Duke Blue Devil’s 2010 Season

I am not a shy person … most people who know me – whether it is family, friends, work or even the friendly people at the local retail shops and restaurants I frequent – know I am a Duke University Women’s Basketball Fanatic and a Duke Men’s Basketball Follower … you might say I have Duke University Pride … I wave the banners proud … and speaking of banners; this year has been a BANNER Year!…

When the 2009-2010 Duke Women’s Basketball Team won the ACC Women’s Season Championship … we were there; my family and closest friends were present for the celebration at Greensboro Coliseum – sharing in the moment – embracing, cheering, so excited for this accomplishment for this team.  It was unbelievable … the Senior Players on this team have been trying to achieve this goal for so long – they did it!  We were there!!  It was a wonderful celebration… the festive balloons dropped from the ceiling … music filled the air … the happiness on everyone’s faces … the pride on the players families’ faces … after all of their names were called we watched the nets get cut down by the players, the Coaching Staff, the Team Managers, the Athletic Directors and all the supporting cast it takes to have a winning season ……

When we go back to Cameron Indoor Stadium for the upcoming season of Women’s Basketball games (November 2010), they will have the ACC Champions Banner displayed!  And we will be there.  To see the Banner … to attend with pride.…

Because we live less than 30 miles from Greensboro, NC – the ACC Women’s Basketball Tournament Games and Championship Game were more feasible to travel to than Indianapolis, IN was this year.  But whoa – we tuned in for every minute of the Men’s NCAA Tournament action leading up to the Men’s Final Four … I could not believe the way the brackets were unfolding and dismantling … teams who had not lost games all season were losing … when Kansas, the #1 overall team lost to UNI in the second round, I was thinking, “ok, this is going to come down to Kentucky and Syracuse” … but then both of those teams lost … I started to think, “hmm, is it going to be K-State and WVU?” … as much of a serious Duke fan as I am, I was not believing what I was seeing and hearing!…

Butler kept winning. Duke kept winning.…

They both kept winning … wow, the final game on April 5th, 2010 … in Indianapolis … the Duke University Blue Devils … a pretty good team, but not a Pre-Season #1, not an overall favorite in the tournament VS the Butler Bulldogs (which happens to be my Alma Mater Barton College’s mascot … Bulldogs are very special to me).  An outcome predicted by only (according to ESPN) 0.03 percent (according to ESPN) of the nearly 5 million participating brackets in the ESPN Online Bracket challenge … I did not know what to expect … every scenario I had thought about up to this point has changed … could Duke really be the 2010 National Champions?  Truly, the nation got a great basketball game in this Duke VS Butler match-up!  The final score … in regulation was 61-59.  For both teams, this was their lowest scores of the entire tournament … it was an amazing game.…

When the Duke Men’s Basketball Team returned to Cameron Indoor Stadium to their Hometown Crowd … after winning the National Title Game to Butler … the anticipation was wild.  There was a public homecoming for students, faculty, staff, and fans to attend for them to arrive from the airport.…

It was April 6th, 2010 … the parking was insane – and I didn’t mind it all!!  Pollen covered every single surface available on Duke University’s Campus … “like a banner of pollen (☺)” …  I parked far enough away from Cameron Indoor Stadium that the walk served as a time to think about what was going through the Men’s Basketball Teams’ minds at this very moment; reminiscing through the seasons success, and meditating on what I was about to attend.
When I walked into Cameron Indoor Stadium … there was a buzz like no other buzz!!  The space was beginning to reach capacity!  On the scoreboard they had the Final Championship game playing – commercial free!  The scoreboard read Duke 61 Butler 59 and the time on the clock was locked on 20:10.  I found a place to sit … where the Championship game was being broadcast they showed the caravan of buses on the screen arriving from the airport and the crowd went wild!…

Shortly thereafter “The Voice of the Blue Devils,” Bob Harris announced from the podium – here are your Two Thousand Ten NCAA Basketball National Champion Duke Blue Devils! The players wore various championship announcing shirts … Coach K spoke – such amazing stories told!  Seniors John Scheyer, Lance Thomas, and Brian Zoubek said a few words.  Then Kyle Singler and Nolan Smith spoke. … each of the speakers thanked the crowd for being there and had such great comments on their experiences … what a Championship Year … the banner which is now displayed at Cameron Indoor Stadium for the 2010 Men’s Basketball NCAA Champion Duke Blue Devils … what a beautiful banner it is!  Congratulations Duke University 2009-2010 Women’s and Men’s Basketball Teams on your wonderful accomplishments and success this season!

