Historic, 45-star flag comes home to Utah

A historic, 45-star flag found in an Iowa junkyard has made its way home to Utah.

Jack Mommer of Dike, Iowa was searching for used car parts about seven years ago when he discovered the 15-foot star spangled banner crumpled in the back of a broken-down van. Seeing only 45 stars, he planned to present it to the 45th state—Utah—but passed away from cancer before he had the opportunity to do so.

On Tuesday his widow, Mary Mommer, along with his lifelong friend, Cary Ruggles, presented the flag to Gov. Gary R. Herbert on Jack Mommer’s behalf.

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.