There is an interesting historical account behind the Alabama state flag which has flown over Dixie land for approximately 121 years since it was hoisted. But before 1891, the year in which the current Alabama state flag was hoisted, there had been a considerable quest by the people of Alabama to have their own state flag, ever since Alabama seceded from the United Stated Union.
The first attempt to have their flag was in 1861, the year Alabama had left the union, and the flag was christened Republic of Alabama Flag’. It was designed by a group of women from Montgomery with the assistance of an artist named Francis Corra who made the final touches.
The flag after being polished, employed heavy use of symbolism. On one side, was drawn the “Goddess of Liberty” pointing down a unsheathed sword on her right hand, while on the left hand she was raising up another small blue flag, with a single golden star on the bottom middle. On the upper part was emblazoned the words “Independent Now and Forever.” On the other side of the flag was the image of the rich Alabama cotton plant in ripe season, with a coiled snake in the middle, and below it was written the words in Latin “Noli Me Tangere” which means ‘touch me not’. But despite all the efforts in designing this flag, it lasted only one month before it was severely destroyed by a terse storm. It was moved to the Governor’s office, and it was never displayed again.
Between March 4, 1861, and April 1865 one of the two Confederate flags of the United States flew over Alabama after much lobbying by the distraught citizens under the flags of the Confederate States. After that brief war between Unionists and secessionists, the flag of the United States flew over Alabama until 1891.
The second and the current flag was commissioned on February 16, 1895, after a legislative motion introduced by John W. A. Sanford (Act 383). In accordance with the Act, the entire outline of the flag was a red St Andrew’s cross over a white field. The length of each of the bars forming the cross was to be six inches or more, and extended to both the diagonal ends of the white sheet. The St Andrew’s cross, also referred as the ‘saltier’ or ‘Crux Decussta’ is a crimson, X shape which stands in the middle of the white, making up the flag. In the Bible, Andrew the martyr, who was Peter’s brother had been crucified in such a cross to show respect to Jesus. He considered himself not worthy to be nailed to the standard cross like his master, and was hence tied upside down on that cross and had to suffer longer before he died.
The St Andrew’s flag now flies proudly over the heart of Dixie during all official court sessions, and it is permanently displayed on the Capital dome when the legislature’s two houses are in motion. Although sometimes, the national flag may be displayed alone, or concurrently with the Alabama State Flag, upon the advisory of the Governor. The flag is also hoisted in all public schools.