Are You Flying The Tennessee Flag Upside Down?

Mason Jones of Volunteer Traditions shared this demo of how the stars on the Tennessee state flag should be aligned. Image: Instagram / Volunteer Traditions

Mason Jones of Volunteer Traditions shared this demo of how the stars on the Tennessee state flag should be aligned. Image: Instagram / Volunteer Traditions

The three-star symbol at the center of Tennessee’s flag is showing up on car windows as a show of state pride. But there’s a problem. Most of the emblems are slapped on upside down, though it takes a trained eye to see it.

One of the logos of the Tennessee Titans takes some artistic license with the tri-stars of the state flag. Credit: Titans

One of the logos of the Tennessee Titans takes some artistic license with the tri-stars of the state flag. Credit: Titans

“Very few people have it correct on there,” says Mason Jones, owner of Volunteer Traditions.

The company has built a brand around the state’s iconic tri-star symbol, which represents West, Middle and East Tennessee. The three stars inside a circle have been sewn onto all kinds of apparel, including ties worn by Governor Bill Haslam, the state’s U.S. Senators and the University of Tennessee’s head football coach.

The designer of the flag – Col. LeRoy Reeves – didn’t make it easy. The stars are arranged asymmetrically. Here’s part of the directive made law in 1905 by the legislature:

The arrangement of the three stars shall be such that the centers of no two stars shall be in a line parallel to either the side or end of the flag, but intermediate between same; and the highest star shall be the one nearest the upper confined corner of the flag.

Rough translation – put two stars over one, then rotate slightly clockwise. Many people want to put one star over two, like a triangle.

Mason Jones insists all the cars in his company’s parking lot are applied correctly. Credit: Blake Farmer / WPLN

Mason Jones insists all the cars in his company’s parking lot are applied correctly. Credit: Blake Farmer / WPLN

Even The Capitol??

This is just the latest trouble with orientation of the tri-stars. In 1976, the U.S. Postal Service released a commemorative stamp with the three-star design upside down.

…and a Metro Councilman spotted this one flying upside down over the state capitol. Woops.

An relatively easy test whether a Tennessee flag is upside down is to see if one star is almost pointing at the top of the flag attached to the flag pole. Metro Councilman Josh Stites, who also works at the state capitol, snapped this photo of an upside down flag flying over the capitol building. Credit: Josh Stites

An relatively easy test whether a Tennessee flag is upside down is to see if one star is almost pointing at the top of the flag attached to the flag pole. Metro Councilman Josh Stites, who also works at the state capitol, snapped this photo of an upside down flag flying over the capitol building. Credit: Josh Stites

Have you seen the flag upside down in Tennessee? Share a picture with us on Twitter (@WPLN) or tell us about it in the comments.

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