Many people don’t pay any mind to the labeled piece of cloth flying in front of their municipal buildings, and I can’t blame them. Most cities, even many states, say very little with their flags. A white banner with the words “College Station'' doesn't invoke much feeling — at best it can serve as an indicator of how lost you are. If you asked College Station residents to describe our flag, I wonder how many would answer, “What flag?” Wouldn’t a new flag — with meaning, identity and style — better represent the people of College Station? Wyatt Galbreath, a College Station High School junior, has proposed a solution. Galbreath met with Mayor Mooney and the city council to offer a flag he designed to commemorate College Station’s new city hall, which is currently under construction.
Galbreath’s flag is not only well-designed, but it also holds symbolic meaning for College Station with its use of color. On Galbreath’s flag, the blue represents College Station’s perseverance, gold stands for prosperity, white for unity and maroon symbolizes valor and Texas A&M. The flag’s two golden stars represent the bonds between A&M and the community of College Station, which Galbreath believes are “very strong and essential.” The fact that this flag was made by a College Station resident who truly values their community only makes its design more significant.
When asked about the social importance of flags, Galbreath said flags give us a symbol for where we live.
“I believe that a new flag for not just College Station is a great way to represent ourselves in a new way, where we can have a single symbol that we can all look at and say, ‘That’s my home,’” Galbreath said. “If my flag gets adopted, I know that everyone that sees it will admire it and see how we’re all a part of a great community.”
I agree with Galbreath. His flag puts a new face on College Station - one that inspires pride and recognition across Texas.
Galbreath’s passion for meeting people and learning about the histories of different nations has fueled his interest in flag-design. He became interested in vexillology — a fun-sounding word for the study of flags — after attending a Texas Scottish festival and seeing the Union Jack when he was 10 years old. He eventually established College Station High School’s Vexillology and Heraldic Club and designed his school’s marching band flag. Galbreath said the support of his club, friends, family and teachers has been vital in encouraging his passion.
Municipal flags in America have a reputation for being uninspired. I don’t think we should resign ourselves to this judgment. Innovative and creative endeavors like Galbreath’s should be encouraged. If there was a Wyatt Galbreath in every city, our public spaces could be unique and have much more character than those sporting the generic white background and simple lettering.
Another important fact Galbreath mentions is the representative and unifying power flags have.
“Flags represent anywhere from a few hundred people to billions, and I think that College Station could benefit in many ways with a new flag,” Galbreath said. “We could have something that we can fly over our new town hall, our businesses, schools, houses, everything.”
Cities like Chicago and Washington D.C. have been able to use their unique city flags as a symbol of their community’s spirit. If you go to these places, you’ll see their flags plastered everywhere, ranging from coffee mugs in gift shops to ink on people’s bodies. Both College Station and A&M could only benefit from adopting an iconic flag.
The North American Vexillological Association has ranked American cities by their flags. Overall, Texas didn’t do as well as it could have. Our highest-ranking flag was from Corpus Christi at 10th place. If College Station adopts Galbreath’s flag, we’d be a shoo-in for the best-looking municipal flag in Texas and even a top contender for the United States.
A flag can inspire awe and pride or be so embarrassing you’d rather just forget it. College Station’s choice should be clear. Galbreath’s flag gives us an opportunity to truly represent this city’s great community with an equally inspiring banner. Though the issue of a new flag has not yet been brought to a vote, I urge Karl Mooney, the city council and you, my dear Batt readers, to do the right thing and guarantee that when the time comes we have a flag worthy of flying in front of our new city hall.
Zachary Freeman is an anthropology junior and opinion writer for The Battalion