51 stars: What the new American flag could look like if DC becomes a state

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WASHINGTON (NewsNation Now) — What happens if the District of Columbia becomes the 51st state? One change that will need to happen is a new American flag.

That possibility became closer to reality when the House of Representatives narrowly voted to give DC statehood on Thursday, sending it to the Senate, where it faces Republican opposition.

The legislation proposes creating a 51st state with one representative and two senators, while a tiny sliver of land, including the White House, the U.S. Capitol and the National Mall, would remain as a federal district.

Instead of the District of Columbia, the new state would be known as Washington, Douglass Commonwealth — named after famed abolitionist Frederick Douglass, who lived in Washington from 1877 until his death in 1895.

By a vote of 216-208, the Democratic-controlled House approved the initiative along party lines with no Republican support. The proposal faces a far tougher fight in the Senate, where simple Democratic control of the chamber won’t be enough.

A new design for a flag would need to be approved. One version was created by an artist online was released into the public domain:

An artist’s rendering of a potential American flag with 51 stars, to be used if a 51st U.S. state joins the United States of America. Created by jacobolus using Adobe Illustrator, and released into the public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

However, there are actual versions of the 51-star flag already flying around the nation’s capital. In the slideshow below, you can see it flying last month.

What happens to my current flag?

According to the American Legion, a common myth of the U.S. Flag Code is that it prohibits the display of a United States flag with fewer than 50 stars.

“According to the U.S. Army Institute of Heraldry the United States flag never becomes obsolete. Any officially approved American flag, irrespective of the number or arrangement of the stars and/or stripes may continue to be used and displayed until no longer serviceable,” The Legion clarified.

  • US Stars and Stripe flags with 51 stars (an extra star for the District of Columbia) are set up on poles on Black Lives Matter Plaza next to the White House on March 22, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by ERIC BARADAT/AFP via Getty Images)
  • US Stars and Stripe flags with 51 stars (an extra star for the District of Columbia) are set up on poles on Black Lives Matter Plaza next to the White House on March 22, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by ERIC BARADAT/AFP via Getty Images)
  • US Stars and Stripe flags with 51 stars (an extra star for the District of Columbia) are set up on poles on Black Lives Matter Plaza next to the White House on March 22, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by ERIC BARADAT/AFP via Getty Images)