The Texas flag often is placed on a flagpole at the same height as the U.S. flag on its flagpole, and it’s sometimes said that Texas is the only state that can do this. The explanation given is that Texas—unlike other states—was a Republic when in entered the Union. A (licensed?) tour guide of the Texas capital city of Austin tells this on his tours.
It is an urban legend. All states can fly a state flag at the same height as the United States flag. However, if both flags are on the same flagpole, the U.S. flag code states that the United States flag must be on top.
This urban legend has been spread by word of mouth for many years, but started appearing on the internet by at least 1994 on lists such as “useless facts” and “Texas facts.”
Snopes - Urban Legends Reference Pages
Claim: Federal law allows only the Texas state flag to be flown at the same height as the U.S. national flag.
Wikipedia: Flag of Texas
The flag of Texas is defined by law as follows:
“The state flag consists of a rectangle with a width to length ratio of two to three containing: (1) a blue vertical stripe one-third the entire length of the flag wide, and two equal horizontal stripes, the upper stripe white, the lower red, each two-thirds the entire length of the flag long; and (2) a white, regular five-pointed star in the center of the blue stripe, oriented so that one point faces upward, and of such a size that the diameter of a circle passing through the five points of the star is equal to three-fourths the width of the blue stripe. The red and blue of the state flag are the same colors used in the United States flag. ”
The flag is known as the “Lone Star Flag” (giving Texas its nickname of the “Lone Star State"). This flag was introduced to the Congress of the Republic of Texas on December 28, 1838, by Senator William H. Wharton. It was adopted on January 24, 1839 as the final national flag of the Republic of Texas.
When Texas became the 28th state of the Union on December 29, 1845, its national flag became the state flag. Texas law assigns the following symbolism to the colors of the Texas flag: blue stands for loyalty, white for purity, and red for bravery. The official Pantone shades for the Texas flag are 193 (red) and 281 (dark blue).
It is a common urban legend that the Texas flag is the only state flag that is allowed to fly at the same height as the U.S. flag. Allegedly, Texas has this right inherently (as a former independent nation) or because it negotiated special provisions when it joined the Union (this version has been stated as fact on a PBS website). However, the legend is false. Neither the Joint Resolution for Annexing Texas to the United States nor the Ordinance of Annexation contain any provisions regarding flags. According to the United States Flag Code, any state flag can be flown at the same height as the U.S. flag; the U.S. flag should be on its right (the viewer’s left), however. Consistent with the U.S. Flag Code, the Texas Flag Code specifies that the state flag should either be flown below the U.S. flag if on the same pole or at the same height as the U.S. flag if on separate poles.
At some Texas Army National Guard armories, only the Texas flag flies on the flagpole during the day.
Google Groups: soc.history.moderated
From: Michael Kalen Smith
Date: 22 Mar 1994 18:10:19 GMT
Local: Tues, Mar 22 1994 2:10 pm
Subject: Re: Texas
>>: When Texas was admitted to the union, my grandmother insists, certain
>>: concessions were made to the then independent Republic in return for
>>: sovereignty. These included the right to fly the Texas flag on the same
>>: level as the Stars and Stripes,
>I believe that such things are a matter of custom, not law. If Texas wanted
>to break custom and do such a thing, they’re free to do so anyway. Do they
>fly it that way in Texas?
According to standard flag ettiquette, you can ALWAYS fly another flag at the same height as the U.S. flag ... as long as the U.S. flag has place of honor, to the ‘right’ of all the others (the “flag’s own right,” if that makes sense to you). Looking out the window of my office, I see three flagpoles, all the same height, in front of the Dallas City Hall: U.S. flag, Texas flag, Dallas city flag, right-to-left. It’s very common....
Google Groups: rec.humor
From: (John C. Sponheimer)
Date: 7 Sep 94 10:55:49 CST
Local: Wed, Sep 7 1994 12:55 pm
Subject: The List of Useless Facts!
10) The Texas flag is the only flag that can be flown at the same height as the United States Flag.
Google Groups: alt.folklore.urban
From: (Jason Brian Chapa)
Subject: Re: Texas secession UL
>> (Did you know that Texas is the only state with the right to
>> secession *in their state constitution*?)
I remember hearing this in history class in grade school: Texas flag is the only flag that can fly at the same height as the US flag. Is this true or UL material?
Google Groups: tx.politics
From: Joe White
Subject: Flying Texas, US flags at same height: Citation?
Growing up, I was told that since Texas had been an independent nation that was annexed, the Texas flag was flown at the same height as the US flag. However, I have never been able to track down where it says this in law. Can anyone point me towards a citation for this, or general Texas flag etiquette? Thanks!
Google Groups: soc.support.depression.manic
Newsgroups: soc.support.depression.manic, alt.support.depression.manic
From: (James D. Milton)
Subject: Hypomanic Humor?—from James
27. Texas is the only state that is allowed to fly its state flag at the same height as the U.S. flag.
Google Groups: rec.sport.soccer
From: (Dustin Christmann)
Subject: Re: To all the fake posters
I can explain to you exactly why Texas != “The South” or vice versa, can tell you what the “secret ingredient” in Dr. Pepper is, can tell you which nations’ six flags have flown over Texas, and can tell you why it’s proper for the Texas flag to fly at the same height as the American flag.
