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New York State Flag

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New York Flag History

A modern version of a Revolutionary War flag, today's New York State flag displays the New York State Coat of Arms, adopted in 1778, centered on a dark blue field. The shield on the New York state flag depicts a cloudless sky with a rising sun behind three mountains, the highlands of the Hudson River. A three masted, square rigged ship and a Hudson River sloop navigate towards each other on the Hudson River representing commerce. The river is bordered by a grassy shore fringed with shrubs. Beneath the shield on a white ribbon is the New York State Motto, "Excelsior (Ever Upward)," signifying a reach for ever higher goals.

Above the shield on the New York state flag, the crest shows a Bald Eagle, wings spread, perched atop a globe depicting the northern Atlantic Ocean. The eagle faces right, a good omen. On one side of the shield stands "Justice," her hair decorated with pearls. She is blindfolded and carries a sword in one hand and a scale in the other hand. These symbols represent the impartiality and fairness of justice required to meet out punishment and reward. Justice is clothed in gold with a blue belt edged with red. A loose red robe hangs from her shoulder. Opposite Justice on the New York state flag, stands "Liberty," holding a pole topped with the Phrygian cap. A crown is at her left foot, put there to symbolize the failed control of the British Monarchy. Liberty is clothed in blue and wearing red sandals. Like Justice, a red robe hangs from her shoulder and her unbound hair is decorated with pearls.

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