Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 1. General Provisions
Subtitle .
Chapter 5. Emblems

Chapter 5. Emblems.

Article 1. Symbols of Sovereignty.

§ 1-500. The great seal.

The great seal of the Commonwealth shall consist of two metallic discs, two and one-fourth inches in diameter, with an ornamental border one fourth of an inch wide, with such words and figures engraved as follows: On the obverse, Virtus, the genius of the Commonwealth, dressed as an Amazon, resting on a spear in her right hand, point downward, touching the earth; and holding in her left hand, a sheathed sword, or parazonium, pointing upward; her head erect and face upturned; her left foot on the form of Tyranny represented by the prostrate body of a man, with his head to her left, his fallen crown nearby, a broken chain in his left hand, and a scourge in his right. Above the group and within the border conforming therewith, shall be the word "Virginia," and, in the space below, on a curved line, shall be the motto, "Sic Semper Tyrannis." On the reverse, shall be placed a group consisting of Libertas, holding a wand and pileus in her right hand; on her right, Aeternitas, with a globe and phoenix in her right hand; on the left of Libertas, Ceres, with a cornucopia in her left hand, and an ear of wheat in her right; over this device, in a curved line, the word "Perseverando."

Code 1950, § 7-26; 1966, c. 102, § 7.1-26; 2005, c. 839.

§ 1-501. The lesser seal.

The lesser seal of the Commonwealth shall be one and nine sixteenths inches in diameter, and be engraved with the device and inscriptions contained in the obverse of the great seal.

Code 1950, § 7-27; 1966, c. 102, § 7.1-27; 2005, c. 839.

§ 1-502. Custody; impressions displayed in The Library of Virginia.

The seals of the Commonwealth described in §§ 1-500 and 1-501 shall be kept by the Secretary of the Commonwealth and used as provided by law, and at least three clear impressions of the seals shall be kept and displayed by the Librarian of Virginia in some suitable place in The Library of Virginia, for public inspection.

Code 1950, § 7-28; 1966, c. 102, § 7.1-28; 1994, c. 64; 1998, c. 427; 2005, c. 839.

§ 1-503. Uses and tax on great seal.

The great seal shall be affixed to documents, signed by the Governor, which are to be used before tribunals, or for purposes outside of the jurisdiction of the Commonwealth; and in every such case, except where the Commonwealth is a party concerned in the use to be made of the document, the tax imposed by § 58.1-1725 on the seal of the Commonwealth shall be collected and accounted for by the Secretary of the Commonwealth.

Code 1950, § 7-30; 1966, c. 102, § 7.1-30; 2005, c. 839.

§ 1-504. Uses and tax on lesser seal.

The lesser seal shall be affixed to all grants for lands and writs of election issued by the Governor; to all letters of pardon and reprieve; to all commissions, civil and military, signed by the Governor, and to all other papers, requiring a seal, authorized to be issued by the Governor for the purpose of carrying the laws into effect within the Commonwealth; and also, when deemed necessary by the Secretary of the Commonwealth, may be used by him as an authentication of his official signature. No tax shall be imposed on the use of such lesser seal, except upon commissions appointing notaries, and commissioners in other states for taking acknowledgments, and upon certificates of the Secretary of the Commonwealth, when, at the request of the parties desiring such certificates, the seal is attached. In all such cases the tax shall be the same as upon the great seal, and shall be collected and accounted for in the same manner.

Code 1950, § 7-31; 1966, c. 102, § 7.1-31; 2005, c. 839.

§ 1-505. Seals deemed property of Commonwealth; unauthorized use; penalty.

The seals of the Commonwealth shall be deemed the property of the Commonwealth; and no persons shall exhibit, display, or in any manner utilize the seals or any facsimile or representation of the seals of the Commonwealth for nongovernmental purposes unless such use is specifically authorized by law.

