The city of Independence has its new flag for Flag Day.
On Friday, the city’s Beautification Commission revealed the winner of its contest to re-design the city flag. The winning entry, submitted by Ryan O’Rourke of Independence, is a red, white and blue flag featuring a half-wagon wheel and three stars, with “Independence, Missouri, 1827” in tiered, block lettering.
O’Rourke’s design will be submitted to the City Council for approval to replace the current flag, which was designed in 1969. That version was the winning design from a contest for school children sponsored by the Woman’s Civic Club. It has “Queen City of The Trails” in script, above an image of a wagon wheel, with “INDEPENDENCE” in red block letters at the bottom.
O’Rourke said he used the wagon wheel as part of the inspiration for his design.
“I didn’t want to copy it exactly, so I cut it in half. That allowed me to have the text below,” he said. “I think that’s what a lot of people first think of when they think of pioneers and the trails, is the wagon.”
In a press release, the commission said O’Rourke’s entry explained the symbolism of the three stars as representing the Santa Fe, California and Oregon trails and the city’s role in the westward expansion. The color scheme is a connection to the United States and Missouri flags, as well as a tribute to city native President Harry S. Truman and to a city which shares a name with the Declaration of Independence.
Cheryl Bradley, chairperson of the beautification commission, said the group received about 10 entries by its April deadline, decided on a winning design at its May 14 meeting and requested “a few small tweaks” by the artist. The commission approved the final design at its meeting Wednesday.
“The artist was very thoughtful in the design, which is symbolic of our city’s rich history,” Bradley said.
O’Rourke said the only changes he had to make were enlarging everything a little and adding a the blue border.
The 41-year-old, who graduated from Blue Springs High School in 1991 and has been in Independence resident since 1997, said he simply likes to enter contests such as this one.
“I did the ‘name the hockey team’ one for the Mavericks, but I didn’t win that,” he said. “I thought, ‘Hey, why not.’ I like to be creative.”