Your editorial (“Our View: Dunlap leaves fans of 1901 flag hanging,” May 28) is spot on. The secretary of state, Matt Dunlap, apparently has chosen as our bicentennial flag a gussied-up, almost unrecognizable version of the beautiful, simple 1901 official state flag. His decision was based on a survey that included only the winner and two equally awful choices. The winning flag is downright ugly. Few will be likely to fork over any money to buy one.

Across the nation, states and cities are adopting new flags to demonstrate pride in their communities. They follow the tenets of a good flag: simple, no more than three colors, meaningful, recognizable from a distance and simple enough for a child to reproduce. In Maine, we didn’t have to design a new flag. We already had the perfect design; the 1901 flag meets all these criteria.

Why wasn’t it included in the survey? Secretary of State Dunlap concluded that this had been rejected by the Legislature. I heard something else. While the committee rejected the proposal in my bill to replace the busy 1919 current flag with the 1901 flag, they authorized him to select a new bicentennial flag. In the end, the secretary of state punted his discretion and ignored all the comments from lovers of the 1901 flag.

The secretary of state can and should rethink his choice. The 1901 flag is already flying from homes and businesses, favored because it is a stunning symbol of Maine, and a recognizable brand to enhance Maine’s attraction. Flag makers across Maine (including in Portland and Skowhegan) say they can barely keep up with demand.

If that flag is not to be the official bicentennial flag, I urge Mainers to make it the unofficial choice. Buy one and fly it with pride and add to the beauty of all that is Maine.

Janice Cooper

Democratic state representative


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