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County flag is part of heritage

Washington County should have a flag. The question now is, “What should it look like?”
At least three choices have been offered to the Washington County Commission. Two designs have been submitted by County Commissioner Janice White, who says she has been working on the designs for more than a year in her spare time.
We agree with White’s statement that the purpose of the flag is “to instill a historical sense of pride in the community and pursue background and roots that will benefit future generations as well as the present.”
White’s suggested designs are nearly identical. Each features a white star in the center of a blue disc representing Washington County. Displayed inside the white star in each design is the county seal which shows the symbols of education, medicine, agriculture and industry. Mayor George Jaynes adopted the County Seal in 1996.
The County Seal carries the words “Tennessee’s first county, established 1777.” Most grade school students know that Washington County was the first county in Tennessee and is named after George Washington, the first president of the United States. Jonesborough was founded in 1779 and is the oldest town in Tennessee. It is named after Willie Jones. Johnson City was founded in 1865 by Henry Johnson.
In the flags proposed by White, the first design has the star and seal in the top left of the blue disc. The second design features the blue disc, star and seal centered and slightly larger. Both incorporated municipalities – Jonesborough and Johnson City – are represented by two red stripes. The white field between the two stripes on each flag represents the people living in Washington County but outside the boundaries of either municipality.
In her first design, the two red stripes are placed horizontally at the top and bottom of the flag. The stripes on the second design are narrower and are positioned vertically to the right and left sides of the flag.
Commissioners at their March meeting discovered that Washington County may already have a flag. County Attorney John Rambo presented a design that won a flag design competition among school children in 1996 as part of the state’s bicentennial celebration. Winner of the flag competition was 16-year-old Bobby Gray, a student at Daniel Boone High School. Former County Historian Mildred Kozsuch says that Commissioner Sam Humphreys, a former superintendent of schools, is researching if this flag is housed in the Tennessee State Museum. She remembers that the county flags were displayed in Nashville during the Bicentennial celebration. Rambo is not sure if Gray’s design was officially adopted by the Washington County Commission.
As a result of the flag discussion at the March Commission Meeting, five commissioners were appointed to a committee to study the matter with White as the Chairman.
There are ceremonial occasions during which the flag could be displayed. This year a number of county officials will be elected. A swearing-in ceremony that includes the U.S., Tennessee and Washington County flags would enhance the pictorials made of these occasions.