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05/01/2019A Flag of Family Heritage & Reconciliation

A Flag of Family Heritage & Reconciliation

How this flag came to be Maryland’s official state flag is a fascinating story involving family heritage and “brother fighting brother.”

George Calvert, the first Lord Baltimore 1580-1632 was knighted by King James I of England in 1625. For his family crest, Calvert chose his father’s family colors, black and gold, and the bold heraldic imagery of a sword-bearing sash crossing palisades to show he had battled faithfully for his king. He also chose the red and white cross bottony of his mother’s Crossland family design. The trefoil buttons are symbolic of the Trinity, and the cross’s four arms are symbolic of the four Gospels going to the four corners of the earth. Quartered to show his own family heritage, Calvert’s crest gives honor to his bravery in battle and his Christian faith. However, his family crest was never a flag until after…

The American Civil War, Maryland raised regiments for both sides. Distinguishing colors and flags emerged: black and gold “Baltimore” colors for the North and red and white “Secessionist colors for the South. As a border state Maryland truly saw “brother fighting brother”.

Post War Reconciliation After the war, the challenge and need for reconciliation was immense. War veterans started using the old Calvert crest as the basis for a new Maryland flag, a flag that illustrates reconciliation with both North and South reunited again.. This resonated with the people of Maryland. Eventually, it was officially adopted by the legislature in 1904.


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