by Christian Piekos
CHICAGO (WLS) — For years, the Cook County flag was considered by flag enthusiasts to be a bit of a dud – known in the flag world by the derogatory acronym SOB: seal on a bedsheet.
That all changed in June with the “big reveal” of a new county flag that was the result of a design contest that was open to students from the county’s 500-plus high schools.
County leaders celebrated the flag raising Saturday afternoon at Daley Plaza. The new flag replaced the county’s old design which came out in 1961.
The winning design came from Drew Duffy, a senior at Glenbrook South High School.
“I am honored and humbled to have been a part of this remarkable redesign process,” Duffy said. “I hope everyone in Cook County now sees themselves represented in the ‘I Will’ flag.”
“I did not think my design would be flying over Daley Plaza,” Duffy said.
The “I Will” flag represents Cook County’s lands, culture, history and inclusivity.
One of the center points of the brand new Cook County flag is the ‘Y’ created by the Chicago River at Wolf Point. Its green outline symbolizes riverbanks, nature and the county’s forest preserves.
Six red stars on the flag symbolize the founding of Cook County, founding of Cook County Health, founding of Cook County Department of Public Health, founding of the Juvenile Temporary Detention Center, and the importance of townships and local government. And the color of the stars represents the color of social change.
“This one, I think better represents the diversity of the county and what we are so proud of,” said Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle.
It was important that the flag meet vexillological standards (vexillology is the study of flags), namely that the design be simple, meaningful and easy to remember, with only a few colors and no words.
A total of 297 different flag designs were submitted by students from 40 high schools.