Some say the moon is not a moon and the tree is not a tree.
South Carolina has more flag historians than palmetto bugs.
And they are all aflutter.
Since bringing it up last week, I've been lectured about what that doohickey is that dangles by the palmetto tree in our state flag.
It all started when I was lectured not to call it a moon.
But I'm not the only one who calls it a moon.
The South Carolina Encyclopedia says:
"South Carolina's blue flag with its white crescent moon rising above the white palmetto tree is simple in design but profoundly symbolic of a long history."
This doesn't matter. All the true experts say the crescent is a gorget. A gorget is a piece of armor dating to ancient times that was worn around the neck to protect the throat in battle. The gorget morphed over time into a piece of crescent-shaped bling worn on a chain around the neck by officers.
People sent me pictures of everyone from George Washington to Chief Noc-A-Homa wearing a gorget.
In our case, the gorget became a silver pin on the caps of the South Carolina militia commanded in the American Revolution by William Moultrie, the originator of our flag.
Moultrie noted that our original flag matched the blue uniforms of our troops.
At the risk of stirring up a bigger flap, here are five more things you need to know about our flag. The state encyclopedia says:
Moultrie's original blue flag with crescent (and no palmetto) was used on June 28, 1776, when his outgunned and outnumbered men defeated the British at Sullivan's Island, "providing the patriot cause its first major victory in the Revolutionary War."
The fort was made of palmetto logs, launching the stoic palmetto into a beloved symbol that quickly found its way into the state seal.
South Carolina officially adopted the flag with palmetto and crescent in January 1861, shortly after it seceded from the Union.
After the Civil War, it was suggested that the flag's blue be changed to purple. That would represent all the red blood rendered to the Confederacy, but that was shot down.
In the early days, Clemson College was directed to manufacture the state flags for display in public buildings.
Some say that due to its botanical makeup, our dear sabal palmetto is more like grass.
So the moon is not a moon and the tree is not a tree.
It's a perfect flag for South Carolina.
- Don't dare call that crescent on the S.C. state flag a moon , Feb. 26, 2015
- Obscure holiday celebrating American Revolution could use a little zeal , June 27, 2013