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Tuesday, September 27, 2022


There is a nice present Gov. Turnbull could give the people for the millennium. Won't cost that much money, either.
The Virgin Islands needs a new flag.
Let's face it, the current model — the first official flag of this territory — just doesn't make it. It's too militaristic. There's too much of the United States in it. And it doesn't tell what the Virgin Islands is all about.
The governor should appoint a small commission to design a new flag. Run the winning design past the Legislature, see how many senators salute it. If enough do salute it, and the governor approves it, the territory has a new flag. Could be done in time to hoist the new banner over Government House next Jan. 1.
A little history is in order here.
The current flag was adopted in 1921. It was designed by a U.S. Navy sailor, a yeoman. His boss, an admiral who also was the governor of the Virgin Islands at the time, liked the yeoman's design and ordered it into use as the official flag of this territory.
Given that background, is it any wonder that the flag is dominated by that fierce symbol of American might, the great bald eagle? On the eagle's breast is the red, white and blue shield of the United States.
When was the last time you saw a bald eagle, or any eagle for that matter, in the Virgin Islands? (We're not advocating the use of an iguana or mongoose in the new flag.)
The eagle is clutching in one talon three green arrows. What's he going to do, hurl them at the enemies of the Virgin Islands? Incidentally, the three arrows represent the three main islands of the territory. Arrows depicting St. Thomas, St. Croix and St. John?
The Virgin Islands can do a lot better than this. One attempt was made in the early 1950s. There was a commission, whose membership included J. Antonio Jarvis. The commission's design for a new flag was too complicated to be described here. It did contain a "modified" Danish flag at the bottom.
The bill authorizing this flag was vetoed in 1956 by Gov. Walter Gordon on the rather specious grounds it was illegal to incorporate the Denmark flag without getting permission from Copenhagen.
From that point forward, the matter languished, despite occasional efforts to revive the issue.
The millennium is just 10 months away. (Disregard those purists who insist it's one year and 10 months away; sensible people have concluded that if you change the first digit in the year from a 1 to a 2, it must be the millennium.)
So this is a fine time to change the flag into something more meaningful. But what?
Although the eagle must go, there should be something in the new flag that says America. But, most of all, the flag should portray in some way the heritage of Virgin Islanders — mainly African, but also Hispanic, French, Danish and the other islands of the Caribbean.
We're no flag designer. But tell you what. Write down your ideas, maybe draw a rough sketch, and send them to The Source.
E-mail us at source@viaccess.net.
FAX us at (340)777-8136
Write us at P. O. Box 505, St. Thomas 00804
We may publish your idea. And we promise that all ideas will get to the right people — if the governor acts favorably on our proposal to appoint a commission.
Editor's note: Frank J. Jordan is a local radio commentator, former UVI journalism professor, and former NBC news executive.

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