Historic 45-star Flag Found In Junkyard Presented To Utah Governor

Historic 45-star Flag
The 15-foot American flag was found in an Iowa junkyard. Photo: Gephardt Daily/ Kurt Walter

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, Jan. 12, 2016 (Gephardt Daily) — A historic 45-star American flag found in an Iowa junkyard was presented to Gov. Gary Herbert Tuesday to commemorate Utah’s 120th statehood anniversary.

Officials said Jack Mommer, of Dike, Iowa, was searching for used car parts in an Iowa junkyard in 2007 when he discovered the 15-foot American flag in a broken-down van. He planned to present the flag to the state of Utah, the 45th state to join the Union, but passed away from cancer in 2014 before he had the opportunity to do so.

So at a ceremony Tuesday at the Capitol, Mommer’s widow, Mary, and family friend Carry Ruggles presented the flag to Gov. Herbert.

Mary Mommer said she and her husband were both determined to bring the flag back to its rightful home.

“He brings it home and says ‘Mary, Mary, you’re not going to believe this flag, it’s beautiful,'” she said. “We tried to open it up in the house and we couldn’t open it up and we had to do it outside.

“We both knew it needed to come back to where it came from. He wanted to do it himself, but my husband got cancer and had to have lots of medical trips. During one of his surgeries he got meningitis in the operating room, and passed away, so he never was able to get the flag to where it needed to go, but we knew what his dream was.

“It’s a really neat story and it’s completing the story.”

Gov. Herbert said in a blog entry Wednesday: “No one knows where the flag came from or where it flew, but it was likely made before 1907, when Oklahoma became the 46th state to join the Union. The flag is made of burlap and each star was sewn on by hand. Because of its size, Utah Division of History director Brad Westwood believes the flag may have flown at a State Capitol or could be a ceremonial flag.”

The governor has called for the flag to be displayed at the Utah Capitol at the start of the 2016 Legislative Session on Jan. 25. The flag is currently being held by the Utah State Historical Society so experts can look for clues to its origin.


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