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The Iowa State Flag
George Earlie Shankle, Ph.D. explains the origin of the the Iowa State flag, in his 1938 revised edition of State Names, Flags, Seals, Songs, Birds, Flowers and Other Symbols this way:
When the United States entered the World War, Iowa had no state flag. “It was expected that the Iowa men would fight in State regiments as they had in former wars and this emphasized the desirability of a State flag to designate the Iowa units. The organization most interested in this matter was the Iowa Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution which had already prepared two designs. On May 11, 1917, Mrs. Lue B. Prentiss, chairman of the Society’s flag committee, Mrs. Dixie Gephardt, and a number of other interested persons appeared before the State Council on National Defense, presented a flag design submitted by Mrs. Gebhardt, and asked that it be adopted as the State flag for use by the Iowa soldiers. The Council approved the plan without much discussion. Thereupon the Daughters of the American Revolution had a number of flags manufactured and presented one to each of the Iowa National Guard regiments, one of which — as the 168th United States Infantry — was already in France. The use of state flags however, was soon rendered almost impossible by the policy adopted by the War Department of assigning men to military units without regard to the State from which they came.”
Iowa was admitted as a State of the Union on December 28, 1846.
A few years later, after graduating from the Geneva Medical College of New York, Dr. Norman R. Cornell made his way to Marion County, Iowa. When the Twenty-third Iowa Infantry was organized for service in the Civil War, Doctor Cornell was appointed an assistant surgeon. A few months later, he was appointed surgeon of the Fortieth Iowa Infantry. During the last year of his service he served as a brigade surgeon. When the Civil War ended, Dr. Cornell returned to Iowa to continue in general practice. He also became a specialist in diseases of the eye and the ear.