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Letter to the Editor: Here’s the rest of the story on Joplin’s flag

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Dear editor,

I found some humor in your article referencing Joplin’s flag contest (“Nixa makes right moves in flag design contest” on the Opinion page in the Sept. 4-10 issue). There is always the rest of the story.

First of all, those interested in having a flag contest never approached the city council to discuss the issue to see if there might be an interest before announcing their contest. They announced the contest prior to going to the city council.

Not all of the downtown merchants were in favor of a change nor were they all notified about any contest.

In addition, those that had the idea were few in number and most were transplants in the city of only a few years. One organizer apologized to a city councilman and former mayor about having the contest. He was not aware that Joplin already had a city flag in the first place. All he would have had to do was look up throughout the city where they are flying.

Each of Joplin’s city ceremonial flags cost $6,000 to replace. This does not include the costs of the flags flying throughout the city. I doubt if this group was looking to pay for the changeover.

As I pointed out to council in my presentation, Joplin had no flag at one time. It was brought to the attention of Donald Clark, a former mayor and longstanding city councilman, by an individual who traveled and saw city flags flying in other communities. Clark designed the flag with the aid of a professor from the college and a female citizen. The flag has the Missouri state seal located on it with the words “Joplin” across the front. It has a small white star located in the lower left corner signifying Joplin’s location in southwest Missouri. Written in Latin is a description of the hardiness of the people of Joplin.

Now, let’s look at the flag that was designed from the contest. It was all white with a blue star in the middle. It looks like a Dallas Cowboys football flag.

You mention that a group on Facebook was opposed to any change in the flag design. That is true. But it’s also true surveys from the newspaper and electronic media outlets asked questions in the form of a public survey what they thought. The results were almost 100-to-1 to leave the flag as it is from all surveys.

Frankly, Joplin doesn’t care what cities in Oregon, South Carolina or Minnesota are doing with their flags. That is a local issue. I am also sure that the citizens of Joplin have more to do than care about vexillologists one way or the other.

So, Eric, this is the rest of the story.

—Richard Russell, of Joplin


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