Google Groups: misc.transport.road
From: (Exile on Market Street)
Subject: Re: State Flags (Re: NY Plates...)
> > > More useless trivia: The Texas flag is the only one allowed to fly at
> > > the same height as the U.S. flag because of the fact that it was once a
> > > republic.
> First, I think the bit about the Texas flag is an urban legend.
I’m sure it is. I regularly pass a site with three flagpoles of equal height, flying, from left to right, the city, Commonwealth and U.S. flags.
I believe that the only rules governing the placement of the U.S. flag relative to others are:
-- if all flags are flying on the same flagpole, the US flag flies highest;
-- if flags are flying each on its own pole, the US flag occupies the rightmost pole (usually relative to the street or “exterior” view);
-- if flags are mounted on their own poles on a stage, dais or podium, the US flag is placed stage right or on the dais’/podium’s right side (wrt the speaker);
-- if a US flag is mounted as a backdrop on a wall or curtain behind a podium, the union is placed on the speaker’s right side.
Google Groups: tx.guns
From: (Kevin Craig)
Subject: Re: Flying the Texas Flag
> And TEXAS IS THE ONLY STATE which
> can legally fly its flag at EQUAL height
> to the US flag.
Cite, please? U.S. Code, or AR?
The flag etiquette taught in the U.S. Army is that no flag may be flown in a position of prominence greater than the flag of the U.S. “Position of prominence” means higher than, *or* to the right of or in front of, the U.S. Flag.
If other flags are at the same height, the U.S. Flag must be the rightmost. The allowance for other flags being at the same height pretty much shoots down the idea that no state flag may be flown at the same height as the U.S. Flag.
Google Groups: austin.general
Newsgroups: austin.general, austin.politics, houston.general, houston.politics, ny.politics
Date: Thu, 24 Jun 2004 18:22:30 GMT
Local: Thurs, Jun 24 2004 2:22 pm
Subject: Re: Texas Facts
Texas is the only state to enter the US by treaty, instead of by annexation. This allows the Texas flag to fly at the same height as the US flag.
Drinking From My Saucer
February 09, 2006
God Bless Texas
By federal law, Texas is the only state in the U.S. that can fly its flag at the same height as the U.S. flag. Think about that for a second. You fly the Stars and Stripes at 20 feet in Maryland, California, or Maine and your state flag, whatever it is, goes at 17 feet. You fly the Stars and Stripes in front of Pine Tree High in Longview or anyplace else at 20 feet, the Lone Star flies at the same height - 20 feet. Do you know why? Because it is the only state that was a republic before it became a state.
The Daily Flag
Myth Busting and the Texas Flag
Jan 15th, 2008 by Larry Hendrick
Every month I find another website that quotes a list of facts about Texas. Most of the time they quote the same “facts” about Texas picked up from other websites, because the lists are always similar. This morning, I was rummaging through my news reader and found this article, Texas Facts, with a list of twenty-two facts, including number 14.
14. Texas is the only state to enter the U.S. by TREATY, (known as the Constitution of 1845 by the Republic of Texas to enter the Union) instead of by annexation. This allows the Texas Flag to fly at the same height as the U.S. Flag, and Texas may divide into 5 states.
Having read and heard these two facts quoted for years, I decided to go to the source and see whether they were true or not. The short answer is, one is true and the other is not.
U.S. Flag Code
Frequently, the Texas flag/U.S. flag fact says Texas is the only state that can fly their flag equal in height to the American flag, which is not accurate according to the U.S. Flag Code.
The U.S. Flag Code allows all states to fly their flags at the same height as the U.S. flag according to Section 7 (f).
(f) When flags of States, cities, or localities, or pennants of societies are flown on the same halyard with the flag of the United States, the latter should always be at the peak. When the flags are flown from adjacent staffs, the flag of the United States should be hoisted first and lowered last. No such flag or pennant may be placed above the flag of the United States or to the United States flag’s right.
You’ll notice the bold text, no flag can fly above the U.S. flag, but all state flags can fly the same height if they are on adjacent poles of equal height. There are other sections of the Flag Code that address other situations with flags, but none contradict this section.
Even though the U.S. Flag Code wasn’t passed by Congress until 1942, it was codified in 1923 by the National Flag Conference, which met in Washington D.C. for that purpose. The final Flag Code was a composite of the various State Desecration flag laws in existence as early as 1897, meaning, flying a state flag at the same height as the U.S. flag was not a new concept in 1845.
Texas (Lone Star State Dictionary) • (2) Comments • Sunday, April 27, 2008 • Permalink
Great information on the site. Here is a site that actually has the US flag Code on how to properly display the American flag. No second hand information here!
I work for LSG Sky Chefs a catering company at DFW
Airport. They are owned by a German company that is visiting us. So they removed the Texas flag and put a German flag in its place. there are three flags in front of the building left to right German, American,and a company logo flag all the same level, is this proper?