City of Columbia Adopts Official Columbia Flag
The City of Columbia is proud to announce the adoption of an official Columbia flag. The winning flag was designed by local resident and business owner Bryson Leach, and was the top vote-getter selected by the community in an online flag design competition completed in April.
In January, City leaders began the process to adopt a flag for Columbia, something Mayor Molder showed an interest in since his first term in office. It wasn’t until recently when a local high school student contacted the Mayor about the flag that it sparked conversation about a design competition that would turn the flag idea into a reality.
“It is appropriate that the city is adopting an official Columbia flag,” said Columbia Mayor Chaz Molder. “It all started with an email from Nathaniel Bliss, an Eagle Scout candidate. I am grateful he initiated the conversation about the need for a Columbia flag. Without his initiative, and the research he put in on the front end, this project would not have happened,” Molder continued. “Columbia deserves to be honored with its own flag. It is a powerful symbol that represents our community and its people, our past, our present, and our future.”
Nathaniel Bliss has followed the flag competition process closely and even helped spread the word with the help of his fellow scouts. "I was inspired to have this flag contest as my Eagle Scout project because of my fascination with Vexillology. I have always found it interesting how a simple piece of fabric can have such powerful symbolism, drawing on the history, culture, and people of city,” commented Bliss. “Another reason I chose this as my project is because it will have a lasting impact on Columbia and will be a part of Columbia's history. I hope the people of our great city are as invested in this as I am. I’m glad I was able to be a part of this moment and I will be excited to see the flag waving above city hall, and wherever people choose to fly it, for the first time!"
City leaders wanted this to be a community-inspired project from design to selection. Citizens were first invited to submit their design ideas and provide a narrative explaining why they chose their particular design. Flag design guidelines were provided from the North American Vexillological Association that emphasized the importance of simple designs with minimal, but meaningful use of colors and symbols. There were 41 qualifying designs submitted, which were reviewed by the Columbia Arts Council. They narrowed the field to three finalists: Bryson Leach, Amanda Byrd and George Vrailas. Then those three designs were shared online and the community was asked to vote for their favorite with Bryson Leach’s design garnering the most votes.
“I am honored that my design was selected as the new city flag,” said Leach. “As a lifelong resident of Columbia, it’s an absolute joy that I’m able to contribute something that will be a lasting legacy and symbol of the true spirit of our citizens and this place we love.”
According to Leach, his flag design was created to symbolize Columbia’s interwoven history, diversity, and leadership, among its citizens and its place in the world. It features a two-toned field of blue over red, representing Columbia’s presidential history while paying homage to the state of Tennessee and its flag. A horizontal wave of blue and red stripes across the middle represents the Duck River, with the weaving of red and blue representing Columbia’s diversity and its place in Civil Rights history (starting in 1946). Finally, a white star in the upper left corner represents Columbia as the county seat and its place in technological, industrial, civic and community leadership.
The public will be invited to attend a flag-raising ceremony in June. The new Columbia flag will be flown at all city facilities.