The recent discussions about the new design for the Chattanooga flag remind me that not just the city's flag, but perhaps the seal itself, may need an update.
Five years ago I wrote the following in my book "Old Money, New South: the Spirit of Chattanooga" (2006, pp: 74-86):
"Chattanooga’s of?cial emblem depicts a faraway view of the city, a scene of the Tennessee River curving around Moccasin Bend with the town and its buildings barely visible just beyond. The city is viewed from the perspective of Lookout Mountain. A powerful cannon in the foreground points directly from the mountain to the city.
This great seal looms as a large backdrop to the weekly meetings of the Chattanooga City Council. The county uses the same image in its seal, which also serves as the backdrop for its Hamilton County Commission. The seal is engraved in the stone foyer ?oor of City Hall and forged on the surface of the manhole covers all over the city streets. Depending on the viewer, the seal might communicate the area’s rich history or perhaps the impact of the Civil War. For others, it may suggest the protective power of Lookout Mountain or perhaps something more ominous.
. . . Just behind the cannons at Point Park stands the monument built by the state of New York—with the help and encouragement of another city father, Adolph Ochs. It is the largest monument in the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park and cost over $100,000, an enormous sum in 1910. It stands eighty-?ve feet high and rests on a base ?fty feet in diameter. The sculptor entitled the monument, “Reconciliation.” A Federal soldier clasps the hand of a Confederate soldier as they stand beside the stars and stripes of the American ?ag. Underneath are the words: “Reunited—One Country Again and Forever.”
. . This statue, this symbol, reminds us that certain principles must be maintained. They are worth ?ghting for. More importantly, it actively instructs us to believe that unity, love, and forgiveness are supreme. The statue does not re?ect a city exempt from past sins or current wounds. Neither does it re?ect a community without current challenges nor numerous failed efforts to renew, revive, and reconcile. But it does re?ect the Spirit of Chattanooga."