Stars and stripes and sky blue

NUHS’ flag game amid statewide changes
The old Minnesota flag in the office
The “old” Minnesota flag in the office
Lucas Skoglund

May 11, 2024 came and went for NUHS. It was a lazy Saturday, with temperatures reaching 86 degrees. Many spent their time outside gardening, fishing, or just enjoying the weather.

May 11 not only heralded the beginning of summer but also a new era for Minnesota, as the state officially adopted a new state flag and seal.

The new flag was approved by a committee at the state level on December 19, 2023. In effect, all old Minnesota flags, including the ones of NUHS, are (nominally) out-of-date. While ubiquitous, the old Minnesota flag is not as prominent as the American flag at NUHS, with an Old Glory flying out front and every classroom having a miniature flag.

The American flag waving in front of NUHS

Maintaining the flags at NUHS is job of the Maintenance Department. Mr. Lang, head of the Maintenance Department, said that NUHS has “tried a variety over the years to find the ones that last the longest. Currently, we are using commercial-grade polyester flags with embroidered stars and double-stitched seams. All our flagpoles in the district used the same size flags, 5’x8′.”

Erin Jensen, High School Secretary, said that “for the first few years [in the new High School building] we didn’t have flags. So we just ordered them offline. We ordered them off Amazon.” For Erin, the issue was missing flags at graduation. “That’s where it came about like, ‘Oh, we don’t have flags for graduation. So, we need to order them [an American and Minnesota Flag], have them in the office and then during graduation week you’ll see these disappear in here and go down into the gym for graduation.”

While the indoor flags haven’t changed, the main flag outside the school is regularly maintained by the maintenance department. “The High School flag is by far our most exposed flag to wind and weather. It is the one we replace the most. We usually replace that flag around 6 times a year. The other buildings may have their flags replaced twice a year,” Lang said. Thankfully, Mr. Lang keeps an “inventory of flags” in his office.

New Minnesota Flag (Courtesy of MPR News)

Regardless of any controversy that surrounds the new flag, the office and maintenance department will carry on and that, “after Saturday [May 11], we’ll know more, and whatever direction the School Board decides to go, the Facilities Department will do our best to make it so,” Lang said.

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