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Iowa was almost 75 years old before the state flag was adopted by the General Assembly. Creation of the state flag had been suggested for years by patriotic organizations, but no action was taken until World War I, when Iowa National Guardsmen stationed along the Mexican border suggested a state flag was needed to designate their unit. This prompted the state's Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) to design a flag in 1917. The Iowa General Assembly officially adopted the design in 1921.
Designed by Mrs. Dixie Cornell Gebhardt of Knoxville, Iowa, a member of the DAR, the state flag consists of three vertical stripes -- blue, white and red. Gebhardt explained that the blue stands for loyalty, justice and truth; the white for purity; and the red for courage. On the white center stripe is an eagle carrying in its beak blue streamers inscribed with the state motto: "Our liberties we prize, and our rights we will maintain." The word "Iowa" is in red just below the streamers.
All schools must fly the state flag on school days. The flag may also be flown on the sites of public buildings. When displayed with the United States flag, the state flag must be flown below the national emblem.