The Lone Star Flies High

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COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- It's the simplicity of the Texas state flag's design that makes it so distinctive.

A horizontal rectangle of red topped with a matching rectangle of white, bordered on the left by a vertical rectangle of blue. Centered inside the blue is a solitary five-pointed white star that gives Texas its celebrated designation as The Lone Star State.

It's a symbol Texans love and one they show with pride. An exhibit opening Fourth of July weekend at the George Bush Presidential Library at Texas A&M features more than 130 photographs of the flag.

The shots were by retired Houston Chronicle photographer Joseph Deering. He says there's no place like Texas where the state flag is so visible wherever you look.

Former President George H. W. Bush is among the flag's admirers. He says the Lone Star flag has always held "a special, almost mystical meaning" for him.

The flag was adopted in 1839 by the Congress of what was then the Republic of Texas, and within days signed into law by President Mirabeau Lamar.

No one really knows who was responsible for its design. According to the Handbook of Texas, it could have been Senator William Wharton, a leader in the Texas Revolution. Wharton died less than two months after the flag's formal adoption when his pistol accidentally went off while he was getting off a horse.