The colors and design of Missouri’s state flag have significant meaning. The colors selected for the flag represent traits including vigilance, justice, valor and purity. The state seal is also featured prominently on the flag, as well as a band containing 24 stars, which symbolize Missouri entering the U.S. as the 24th state.
The state flag of Missouri features a triband design of red, white and blue bands. The red stripes symbolize valor, and white represents purity. The blue stripe has three different meanings: vigilance, justice and permanency. The design is also a nod to the influence of France during Missouri’s earliest history. The state’s seal is located in the center of the flag and includes multiple colors including red, white, blue, gold and brown. The seal is circled by a blue band featuring 24 white stars.
The first flag of Missouri was designed in 1908 by Marie Elizabeth Watkins Oliver. She began to design the flag as part of her volunteer work with the Daughters of the American Revolution. Before designing the flag, Oliver researched state flags. Her original design featured the state’s coat of arms. Bills to adopt the design were introduced in 1909 and 1911, but failed to pass. In 1911, Oliver created another flag made of silk after her original flag was destroyed in a fire. This design was adopted in 1913. This is the design that is still used until this day.
The original silk flag has been restored and is displayed in Jefferson City’s James C. Kirkpatrick State Information Center.
Missouri’s state flag design was ranked 48 out of 72 flags across U.S. states and territories, as well as provinces in Canada, according to a 2001 survey.