Except for the authorized commercial use of the seal as provided in § 2.2-122, any person violating the provisions of this section shall be punished by a fine of not more than $100, or by imprisonment for not more than 30 days or both.

1966, c. 102, § 7.1-31.1; 1995, c. 295; 2005, c. 839.

§ 1-506. Flag of the Commonwealth.

The flag of the Commonwealth shall be a deep blue field, with a circular white centre of the same material. Upon this circle shall be painted or embroidered, to show on both sides alike, the coat of arms of the Commonwealth, as described in § 1-500 for the obverse of the great seal of the Commonwealth; and there may be a white fringe on the outer edge, furthest from the flagstaff. This shall be known and respected as the flag of the Commonwealth.

Code 1950, § 7-32; 1966, c. 102, § 7.1-32; 2005, c. 839.

§ 1-507. Governor to prescribe size of flag.

The Governor shall regulate the size and dimensions of the flag proper for forts, arsenals and public buildings, for ships-of-war and merchant marine, for troops in the field, respectively, and for any other purpose, according to his discretion by proclamation.

Code 1950, § 7-33; 1966, c. 102, § 7.1-33; 2005, c. 839.

§ 1-508. Director of General Services to have available flags of the Commonwealth for sale.

The Director of the Department of General Services shall have available at all times flags of the Commonwealth, to be offered for sale to the public in such manner as the Director may determine.

Such flags shall be of good quality, shall conform to the specifications prescribed in § 1-506, shall be offered in the various sizes prescribed by the Governor pursuant to § 1-507, and shall be purchased in compliance with the provisions of § 2.2-4323.1.

The prices to be charged for such flags shall be at cost as determined by the Director.

Code 1950, § 7-33.1; 1958, c. 553; 1960, c. 347; 1966, c. 102, § 7.1-34; 2005, c. 839; 2016, cc. 289, 297.

§ 1-509. When flag to be suspended over Capitol.

During the sessions of either house of the General Assembly the flag of the Commonwealth shall be kept raised over the respective chambers of the Capitol, or other place of session, if practicable, as directed by the Director of the Department of General Services and the Chief of the Virginia Capitol Police in consultation with the Clerk of the House of Delegates and the Clerk of the Senate.

Code 1950, § 7-34; 1966, c. 102, § 7.1-35; 1970, c. 561; 2005, c. 839.

Article 2. Emblems, Designations, and Honors.

§ 1-510. Official emblems and designations.

The following are hereby designated official emblems and designations of the Commonwealth:

Artisan Center — "Virginia Artisans Center," located in the City of Waynesboro.

Bat — Virginia Big-eared bat (Corynorhinos townsendii virginianus).

Beverage — Milk.

Bird — Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis).

Blue Ridge Folklore State Center — Blue Ridge Institute located in the village of Ferrum.

Boat — "Chesapeake Bay Deadrise."

Cabin Capital of Virginia — Page County.

Coal Miners' Memorial — The Richlands Coal Miners' Memorial located in Tazewell County.

Covered Bridge Capital of the Commonwealth — Patrick County.

Covered Bridge Festival — Virginia Covered Bridge Festival held in Patrick County.

Dog — American Foxhound.

Fish (Freshwater) — Brook Trout.

Fish (Saltwater) — Striped Bass.

Flag of Remembrance of September 11, 2001 — Freedom Flag, designed by a Virginian, as the flag of remembrance of September 11, 2001.

Fleet — Replicas of the three ships, Susan Constant, Godspeed, and Discovery, which comprised the Commonwealth's founding fleet that brought the first permanent English settlers to Jamestown in 1607, and which are exhibited at the Jamestown Settlement in Williamsburg.

Flower — American Dogwood (Cornus florida).

Folk dance — Square dancing, the American folk dance that traces its ancestry to the English Country Dance and the French Ballroom Dance, and is called, cued, or prompted to the dancers, and includes squares, rounds, clogging, contra, line, the Virginia Reel, and heritage dances.

