For more than 80 years, Chicago’s flag has featured four red stars, but Mayor Lori Lightfoot wants the city’s response to the coronavirus pandemic to warrant adding another of the symbols to the iconic banner.
Speaking at the Economic Club of Chicago on Wednesday, Lightfoot laid out her vision for the future, elaborating on what she thinks the city will look like if residents and businesses alike continue to buy into the administration’s COVID-19 response efforts.
“I want nothing less than for our efforts over the coming months to truly warrant a fifth star on our flag,” she said at the unveiling.
Lightfoot’s remarks on the flag are similar to ones she made at the unveiling of the city’s five phase reopening plan last week, calling on city businesses and residents to step up to the challenge in combating the spread of the virus.
While Lightfoot’s remarks on the subject are likely intended as a symbolic call for unity and common purpose, there have been pushes in the past to add a fifth star to the city’s flag.
According to the Chicago Tribune, previous pushes have been made to add a star to the flag honoring the city’s role in ushering in the nuclear age, the Chicago Bulls’ six NBA championships or the memories of former Mayors Richard J. Daley or Harold Washington.
More recently, former Mayor Richard M. Daley pushed for a fifth star on the flag if the city had won the bidding for the 2016 Summer Olympics.
The stars on the city’s flag represent several key moments in the history of the area. The establishment of Fort Dearborn, the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893 and the Century of Progress Exposition, which was held in Chicago in 1933 and 1934.
The two blue stripes on the flag represent the two branches of the Chicago River.