Family Crest Flags

Everyone has a history.  A story to tell. Your history starts with something that defines who you are as an individual and also as a family; your name.

When we are born we are given a surname, typically that of our father. Your surname is more than just a name you sign on your credit card receipts, it is who you are and where you came from. Dating as far back at the 11th century, families have created their own coat-of-arms to symbolize who they are during times of war and sport, two very important yet different moments for our ancestors but both containing one similar element; pride.  Pride in who they are as a person, a family and a country. 

Due to the growing popularity of genealogy and heraldry interest in the US, we at Flag Expressions have researched the Coat-of-Arms, commonly known as a Family Crest; How to find yours, what it means to you and how to share your heritage with others.

Terminology
Family Crest -A device placed above the shield on a coat of arms, commonly mistaken as the code-of-arms
Coat-of-Arms -An arrangement of bearings, usually depicted on and around a shield, that indicates ancestry and distinctions.
Blazon(ing) – the art of designing a coat-of-arms. An official coat of arms was created for this art form during the 13th century.
Genealogy -a chart or recorded history of the descent of a person or family from an ancestor or ancestors
Heraldry -the practice of devising, blazoning, and granting armorial insignia and of tracing and recording genealogies

Brief History
The first indications of the coat-of-arms are dated during the 11th century when a coat-of-arms was discovered on the monument of Count of Wasserburg in the church of St Emeran in Germany, dated 1010.  One of the symbols shown was the rampant lion which is one the most recognizable emblems used in family crests.  During the 12th century family crests and the code-of-arms started becoming more popular during times of great war when the individually designed crests were used to identify warriors in battle.  The insignia appearing on the crest were the reward of personal merit and were earned by the humblest of men as well as the highest in class. With heraldry largely accepted in Europe during the 13th century, the need for a code of rules and terminology for the creation of code-of-arms was put into place and a specialist in this field became known as a herald. They were consulted by monarchs and other members of high class to design a crest to represent a family, commonly presented at a marriage or at a knighting.  Crests remained dominate in our ancestors history for hundreds of years especially during knights tournaments when crests and heraldry changed from a functional art to one of decoration. By 1400 AD, bearing a coat of arms was a prerequisite for participation in a tournament and because of the importance of social standing in such events; the coat-of-arms became a symbol of noble status. Heraldry is now used as decorative art, showcasing the early symbols associated with our ancestors and forming a sense of pride with our heritage. Today they are true testimonials of bravery and heroism carried down generation to generation.

Elements of the Coat-of-Arms

Shield: The most recognized element of the code-of-arms is the shield. They will contain the colors and elements (lions, designs, etc) and are part of the official blazon but the shape of the shield varies according to geographical origin along with time period.

Crest: The crest is whatever appears above the helm. Objects commonly seen are lions; showing only the front half, human figures from the waist up, hands or arms holding weapons or bird wings.   

Helm: The helm (helmet) varied in shape in different ages and countries and always in the case of titled arms.

Motto: Family motto, if any, located at the top

Torse (Wreath): Also not part of the official blazon, the wreath usually consist of the primary color and metal twisted together and was used to hold the crest and mantling in place on the helm

Mantle/Mantling: The mantle is designed to represent a Kings or Knights cape draping over the helmet down the sides of the shield to repel the extremities of wet, cold and heat to preserve the armor from rust.

