By Hne D. Appleton (MICAT Tourism Bureau)
The Liberian National Ensign, the Lone Star, which was triumphantly hoisted on its birth on August 24, 1847, one month after the country’s independence on July 26, 1847, has shown that the continuing flying of the Lone Star with its morale not yet quenched, is attributed to the courage exhibited by the Liberian people in stopping the Lone Star from falling on the ground, in the midst of political challenges, when the flag was crumbling during the country’s turbulent political odds in the 1970s, 1980s and the 1990s, including up to the early 2000s.
On August 24, which is a National Holiday, the Lone Star was seen flown publicly, not only at dwelling places, business houses, vehicles, motor bikes, tricycles and on government buildings, but also scores of high school students paraded with the country’s military marching band on the principal streets of Monrovia with each student holding the Lone Star, in commemoration of the 175th anniversary of the National emblem, amid thunderous applause from onlookers who were lined up on sidewalks as they watched the flag day’s parade with amusement.
It is no secret to note that, the almost two centuries existence of the Lone Star, clearly signifies that it still stands for a one Liberia, despite the prolonged insurrection by various warring factions that tended to threaten its political non alliances status.
Significantly, the Lone Star is the embodiment of Liberia’s passionate history, and it particularly represent the unifying instrument that honors the birth of Africa’s first independent country, by the building of Liberia’s political state as far back in the 1800s by repatriated Africans from the USA along with the local indigenous.
Down Memory Lane
Historically, the legislative enactment that declared August 24 every year as a National Holiday was proclaimed October 24, 1915 during the administration of President Daniel E. Howard.
Succinctly, there used to be a first Liberian flag before the designing of the Lone Star, and this suggest to mean that the Present Liberian flag is the country’s second National ensign, while the first was in used between 1827 until up to early 1847.
Unlike the Lone Star which has eleven stripes, comprising six red and five white, with a white star inside a blue field on the left hand corner; the first Liberian flag had thirteen stripes, comprising seven red, six white, and a blue field with a white cross, according to Professor Joseph Saye Guannu.
Basically, the Lone Star is an embodiment of Pan Africanism, especially in reference to the flag’s symbols; the single star that is situated inside a blue field on the upper left corner, stands for Liberia as the only independent country on the African continent during colonialism; the red symbolizes the blood that was shared when Africans were struggling for independence from colonialism; the white indicates the purity of mind of African ancestors who died while championing the sovereignty of the continent, and the blue field is a symbol of Africa natural vegetation.
The Lone Star was designed and hand-stitched by a committee of seven women with Susannah Elizabeth Lewis serving as chair. The other committee members were Matilda Newport, Rachel Johnson, Mary Hunter, and Mrs. J.B. Russwurms. The rest were Colonette Teage Ellis and Sara Draper.