The Chamber is a champion of the #IloveWichita and #WichitaFlag movement. Just like most countries and states, many cities have an official flag. They’re unique banners under which we unite to solve community challenges and celebrate our accomplishments. Flags help symbolize our love for the places we create together.
The official Wichita flag, adopted by The City in 1937, has become a rallying point for our community’s growing sense of pride. It’s especially meaningful because the flag's adoption was the result of partnership and collaboration.
In 1937, the Wichita City Manager asked the American Legion to conduct a city-wide flag design contest. The Rotary Club offered a cash prize and held a special event for the winning design.
Wichita's mayor and city manager worked with civic organizations, educators and creatives to find the right flag design for Wichita.
More than 100 designs were submitted and an entry by local artist Cecil McAlister was selected as the one that best portrayed Wichita. It became our official flag on National Flag Day, June 14, in 1937.
His winning design used patriotic American colors but was also steeped in Native American symbolism, a reference to the rich and diverse history of the state of Kansas. McAlister won a $40 prize for his efforts, but his contributions to our city’s culture are worth much more.
There are three main components to our flag that help make it both visually striking, as well as meaningful. McAlister said the stripes symbolized RAYS OF LIGHT and WAYS TO COME AND GO. The red stripes represent VIRTUE and HONOR, while the white stripes stand for COURAGE.
The blue off-center sun indicates HAPPINESS and FAITHFULNESS.And the white circle around the field of blue in the center contains the Native American design for the sun and symbolizes a Hogan or PERMANENT HOME.
McAlister understood the independent spirit of Wichitans and our sense of adventure. He wanted Wichitans to explore the world and bring back their best ideas---to enrich our community with what they've learned.
But he also wanted to remind us that Wichita is our PERMANENT HOME -- no matter how far our travels take us.
It took more than seventy-five years for flag fever to really take hold in Wichita, but it finally did, And YOU made it happen. In the last few years, this community has done an exceptional job of coming together, supporting each other, and working hard to make Wichita the place we all know it to be in our hearts. Can you imagine how McAllister would feel if he could visit his hometown today?
He’d be incredibly proud of the progress we’ve already made and the swelling sense of local pride that just keeps growing. And he’d be thrilled that we appreciate the meaningful symbolism behind his flag design.
This is our flag. This is our Wichita. This is our home.
We hope you'll enjoy this collection of Wichita flag-themed murals. Join us in flag fever and mural mania by posting your pictures with these murals and using #ILoveWichita and #WichitaFlag. Be sure to tag @wichitaflag on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. Check ilovewichita.org for more flag murals and places to purchase flagswag.