Surname: Name of the family, located at the bottom 

Parts of Family Crest

The individuality of the coat-of-arms for each family is based upon all the elements shown above and the symbols chosen to represent them.  The colors, patterns and symbols are all unique to each design and family.  There are ranges of choices with meaning representing country of origin, war accomplishments, special skills, personality traits and much more. Common symbols seen are lions, stags, birds and the fleur-de-lis.  One of the most seen code-of-arms of our time is the United States Seal

 

The eagle represents people of noble nature, strength and bravery.  With the wings displayed, it signifies protection. The olive branch and the 13 arrows in the talons of the eagle together symbolize a strong desire for peace but will always be ready for war.  The 13 arrows along with the 13 leaves and olives represent the 13 original states.  With the eagle having its head turned towards the olive branch it shows a preference for peace.  The motto is the seal means Out of Many, One.  The marking above its head, referred to as the glory, contains 13 stars as well as the shield containing 13 stripes, again representing the 13 original states. Coincidently enough, the motto, e pluribus unum, contains 13 letters.

At Flag Expressions, we offer you the chance to display your own coat-of-arms.  You can select from the popular outdoor nylon flags or a quaint garden flag.  You can either design of own coat-of-arms or work with one of our graphic artists to help you find the best way to represent your family and heritage.

The Texas State Flag History

Texas Flag

The State Flag of Texas

The state flag of Texas is probably the most popular and most sold state flag of the United States of America. Known as the “Lone Star Flag”, it was adopted on January 25th, 1839 as the national flag of the Republic of Texas. It later became the state flag of Texas on December 29, 1945 when Texas became the 28th state to join the Union. It borrow elements from many flags including the flag of Chile, flag of North Carolina and the flag of the United States of America.

History of Texas Flags

The Alamo Flag

The design currently known as the Texas state flag was one of the many flags that have flown in Texas. The state saw a large number of flags previously, most noticably during the Texas Revolution. The Texas Revolution took place between October of 1835 and April 1836. At that time, Texas was a portion of a Mexican state: Coahuila & Tejas. Americans who had been entering Texas had outnumbered the amount of Texas Mexicans and after the Mexican president began taxing these Americans and closed the borders coming into Texas, the war broke out between the Texans and the Mexican Texans. The Texans eventually won and Texas became a republic free from Mexico & the US. Some of the flags that flew in the battle are Battle of the Alamo Flag, The Texas Naval Flag, The Come and Take It Flag and the Dodson Flag. At that time, the Lone Star Flag became the official Republic of Texas flag.

DESIGN

The Texas Flag is designed with three colors: red, white and blue. According to the Texas Flag Code of 1933, the red stands for bravery, the white stands for purity, and the blue stands for loyalty. The single star represents all of Texas and the unity of “God, State and Country” – ultimately leading to the nickname of Texas, “The Lone Star State”. The blue field runs 1/3 of the length of the flag while the red and white runs the remaining 2/3. The 5 point star always has one point facing upwards and the diameter of the star is equal to 3/4 the width of the blue stripe.

Houston Texans Flag

The Texas State Flag has lent its design elements to many flags still being used today. Many of the sports teams of Texas have borrowed the star and/or color design. These are just a small sample of professional teams that have used the Texas design:

  • Dallas Cowboys: (NFL) Single Star logo
  • Houston Texans: (NFL) Single Star and red, white and blue colors
  • Dallas Stars: (NHL) Single Star logo
  • Houston Astros: (MLB) Single Star logo
  • Texas Rangers: (MLB) Single Star and red, white and blue colors
  • Houston Comets: (WNBA) Red, white and blue colors
  • San Antonio Silver Stars: (WNBA) Star logo

The Texas flag is a staple of America. Becoming one of the most recognizable flags of our nation, it stands for pride and courage. The state makes up the second largest state of America in both population and land size. Known for its cattle, crop and oil production, it has become one of the greatest contributors to American history, industry and advacement. I hope this brief history helps you have a better look at Texas and its flag. Check out our blog and our website: FlagExpressions.com for a great selection of American, State and Historical flags.

The 7 Flags of Racing (part 2)

So last week I gave you a breakdown of the 3 most used flags in NASCAR: the green flag, the yellow (caution) flag and the checkered flag. Now, we will go over some of the lesser known flags.

The White Flag

The white flag indicates to the drivers that only one lap remains in the race. It marks the beginning of the most exciting lap in motorsports! 

