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Chicago's Flag: Meaning and Ideas for a 5th Star

Posted on May 18, 2018

Few cities love their flag as much as Chicagoans adore theirs. And how could they not? With its beautiful design and meaningful symbolism, the Chicago flag is one of the most notable city flags in the United States. The flag stands as a beautiful depiction of the city with its 4 red stars representing key events in the City’s history, the 3 white stripes representing the different sides of Chicago, and the 2 blue stripes representing the lake and river. In recent years, however, there have been suggestions and requests to add a fifth star to the flag. 

Here are 5 main reasons why Chicagoans believe a fifth star should be added:

President Barack Obama
Prior to President Barack Obama becoming the nation’s first African American President, he served the citizens of Illinois. Obama served in the Illinois Senate from 1997-2004 and after was elected into the U.S. Senate before becoming president of the United States in 2009. Much of President Obama’s career and life is centered around Illinois and Chicago in particular, which is why many have asked that a fifth star in added in his honor.

Birthplace of the Atomic Age
In 1942 Enrico Fermi, a Nobel Prize-winning Italian physicist, created Chicago Pile-1, the world’s first nuclear reactor. Fermi conducted the first reaction in his laboratory located beneath Stagg Field at the University of Chicago. His experiment led to the creation of the atomic age and thus Chicago to become home to the birthplace of the atomic age.

Mayor Richard M. Daley
Richard J. Daley was one of Chicago’s longest-serving mayors, serving six terms between 1955 and 1976. Daley was instrumental in improving the Chicago Public School system and the city’s infrastructure from parks to airports. After his passing in 1976 many asked for a fifth star to be added to commemorate him and all of his efforts in improving the city of Chicago.

The Special Olympics
In 2016 Illinois Supreme Court Justice, Anne Burke made a public request to Mayor Rahm Emanuel to add a fifth star to the Chicago flag representative of Chicago’s role in the Special Olympics. Burke, a co-founder of the Special Olympics, would like to highlight Chicago as the birthplace of the International Special Olympics which first occurred at Soldier Field in 1968.

The Chicago Cubs
After the supposed curse of the billy goat was placed on the Chicago Cubs in 1945, fans were wary if the team would ever be able to capture a world series win again. It wasn’t until recently, in 2016, that the Cubs finally won the World Series and recaptured the hearts of locals. Ever since the team’s momentous win, lifelong fans have been asking city officials to add a fifth star for the team.