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Chicago Flag May Get New Star If Olympics Come

Current 4-Star Flag Has Been In Use Since 1939

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CHICAGO (CBS) ― If the 2016 Olympics come, Chicago might become a five-star city, in more ways than one.

Ald. Edward M. Burke (14th) has a resolution pending that calls for a fifth star to be added to the Chicago flag in 2009 should the city win the right to host the Summer Games.

It would be the first change to the flag since 1939, when a fourth star was added in recognition of Fort Dearborn. The flag, designed by poet Wallace Rice, has been in use since 1917.

Burke hasn't thought through all the logistics -- like the cost to replace flags at government buildings and how much time private owners would have to purchase new ones.

The Chicago History Museum's Sarah Marcus said the stars are a mystery to many.

"That's one of those questions I get from friends: 'What's that about?' " Marcus said.

The answer – all four stars commemorate momentous events or places in Chicago history. They honor Fort Dearborn, the Great Chicago Fire, the Columbian Exposition of 1893, and the Century of Progress Exposition of 1933-34.

The top blue stripe honors Lake Michigan and the North Branch of the Chicago River, while the bottom blue stripe honors the South Branch of the Chicago River and the Great Canal. The white fields from top to bottom, represent the city's North, West and South sides.

Even the points of each of the six-pointed stars represent virtues or historical events. Click here for the full breakdown from the Chicago Public Library.

Chicago is up against Tokyo; Madrid; Rio de Janeiro; Rome; Prague; Doha, Qatar; and Baku, Azerbaijan in the 2016 Olympic bid.

(© MMVII, CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.)

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