 

 

The Red Flag

The Red flag indicates that the track is dangerous to continue on and all cars are stopped. These cars are either escorted to the pit stalls or are stopped at a specific location on the track. Drivers and crews are not allowed to work on their cars during a red flag. Many different situations can cause red flags to be flown, including rain, debris, fires, etc.

The Black Flag

A black flag is flown when a driver or team has done something illegal and they are being penalized. In NASCAR, this flag is most often when a car has surpassed the pit row speed limit. If a part of the car is beginning to become a hazard to the rest of the drivers, such as a bumper hanging or falling off, the black flag will summon the driver into the pits to get it fixed before being allowed to continue racing.

The Blue Flag

The Blue with yellow striped flag indicates to slower traffic that faster traffic is approaching. It does not necessarily require the drivers to let the faster cars pass though, as many might believe. During races, these are usually only shown to lapped (cars that have been passed by a full lap) car, but during testing, practice and qualifying, the flag can be waved at anyone on the track.

There you have it! All 7 NASCAR flags! I hope that this helps you understand races a little more, and at the very least give you an understanding of the flags used. If you are looking for a racing flag set, please visit our site and check out the NASCAR flags!

The 7 Flags of Racing (part 1)

In honor of the newly formed NASCAR (National Association for Stock Car Racing) Hall Of Fame, I have decided to do a breakdown of all 7 flags used in the sport today. Today we will break down the 3 most important: The green flag, checkered flag and yellow flag.

Green Flag

The green flag signals the start/restart of each race. It is flown at the beginng of the race and each time the race resumes following any cautions or delays. Sometimes you may hear the term “green flag conditions” which just means the laps are not under caution or delay. The only other time a green flag is used is at the entrance of pit road. When it is flown in this manner, it indicates to the drivers that pit road is available for pit stops.

Yellow Flag

The yellow flag (caution flag) indicates to the driver that either a wreck, debris or some other situation has forced the race to come “under caution”. When this happens, speed limits are restricted and passing is not allowed. In NASCAR, a pace car will come onto the track to limit the speeds of the drivers and essentially line them up for the restart. The only time passing is allowed under caution is during pit stops; however, pit “row” has a speed limit as well.

Checkered Flag

The most recognizable flag of NASCAR and racing in general is of course: the checkered flag. This flag simply means that the race is finished. Most often this occurs when all laps are completed but can also be used in times where weather or track conditions have made it impossible to continue and the end of the race has been determined by NASCAR officials. Many times following the end of the race, the winner will drive a “victory lap” around the track holding the flag outside of the window.

You can check out our NASCAR or racing flag set to get the racing flags you need! Check back for part 2 of our NASCAR flag breakdowns!

The Arizona Chronicles, Part II

Flagstaff

Ever wonder where those Arizona folk came up with the name “Flagstaff”? To be honest, it never really crossed my mind until my uncle decided to fill me in on the story!

We had made a quick pit stop at the Crown Railroad Café in Flagstaff, AZ to fuel up on some good eats before we puttered around the Grand Canyon. (By the way, if you have never had a pancake taco, I strongly suggest you go out there and find yourself one.) In any case, it was at this time that my Uncle John decided to clue me in. First, you have to understand that quite a bit of Arizona is fairly desert-like. The most common trees in most places are Mesquite and Palo Verde, with Pinyon Pines being more common at higher elevations. Other than that, there are a whole lot of cacti and shrubs. Needless to say, wood and timber is a little thin on the ground (no pun intended) in most of Arizona. The Flagstaff area is a big exception! The trees in this mountainous region are so tall and impressive that I could not believe we were still in Arizona.

According to my Uncle John, this abundance of tall trees is where Flagstaff got its name. Flagstaff became the popular spot with people all around the area, as the place to go to get a flagpole! That’s right, at that time people used these giant wooden trees as flagpoles. Being the dedicated flag and flagpole follower that I am, I did what I do best—I worshipped at the shrine of Google. Following below is the information that I collected for you, so that you can read it all in one place instead of in twenty.

