Published November 23, 2007
Pennsylvanians are having an identity crisis when it comes to their state flag: Hardly anyone in the state can identify it. Now state lawmakers are considering a proposal to remedy that by literally adding the word "Pennsylvania" to the flag.
A bill under consideration calls for "Commonwealth of Pennsylvania" to be embroidered in gold around the state logo on the navy-blue flag.
State Rep. Tim Solobay, D-Washington County, proposed the idea to help people better recognize the flag as representing Pennsylvania.
"State flags are a way to celebrate our heritage and what makes us unique from other states," Solobay said in statement. "They serve as a rallying point and show our love of the place we call home."
But some Pennsylvanians are protesting the change, saying the alteration, the first in 100 years, is an affront to the Keystone State's history.
Peter Malinchock Jr., a former teacher, calls it "silly" and "outrageous" to change the flag just to help others recognize it.
"They are dumbing down the flag because they are making it easier for people to identify it," he said.
Malinchock wrote an editorial to a local newspaper to complain about the bill's attempt to change the state flag.
He says they're talking about changing the flag "just because some people who don’t know what it looks like are too lazy to take five minutes to look it up in any almanac, encyclopedia or on the Internet?
"They don’t know because they don’t care to know."
Some states, including Arkansas, Illinois, Minnesota, Oklahoma and Virginia, carry the state name on their flags.
The design of the Pennsylvania flag dates back to 1799, when it was approved by the state General Assembly. The flag was last modified in 1907 when the blue field that holds the coat of arms was changed to the same blue in the American flag.
House lawmakers passed the proposal in June by 164-31. The bill remains in a Senate committee.
The proposal would add the word "Pennsylvania" to new flags gradually. It does not require all state flags to be immediately replaced.
"I get angry at the thought of having to look at the new flag," Malinchock said. "If it isn't broke, don't fix it."