted in 1929, but it took 66 years after the state was founded to finalize the design. The flag’s creator, Joseph H. Diss Debar, was an artist and member of the West Virginia House of Delegates. His design was selected from among many other submissions, and it has been the official state flag ever since.

The West Virginia flag is a beautiful representation of the state’s rich history and natural beauty. The white background represents purity, while the blue border stands for the Union during the Civil War. The stone in the center of the flag represents the state’s abundant natural resources, particularly its coal mines. The two men standing beside the stone represent agriculture and industry, which are the two mainstays of the state’s economy. The red ribbon above the stone reads “State of West Virginia,” and the red ribbon below it reads “Montani Semper Liberi,” which means “Mountaineers Are Always Free.”

The flag was first flown on June 20, 1927, at the inauguration of Governor William G. Conley. Since then, it has flown proudly over the state’s capital, Charleston, and in many other places throughout the state. The West Virginia flag is a symbol of the state’s rich history, natural beauty, and enduring spirit of freedom. It serves as a reminder to all who see it of the proud heritage and strong character of the people of West Virginia.

The Symbolism Behind the West Virginia Flag

Have you ever wondered what the symbols on the West Virginia flag represent? Let’s take a closer look at the meaning behind each element.

The white field on the flag represents purity, which is a nod to the state’s nickname, “the Mountain State.” The blue border around the flag represents West Virginia’s natural resources, particularly its rivers. The two men on the flag represent the state’s two most important industries, farmers and miners. These industries have been the backbone of West Virginia’s economy for many years.

But what about the rock in the center of the flag? This is perhaps the most important symbol on the flag. The rock represents West Virginia’s state motto, “Montani Semper Liberi” which means “Mountaineers are always free.” The people of West Virginia are proud of their independence and their ability to stand on their own two feet. This motto reflects the state’s commitment to freedom and individuality.

In conclusion, the West Virginia flag is filled with symbolism that reflects the state’s history, economy, and values. Whether you’re a proud West Virginian or just curious about the state’s culture, the flag is a great symbol to explore.

Discovering the West Virginia Flag

If you’ve ever seen the West Virginia flag, then you know that it’s a unique design unlike any other state flag. The official flag features a white background with a blue border, and in the center of the flag is the state seal. The seal is surrounded by a wreath made of rhododendron, which is the state flower. Underneath the seal is a red ribbon that reads “State of West Virginia,” and above the seal is a red ribbon that reads “Montani Semper Liberi,” which is the state motto.

The Colors of the West Virginia Flag

The colors on the West Virginia flag have a significant meaning. The white background represents purity, while the blue border symbolizes the Union. The rhododendron wreath is a nod to the state flower, and the color red represents bravery, courage, and hardiness.

The State Motto

“Montani Semper Liberi” is the state motto of West Virginia, which means “Mountaineers are Always Free.” The motto is a reference to the state’s rugged terrain and the independent spirit of its people. West Virginia was created during the Civil War when the western counties of Virginia broke away to form a new state. The motto reflects the state’s desire for freedom and independence.

The Designer of the West Virginia Flag

The West Virginia flag was designed by Joseph H. Diss Debar, an artist and Civil War veteran from Doddridge County, West Virginia. Diss Debar won a contest to design the new state flag in 1904. His design was chosen because of its unique design and the inclusion of the state’s official seal. Diss Debar’s flag design has remained unchanged for over a century and has become a symbol of West Virginia’s proud history and independent spirit.

The Meaning Behind West Virginia’s State Motto

West Virginia has a rich history and a unique culture that is reflected in its state motto, “Montani Semper Liberi,” which translates to “Mountaineers are always free.” This motto was chosen in 1863, which was the same year West Virginia became a state. The motto reflects the state’s history of independence and self-reliance, which is deeply rooted in the state’s culture.

The state’s nickname, “The Mountain State,” perfectly reflects the rugged terrain and natural beauty of the region. With its rolling hills, dense forests, and breathtaking mountain ranges, it’s no wonder that Mountaineers feel a deep connection to their land. The state motto, “Montani Semper Liberi,” is a testament to this connection and the strong sense of independence that is deeply ingrained in the state’s culture.

West Virginia has a long and proud history of fighting for its freedom and independence. During the Civil War, the state was divided over the issue of slavery, and ultimately decided to break away from Virginia and form its own state. This decision was made in large part because of the state’s commitment to freedom and independence.

In conclusion, West Virginia’s state motto, “Montani Semper Liberi,” reflects the state’s culture of independence and self-reliance. The motto serves as a reminder of the state’s proud history and its commitment to freedom and individual rights. So the next time you visit West Virginia, take a moment to appreciate the beautiful scenery and the rich history of this unique and special state.

Fun Facts About the West Virginia Flag

The West Virginia flag is one of the most unique state flags in the United States. It features two human figures holding a banner that reads “State of West Virginia” against a blue background. Here are some interesting facts about the West Virginia flag that you may not know:

First State Flag with Two Human Figures

The West Virginia flag was the first state flag to feature not one, but two human figures. The two figures on the flag represent the state’s motto, “Mountaineers are Always Free.” The man on the left is a farmer, symbolizing agriculture, and the man on the right is a miner, symbolizing industry.

Ranked 53rd out of 72 State Flags

In a 2001 survey conducted by the North American Vexillological Association, the West Virginia flag was ranked 53rd out of 72 state flags. The survey is conducted every few years and ranks state flags based on their design, color, and symbolism. While the West Virginia flag may not be the most popular among vexillologists, it is still beloved by West Virginians.

Exact Shades of Blue and Gold

In 1962, the West Virginia state legislature passed a law specifying the exact shades of blue and gold to be used on the flag. The blue is called “old glory blue” and is the same shade as the blue in the American flag. The gold is called “old gold” and is a darker shade than most other state flags. This attention to detail shows just how much pride West Virginians have in their flag.

In conclusion, the West Virginia flag is a unique and beloved symbol of the Mountain State. Its two human figures and attention to detail make it stand out among other state flags, and its rich history and symbolism make it an important part of West Virginia’s identity.


In conclusion, the West Virginia flag is a beautiful representation of the state’s rich heritage and the resilience of its people. Its simple design and meaningful symbols make it a source of pride for West Virginians everywhere. Whether you’re a farmer, a miner, or just a lover of the Mountain State, the West Virginia flag is sure to inspire feelings of unity and community. So next time you see it waving proudly in the breeze, take a moment to appreciate all that it represents.

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