The state flag of Illinois consists of the seal of Illinois on a white background, with the word "ILLINOIS" underneath the seal. The seal features a bald eagle pitched on a rock carrying 'a shield with thirteen stars and thirteen stripes' in its talons and a banner with the state motto (“STATE SOVEREIGNTY — NATIONAL UNION”) in its beak. The dates 1818 and 1868 were shown on the rock with a stretch of land with water and the rising sun behind it. Although "State Sovereignty" comes first in the motto, since Illinois was victorious in the American Civil War on the Union side, fighting against state sovereignty, so "State" was placed at the bottom and "Sovereignty" was flipped upside-down
Illinois flag colors - meaning
bald eagle: represents America and its strength
thirteen stars and thirteen stripes: symbolizes the original 13 colonies that were united to form the United States
1818: represents the year of statehood of Illinois
1868: represents the year the current seal was adopted
History of Illinois flag
Illinois state flag was officially adopted on July 6, 1915, after a vigorous campaign by Mrs. Ella Park Lawrence to select an official state banner to place in the Continental Memorial Hall in Washington, DC. A prize of $25 was offered for the best design for the banner and thirty-five designs were submitted. The flag designed by Miss Lucy Derwent was chosen as the winner. State Senator Raymond D. Meeker introduced the bill and the measure passed both Houses of the General Assembly and automatically became a law on July 6, 1915, when Governor Edward F. Dunne failed to affix his signature to the bill.
In the 1960s, Chief Petty Officer Bruce McDaniel noted that many of the people he served with during the Vietnam War did not recognize the banner. He petitioned to have the name of the state added to the flag. A bill to amend the original flag act of 1915 was sponsored by Representative Jack Walker of Lansing and was passed by the General Assembly and approved by Governor Richard B. Ogilvie September 17, 1969. This authorized a new flag to carry the word 'ILLINOIS'. Mrs. Sanford Hutchison, who had previously done extensive research on the official design of the state seal, submitted a flag design that contained all the required elements of the design as specified by law. It was accepted by the committee, the Secretary of State, and the Governor. On July 1, 1970, it became the official flag of Illinois.