Mark your calendars.
Tuesday, July 21, is the 145th anniversary of the incorporation of the City of Wichita. It’s a day to celebrate our community’s accomplishments, reflect on our future and wave Wichita’s flag.
What’s that? You weren’t aware that Wichita has an official flag?
For many people, an image of Wichita’s flag doesn’t immediately come to mind. Even though it was designed and officially adopted 78 years ago, it hasn’t always been a highly visible part of our city’s landscape.
The city of Wichita’s Facebook page describes the flag’s design as such: “Three red and three white rays alternate from an off-center blue sun. The rays are the path of freedom to come and go as one pleases. The blue disc represents happiness, contentment. Stitched on the blue sun is an Indian symbol for hogan or permanent home. It’s a white circle with four sets of three parallel rays emanating from the circle’s principal axis.”
Cecil McAlister, a local artist and our flag’s designer, put a great deal of thought into his design. I believe the elements that he chose are a commentary on what he valued most about Wichita: freedom, happiness, contentment and home.
I often wear a Wichita flag lapel pin, and I’m happy to share a few facts when someone asks me about it. Because each of us experiences this city differently, it’s also an opportunity for me to learn from others what they value about Wichita.
My experience as a Wichitan is unique to me. Cecil’s experiences were unique to him. And you have a unique Wichita story, too. The flag is a symbol of our pride in what we share, pride in our differences and pride in why we all work so hard to invest in and build our community.
My appreciation of this city grows when I understand another’s perspective. When I see someone wearing or flying the flag, it makes me smile, and I want to know what part of this city they are celebrating and sharing with others. Our flag brings us together.
Where can you see the flag flying in Wichita? The Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce is flying it, and you also will see it outside City Hall, Hotel at Old Town, the Labor Party and Abode Venue.
Local artists are incorporating it in some of their work, and you will see flag elements in logos for organizations like We Are Wichita, the ICT Army of Artists and others. Wichita’s National Premier Soccer League team, FC Wichita, has incorporated it into its logo. Local businesses, like Legacy Bank, are including it in their community campaigns.
During last year’s Fuel the Fire speaker series, all three presenters reminded us that Wichita needs to work harder at voicing our pride in our city. We need to be more vocal about what makes Wichita the best place to grow companies, careers and our families.
And we need to remember to be more inclusive of those who aren’t physically present here, but who still feel connected to our city and invested in our success.
Twitter and Instagram accounts have been created for the Wichita flag as part of a civic pride campaign. As we approach Wichita’s birthday, I encourage you to use #WichitaFlag and tag @WichitaFlag to post your comments about why you love Wichita. Encourage your friends, relatives and co-workers to do the same and share the campaign with those who have moved away.
Let’s wave our flag and demonstrate our pride in the people and places that make Wichita so special.
Angie Elliott is manager of Business Services for the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Interested in writing for “Business Perspectives”? Contact Tom Shine at email@example.com or 316-268-6268.