If you were at the Bliss Center yesterday, it would have felt like Independence Day in March. That's because the flag was hoisted on stage - with all the official formalities by the BDF. It was done as part of a lecture on national symbols - with the flag being yesterday's theme.

Now the flag has gone through a number of changes to where it is now - from the removal of the union jack in the coat of arms, to the addition of a Mestizo Belizean man in place of one of the black men. Courtney Weatherburne has more details on the significance of the lecture.

Courtney Weatherburne reporting
The ceremonial raising of the Belizean flag is one of the main highlights of our Independence Day celebrations. It is also done at various police/state events. It has become a well-known practice, so much so that, many loath and overlook it as just another tedious formality. But there is so much significance in hoisting our flag, a symbol which embodies a rich historical narrative.

Today's lecture on National Symbols features the story of the Belizean flag. The Museum of Belize along with the University of Belize held the lecture at the Bliss Center. It is the first lecture of a series that will focus on a number of topics.

Alexis Salazar, Director Museum of Belize & House of Culture
"We decided to have our first lecture series, one in what will hopefully be many and this is one is based on people getting to know what their national symbols are so we decided to look at the coat of arms and the development of the Belizean flag."

The Belizean flag specifically the Coat of Arms went through a number of changes over the years. The design of the Belizean flag as it was in the 1800's was different from the flag we have today. In a video presentation prepared by NICH, Manolo Romero explained his involvement in

Manolo Romero, Managing Dir. Of Belize.com Ltd.
"The concern at that time was that the person who was suppose to be a Mestizo Belizean was actually a Caucasian both in skin color and features. And we came up with what we believe was a proper rendition of a mestizo."

The men in the coat of arms is just one of the features that was changed over time. But the most significant change came in early 1981. There was a competition to decide on what the flag and national symbols for an Independent Belize would be, Inez Sanchez Sr. submitted his design of the flag and won.

Inez Sanchez Sr., Co-designer of Belizean Flag
"The government then, the Belizean government decided they would hold an open completion to design a flag, and for the coat of arms and for the symbols."

"I went to Mr. Waight and I said Mr. Waight, I understand that there is problems in getting enough designs because they didn't want only just one design. I said I am not an artist and you are not an artist but why don't we do something historical."

And they did. Their design is what our flag is today. According to the director of the Museum of Belize, it is through these stories that people, especially the younger generation truly become one with their identity.

Alexis Salazar, Director Museum of Belize & House of Culture
"Our main goal is to spread and valorize Belizean heritage, Belizean culture, Belizean history and this is one of the ways of doing it. There is a lack of that Belizean identity and people having that respect for the flag and I think we need to start from students."

The next lecture series will be on the Caste War.

Channel 7