In 2002,Sonny Perduewas electedGovernor of Georgia, partially on a platform of allowing Georgians to choose their own state flag in a statereferendum. He authorized the Georgia State legislature to draft a new flag in 2003.
The Georgia State General Assembly's proposed flag combined elements of Georgia's previous flags, creating a composition that was inspired by theConfederate First National flag, the Stars and Bars, rather than the Confederate Battle Flag. Perdue signed the legislation into law on May 8, 2003.
The Georgia State flag bears three stripes consisting of red-white-red, and a blue canton containing a ring of 13 white stars encompassing the state's coat of arms in gold. In the coat of arms, the arch symbolizes the state's constitution and the pillars represent the three branches of government: legislative, executive, and judicial. The words of the Georgia state motto, "Wisdom, Justice, and Moderation," are wrapped around the pillars, guarded by a male figure dressed in colonial attire dating back to the American Revolution. Within the arms, a sword is drawn to represent the defense of the Georgia state constitution.