An indissoluble trinity...

   As a native Tennessean, I would like to take this opportunity, on Statehood Day, to share a timely salute to our most cherished state symbol... The official salute to the Flag of Tennessee (T.C.A. 4-1-329):

Three white stars on a field of blue

God keep them strong and ever true

It is with pride and love that we

Salute the Flag of Tennessee.

   The Tennessee Blue Book details the symbolism captured in the State Flag of Tennessee, affectionately known as the "tristar":

   "The three stars are of pure white, representing the three grand divisions of the state. They are bound together by the endless circle of the blue field, the symbol being three bound together in one—an indissoluble trinity. The large field is crimson. The final blue bar relieves the sameness of the crimson field and prevents the flag from showing too much crimson when hanging limp. The white edgings contrast more strongly the other colors."

   In 1905, Johnson City attorney and Tennessee National Guardsman LeRoy Reeves (1876-1960) designed the flag which the Tennessee General Assembly ultimately adopted as the official flag of the state of Tennessee on April 17, 1905. Reeves' elegantly bold and distinctive design has endured for more than a century, embraced by Tennesseans as a unified symbol of civic pride in the "Volunteer State's" history and culture. On this Statehood Day and for many years to come, may the tristar continue to wave "strong and ever true."

Statehood Day in Tennessee

   In a related post, my colleagues at the Tennessee State Library and Archives (TSLA) have published a brief blog post on the creation of the 1796 Tennessee Constitution. Its enactment #OnThisDay has a fascinating history.

   Click HERE to read more from the TSLA Blog. You can also view a digitized copy of the constitution itself HERE at TSLA's Tennessee Virtual Archive (TeVA).


Gordon Belt is an information professional, archives advocate, public historian, and author of The History Press book, John Sevier: Tennessee's First Hero, which examines the life of Tennessee's first governor, John Sevier, through the lens of history and memory. On The Posterity Project, Gordon offers reflections on archives, public history, and memory from his home state of Tennessee.