May 1896
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Month May 1896

Patriotic Mr. Day

AC 1896-05-09 p10 thumb

THE CONSTITUTION, ATLANTA, GA. SATURDAY, MAY 9, 1896.

A Civic Insignia for Atlanta Seems To Be His Fad.

HIS UNIQUE COLOR SCHEME

The Sanitary Committee Considers the City Flag, but the Aldermanic Board Wants More Light.

The aesthetic taste of Councilman Thomas Day will receive a sore shock when council again assembles, and a fond hope which he as been sacredly treasuring during the past fortnight may be dashed to earth.

In his patriotic zeal, Councilman Day introduced an ordinance before the general municipal assembly several weeks ago. As carefully recorded upon the big ledger of Clerk Phillips the ordinance read in toto:

“By Councilman Day, an ordinance establishing the flags and colors of the city of Atlanta.

“Whereas, the city of Atlanta has no authorized flag or ensign, and whereas, it is fitting that such should be established in accordance with the ancient custom of independent municipalities, therefore be it resolved by the mayor and general council of the city of Atlanta that the following shall be the forms, devices and colors of the civic flag, ensign and pennant of the city of Atlanta:

“That the colors in the several forms shall be yellow and blue, of hues or tints expressed upon the pattern, and the exact copy of which is hereby directed to be placed on file in the office of the clerk of the council and displayed in the city hall marked: ‘Approved colors of the city flags of Atlanta.’ ”

Councilman Day is one of the most patriotic members of the municipal assembly. This ordinance was the outspoken token of that higher valor which is indicative of statesmanship, and exemplifies inspiring instincts. Since his election, Councilman Day had long regretted the sad neglect which caused Atlanta to be without a flag. In his broad knowledge of effects the councilman had divined that nothing would be more ennobling of the boys and girls of Atlanta than some symbol of her progress, some material emblem of her wonderful prosperity, some flaming insignia to which the people of Atlanta could point with pride and proclaim lasting allegiance to its colors.

Just what colors these should be the aesthetic councilman could not at first decide.

It was one day in early spring when the silhouette of the doughty wardsman fell athwart the desk of Clerk of Council Phillips, and that official pushing his pen behind one ear asked what service could be rendered.

Councilman Day spoke in a voice full of serious contemplation and weighty deliberation:

“Phillips,” he said, “I have an idea.”

“Ah,” said the clerk, bending nearer with a look of wistful surprise.

“Yes, sir; I have an idea. Atlanta has no flag. Atlanta has no colors. Suppose some day the members of council should be called out in a body, as it often occurs; suppose there should be a public parade in which Atlanta ought to be represented, would it not be well for some emblematic colors to be displayed; would it not be meet and proper for us to fly our flag?”

“In truth that is an idea – an idea most meet and proper,” replied the clerk.

“Then,” continued the councilman, “why not write to some of the larger cities and find their flags and devices. This must be done at once.”

In accordance with this expressed wish Clerk Phillips issued a letter to many cities. Immediate replies were received. For the most part the larger cities did not have flags, but some samples were sent, and these were presented to Councilman Day.

The councilman supplemented these with a collection of colors which would dazzle an artist. He spread out before him all cardinal colors and as many shades and mixtures as could be gathered. Councilman Day first thought of red, but this was too flaring, and he decided to select something more austere. He had the colors arranged in their prismatic form, red, orange, yellow, green, indigo, violet. The councilman skipped orange, as it was not positive enough. It was yellow he decided upon, signifying the fading of all things bad in the city politic. Councilman Day is not a decadent, and his selection of this hue had no reference to degeneracy in any form. He wished another color and fixed upon blue, signifying hope – the blue of the skies.

In accordance with this his ordinance was framed and duly presented to council. Here it was read once and referred to the ordinance committee. Considering it in all its lights the committee reported favorably and returned it to council.

It was read the second time and referred to the sanitary committee. Councilman Day lifted his eyebrows in mild surprise. He could not understand what connection ditches and dirt could have with the glorious colors of the city of Atlanta. But Mayor Pro Tem. Hirsch was wanting in sentiment and ordered the matter to be considered by the sanitary committee.

At the last session of council Chairman Thomas, together with other matters of sanitation, reported on the color question. It was acted upon favorably by council and sent up to the aldermanic board. In the meantime it had chanced to fall into the hands of the mayor and he wrote his approval thereon. Yesterday it came up to be considered by the aldermanic board.

The flag was discussed from an artistic standpoint. Some of the members of the board did not like the yellow.

“Make it green,” said Mr. Colvin.

“Black would be better,” put in Colonel Howell.

Inasmuch as there were no colors with the ordinance, and inasmuch s there no drawing of the flag, nor anything to to show its device the alderman decided to refer it back to council. This disapproval will be a serious shock to the patriotism of Councilman Day. It will necessitate another sharp struggle for his colors.