Fossil — Chesapecten jeffersonius.

Gold mining interpretive center — Monroe Park, located in the County of Fauquier.

Insect — Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly (Papilio glaucus Linne).

Maple Festival — The Highland County Maple Festival.

Motor sports museum — "Wood Brothers Racing Museum and Virginia Motor Sports Hall of Fame," located in Patrick County.

Opry — The Virginia Opry.

Outdoor drama — "The Trail of the Lonesome Pine Outdoor Drama," adapted for the stage by Clara Lou Kelly and performed in the Town of Big Stone Gap.

Outdoor drama, historical — "The Long Way Home" based on the life of Mary Draper Ingles, adapted for the stage by Earl Hobson Smith, and performed in the City of Radford.

Pony — Chincoteague Pony.

Rock — Nelsonite.

Salamander — Red Salamander (Pseudotriton ruber).

Shakespeare festival — The Virginia Shakespeare Festival held in the City of Williamsburg.

Shell — Oyster shell (Crassostrea virginica).

Snake — Eastern Garter Snake (Thamnophis sirtalis sirtalis).

Song emeritus — "Carry Me Back to Old Virginny," by James A. Bland, as set out in the House Joint Resolution 10, adopted by the General Assembly of Virginia at the Session of 1940.

Song (Popular) — "Sweet Virginia Breeze," by Robbin Thompson and Steve Bassett.

Song (Traditional) — "Our Great Virginia," lyrics by Mike Greenly and arranged by Jim Papoulis with music from the original American folk song "Oh Shenandoah."

Spirit — George Washington's rye whiskey produced at Mount Vernon, Virginia.

Sports hall of fame — "Virginia Sports Hall of Fame," located in the City of Portsmouth.

Television series — "Song of the Mountains."

Tree — American Dogwood (Cornus florida).

War memorial museum — "Virginia War Museum," (formerly known as the War Memorial Museum of Virginia), located in the City of Newport News.

Code 1950, §§ 7-35, 7-36, 7-37; 1966, cc. 102, 547, §§ 7.1-37, 7.1-38, 7.1-39; 1974, c. 24, § 7.1-40; 1982, c. 191, § 7.1-40.1; 1986, c. 138, § 7.1-40.2; 1988, c. 317, § 7.1-40.3; 1991, cc. 71, 575, §§ 7.1-40.4, 7.1-40.5; 1993, cc. 251, 509, § 7.1-40.6; 1994, cc. 33, 134, 220, 464, §§ 7.1-40.2:1, 7.1-40.8; 1995, cc. 12, 180, § 7.1-40.2:2; 1996, c. 52, § 7.1-40.9; 1997, cc. 66, 576, § 7.1-40.10; 1999, cc. 69, 336, § 7.1-40.11; 2001, cc. 97, 134, § 7.1-40.12; 2001, c. 228, § 7.1-40.13; 2005, cc. 557, 839; 2006, c. 128; 2007, cc. 391, 685; 2008, c. 262; 2009, cc. 145, 227; 2011, c. 671; 2013, c. 702; 2014, c. 553; 2015, cc. 586, 587; 2016, cc. 278, 675; 2017, cc. 15, 576, 577; 2018, cc. 284, 684; 2020, c. 583; 2023, cc. 60, 61.

§ 1-511. English designated the official language of the Commonwealth.

English shall be designated as the official language of the Commonwealth. Except as provided by law, no state agency or local government shall be required to provide and no state agency or local government shall be prohibited from providing any documents, information, literature or other written materials in any language other than English.

1996, c. 829, § 7.1-42; 2005, c. 839.

§ 1-512. Poet laureate.

The honorary position of Poet Laureate of Virginia is hereby created. The Governor may appoint a poet laureate from a list of nominees submitted by the Poetry Society of Virginia. Each poet laureate shall serve a term of two years with no restrictions on reappointment.

1997, c. 299, § 7.1-43; 2005, c. 839.