“People are going to have to buy new flags,” said D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, describing an alternate version of the American flag displaying 51 stars.
The extra star, symbolizing her decades-long quest to make the District of Columbia a U.S. state, is hard to notice.
“If you look at it you won’t see much difference,” the Democrat told CQ Roll Call during an interview back in February. “I think I like that, even as I extol, and look forward to, having that extra star.”
The House is voting on a bill to make D.C. the 51st state this Friday. The bill is expected to pass the Democrat-controlled chamber, but is unlikely to get a vote in the Senate or be signed by President Donald Trump.
Norton’s flag was given to her by the local D.C. government. Last week, Mayor Muriel Bowser presented Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer a similar flag during a news briefing announcing the House vote.
The American flag, with 50 stars, utilizes an offset grid pattern in order to fit all those stars in a small blue rectangle. It’s arranged with five rows of six stars, interlaced with another four rows of five stars.
This flag, however, has three rows of nine, interspersed with another three rows of eight, resulting in 51 stars total.
“You rearrange the columns a little bit and it looks like everybody’s flag,” Norton said.
The stars and stripes have undergone many changes over the past two centuries as more states have been admitted to the country, from it’s early 13-star design to the grid we know today.
The current flag is the longest-running design. The 50-star banner has been the official U.S. flag since 1960, after Hawaii became the 50th state one year earlier.