I'm a bit of an Olympic addict. Every two years, I spend two weeks glued to the television watching whatever sports happen to be on, whatever countries are playing. Back when my sisters and I were still in school, we had a few traditions around the Olympics.
Each member of the family would pick a country to root for, and then research that country. We would read up on their facts, make a copy of their flag, and record all the medals that they got. While we were watching the opening ceremonies, Mommy would bring out the World Almanac and we'd read facts about all the little countries that no-one knew about. We had a whale of a time watching the opening and closing ceremonies, and catching all sorts of random sports on the tv!
So I decided to do a little of what we used to - pick a country, find their flag, and keep track of them through the Olympic games. This year, I've chosen Switzerland, since I have ancestors from there. We'll begin with their flag and some vital statistics about the country!
[caption id="attachment_372" align="alignright" width="260"] Gules, a cross couped argent.[/caption]
"The Swiss cross on a red field ultimately derives from a similar banner of the Holy Roman Empire, and thus has strong Christian connotations. The Swiss flag traditionally stands for freedom, honour and fidelity. (The motto "Honor et Fidelitas" was inscribed on the cross of several Swiss mercenary flags of the 18th century.) In modern times, through association with consistent Swiss policy, the flag has also come to denote neutrality, democracy, peace and refuge."
The Swiss flag is one of only 2 square sovereign-state flags, the other being that of Vatican City. Most flags are rectangular.
Switzerland (Swiss Confederation) Facts
Capital: Bern; 320,000
Area: 41,284 square kilometers (15,940 square miles)
Language: German, French, Italian, Romansh
Religion: Roman Catholic, Protestant
Currency: Swiss franc
Exports: Machinery, chemicals, metals, watches, agricultural products
26 cantons (similar to our states)