“The more we identify with where we live, the more we know that we are home.”
Annandale Va. August 16, 2006 — Annandale to fly its own flag! The Annandale Chamber of Commerce announced today the final selection of a flag that has been chosen to represent the historic community of Annandale, Virginia. The flag choice followed months of study and preparation that involved people as far away as the Netherlands in Europe and Portland Oregon in the US and a contest won by a local high school senior.
The Annandale flag was the brain child of Sami Kalifa, a former Annandale Chamber President who is known for his community work. The idea of a flag was spawned by Mr. Kalifa’s local efforts to create a sense of community and civic pride in Annandale. Mr. Kalifa, who owns Flower Den Florist in Annandale, knows more than a little bit about pride in country and community having immigrated to the US from the Middle East 37 years ago. “Annandale is the center of my life. My home and business are here along with my heart and family. We are not a city and we have no mayor. But now we have a flag.”
Many communities have their own flags that often symbolize their history and are used to identify the community with special events. Fairfax County and most incorporated towns like Fairfax City have flags, but Annandale may be the first unincorporated community in the area to create this special symbol of identity and pride. “Sense of place is important when you live in a county and not a city or town”, remarked Dan McKinnon, President of the Annandale Chamber. “For years we have tried to create a hometown atmosphere in Annandale and become more than a zip code to our neighborhoods and businesses. This is an important, and fun, step in that direction”.
This past spring the Chamber announced a competition to design a flag. Dozens of ideas were submitted. The Chamber offered a $1,000 prize for the best drawing and concept. Area schools were encouraged to have students submit ideas. Sketches were brought to the annual Annandale Chamber Awards Banquet in June where they were placed around the wall and community votes tallied. Michelle Redmon of Annandale High School submitted the winning concept and won the thousand dollar prize.
The next step was refining Ms. Redmon’s concept into a final design. The Chamber was fortunate to have the assistance of the North American Vexillological Association (NAVA), an international organization dedicated to the study of flags. Peter Ansoff, the current president of NAVA and a resident of Annandale, offered to organize a team of NAVA members to help. “Creating a new flag is an art, not a science,” commented Ansoff. “However, we’ve found that there are certain principles that seem to result in ‘good flags’ – that is, flags that are attractive, popular and distinctive. The most important principle is to keep it simple. The flag should express one or two basic ideas, and should be a clean, bold design that is easy to recognize at a distance. You want to avoid small details that clutter the design.” (NAVA has summarized these elements in a booklet called “Good Flag, Bad Flag” that is available free on the Association’s web site (http://www.nava.org)). The final design was selected from several refinements and 27 variations that Mr. Ansoff presented to the Chamber Board from his NAVA panel.
The field of the Annandale flag is medium blue. White stripes form a symbolic map of Columbia Pike and Little River Turnpike, the two hundred year old historic roads that converge at Tollhouse Park in the heart of the community. At their intersection is an elongated red oval containing a stylized version of the Annandale logo: a dogwood tree with a cardinal in its branches. The dogwood and cardinal are both symbols of the Commonwealth of Virginia. The shade of blue was selected to match the Scottish flag, recalling that the community is named after the river and town of Annan in southwestern Scotland. Annandale plans to raise its new flag for the first time during a presentation ceremony on October 28th as part of its Annual Fall Festival and Parade.
“Bragging rights about where you live are important”, says Dan McKinnon. “There is much to be proud of in Fairfax County. This is also true of the many small communities throughout the county that have place names but are not the hometowns that we left behind when we moved here. The more we identify with where we live, the more we know that we are home.”