Before the Industrial Revolution flagpoles, or “flagstaffs”, were made out of wood. They were crafted by chopping down a relatively straight tree, then basically whittling it into a pole by removing the limbs and smoothing it, most commonly with an ax or sandpaper. The result was a “flagstaff”. To erect these flagpoles, the tree was simply stuck back into the ground and the flag was attached to the top of the pole. One of the major problems with these early flagpoles was the rot experienced at the base of the pole, where it met the ground and was buried. To improve the lifespan of these poles, crafters later began using animal lard to act as a sealant on the poles. Pines were a very popular tree in the construction of these wooden flagpoles, due to their slimmer, straighter growth patterns. One of the oldest standing wooden flagpoles was located in Glenwood, AZ, and was constructed using this technique. It lasted 52 years. Another wooden flagpole still stands today, in Old Town San Diego.

At the turn of the century, in the late 1800’s, the Industrial Revolution prompted the next step in the evolution of the flagpole. The advent of major machinery and the use of steel led to these same materials being used in the construction of flagpoles. The resulting pole was much more durable with a vastly increased longevity. Manufacturers were also able to increase the height of these poles in ways they had not been able to before and used multiple sections of steel to achieve these heights and to create the first sectional flagpoles. Steel is still used to today for some of the taller flagpoles, which can reach heights of 400 feet and more! In our constant push to improve products and to maintain a competitive edge, manufacturers began using aluminum, fiberglass, and later anodized aluminum to mass-produce. Fiberglass flagpoles are an innovative material as they do not corrode, rust, conduct electricity and can be produced in a wide variety of colors that range from white to yellow, red, green, blue and more.

Since its humble origin as a wooden pole in the ground, the flagpole has come pretty far in its evolution to the sleek, modern metal and fiberglass poles of today. We owe a lot to our wooden flagpoles for holding up the flags of our ancestors, but just as importantly for giving Flagstaff its unique name!

The Arizona Chronicles, Part 1

Steering the boat!

On a recent trip to Arizona with my sister, I had the chance to get over to San Diego for the first time. One of the very first things we did when we got there was to check out the famous boats in San Diego’s harbor. If you have not already been to see the San Diego Maritime Museum’s collection of boats, let me be the first to tell you: WOW. These are some big, impressive ships. The two largest ships are the Star of India, the oldest ship that still sails, and the HMS Surprise. The HMS Surprise is the actual ship that was used in the filming of the movie Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, and is a replica of the Royal Navy frigate Rose from the 18th century. Naturally, my first instinct was to think about the impressive history…of nautical flags!

The HMS Surprise flies the British Red Ensign flag at the stern (back) of the ship. The British Red Ensign flag, also called the “Red Duster”, first originated in the beginning of the 17th century with the Royal Navy, but was later used to identify British merchants. A British Ensign flag is a flag used to designate that a ship is British, and whether it is a military boat or a civilian boat. In 1674, Charles II declared that the red ensign flag was the flag that should be used by merchantmen to identify themselves and their ships. At this time, the Royal Navy was still heavily using the Red Ensign flag to identify warships of the Red Squadron, and those under independent command. In 1864, the Royal Navy decided that the use of three separate colors, including the Red Ensign flag, was too confusing and that there should be a distinction between warships and merchantmen. As a result, they decreed that the White Ensign flag would be indicative of ships in the Royal Navy service, the Blue Ensign flag would be used for ships in government service and those commanded by officers, and the Red Ensign flag would be used exclusively for merchants. The blue flag later expanded to include ships serving the British colonies and those who have obtained an admirality warrant.

The Red Ensign flag underwent a number of versions in its early life, four to be exact. Prior to 1707, two versions of the British Red Ensign flag existed: a version used by Scottish ships with a Saltire in the canton, and an English version with St. George’s cross in the canton. In 1707, under Queen Anne, a new version combining the two designs was established. The year of 1801 heralded the fourth and final version of the flag, with the Irish St. Patrick’s cross added to the design in the canton. The Ensign flag has continued to be widely used to this day, and many flags exist in blue or red, indicating various departments of the Royal Navy or at times, colonial governments. The Ensign flag was also the basis of the modern flag of many ex-colonies and territories of the British government, such as Australia and Bermuda.

All in all, it was a wonderful trip and it has inspired a lot of food for thought. I hope you have enjoyed learning about these flags as much as I enjoyed researching them!

Elizabeth