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The state motto of Maine is simply “Dirigo,” meaning “I Guide” or “I Direct.” Maine is one of only 15 states within the United States to officially adopt a motto. Other states have unofficial mottos, meaning that their mottos were not officially ratified by the state's legislature. Maine's state motto was officially adopted during the inaugural session of the State of Maine held between May 21 to June 28 in 1820. One of the interesting features of the state motto of Maine is the fact that it is not only adopted as an element of the state seal, it is also fully integrated by a depiction with a symbolic meaning.
The state seal was also adopted in 1820 and has an image of two men on either side of a peaceful scene depicted on a shield. The scene is that of a moose lying in a field with a pine tree directly behind it, along with images of water and woods. The man on the left is a farmer holding a scythe, while the one on the right is a sailor resting on an anchor.
On top of the shield is a banner bearing an inscription of the state motto of Maine — “Dirigo.” On top of the motto, there is an image of a polar star. The polar star has always been a guide for mariners while conducting their ships in the oceans. In the same way, the star symbolically represents the state of Maine, which serves as a guide for its citizens. This is the reason why the state motto of Maine is “I guide.”
Maine is also one of the states in the United States to incorporate its seal into its flag. The flag of the state of Maine is a simple blue background with the state seal in the center. This flag is different from the original flag that was used between 1901 and 1909. The old flag had the image of a lone pine tree with a star above it. The new flag was approved for official use by the Maine Legislature on February 23, 1909.
Apart from the state motto of Maine, other official state symbols include the black-capped chickadee, which is the official state bird, the Maine coon cat, which is the official state cat, and the wild blueberry, which is the official state berry. The official state herb of Maine is the wintergreen, and the state fish is the landlocked salmon. The state tree is the eastern white pine, while the state insect is the honeybee.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the state motto of Maine?
The state motto of Maine is "Dirigo," which is a Latin term that translates to "I lead" or "I direct." This motto reflects Maine's history and aspirations, symbolizing guidance, leadership, and the pioneering spirit of its people. It was adopted in 1820 when Maine became the 23rd state of the United States.
When was Maine's state motto adopted, and why was "Dirigo" chosen?
Maine's state motto, "Dirigo," was adopted in 1820, the same year Maine achieved statehood. The motto was chosen to represent Maine's role as a leader among states, particularly because it was once the easternmost state and often the first to see the sunrise in the United States. This symbolism of leading the nation into each new day resonated with the state's values and aspirations.
How is the state motto of Maine used today?
The state motto of Maine, "Dirigo," is prominently featured on the state seal and flag, serving as a constant reminder of Maine's leadership and independent spirit. It also appears on state documents and is referenced in various government and cultural contexts, reinforcing the state's identity and heritage.
Are there any historical landmarks in Maine that feature the state motto?
Yes, there are several historical landmarks in Maine where the state motto "Dirigo" can be seen. The Maine State House, for example, prominently displays the state seal, which includes the motto. Additionally, various monuments and public buildings throughout the state may feature the motto as an emblem of Maine's proud history and leadership.
What other symbols are associated with Maine's state motto?
Besides the motto "Dirigo," Maine's state seal and flag also include other symbols associated with the motto's theme of leadership and guidance. The seal features a North Star, which represents the state's guiding role, and a farmer and seaman that symbolize Maine's agricultural and maritime heritage. These elements, together with the motto, encapsulate Maine's identity and values.