By Michael Cousineau
Union Leader Staff
"What it does is it emphasizes New Hampshire's early historical existence and what the state was when it started," said Robert Kelsey Jr., a registered investment adviser from New London.
The design by Frank Pastore resembles the existing flag except the gold wreath of leaves and stars is replace with nine white stars in a arc around the top of the state seal. The state motto, " Live Free or Die," is added on a ribbon below the seal.
"When you see the (current New Hampshire) flag displayed with the flags of the 50 other states, I defy you to pick it out," he said.
Kelsey and former State Rep. Bill Kidder of New London convinced Rep. Alf Jacobson, R-New London, to introduce a bill in the Legislature to change the flag. "We think it's a non-controversial thing," Kelsey said. "There will be some people who don't want any change."
Kelsey pointed out the historical points of the proposed flag. "It ties the significance of New Hampshire into the 50 states. We're the ninth state to ratify the Constitution. We're the ninth state, so there are nine stars on a field of blue," Kelsey said.
"Live Free or Die," the state motto adopted in 1969, reflects the exhortation from Gen. John Stark at the Battle of Bennington during the Revolutionary War, he said. The ship in the seal "emphasizes the state's early connection with the seashore," Kelsey said.
Back in 1978, the New Hampshire Sunday News and The Union Leader conducted a "just for fun" state flag contest. Several hundred people offered suggestions. The winning entry, submitted by Melvin Whitcomb Jr, of Concord, bore resemblance to the newest proposal.
Whitcomb's entry also had nine stars around the state seal and the "live Free or Die" motto. His seal, however, featured the Old Man of the Mountain. Of 195 votes, Whitcomb's design beat out seven other finalists, earning 77 votes and a $25 prize.
Article submitted by Ken Chaput.
To the New England Journal of Vexillology page.