STATE SEAL AND MOTTO
On March 26, 1776, the Provincial Congress of South Carolina set up an independent government, electing John Rutledge, President. On April 2, 1776, the President and Privy Council were authorized by Resolution of the General Assembly "to design and cause to be made a Great Seal of South Carolina."
The principal designers were William Henry Drayton and Arthur Middleton.
President Rutledge used the Seal for the first time on May 22, 1777. The current seal is made up of two elliptical areas, linked by branches of the palmetto tree. The left oval is the palmetto tree with a fallen oak at the base. The right oval is the goddess Spes (Hope) walking on the beach at dawn over discarded weapons.
The State’s two mottos surround the two ovals. On the left is "Animis Opibusque Parati", meaning Prepared in Mind and Resources. On the right, "Dum Spiro Spero", meaning While I Breathe I Hope.
THE SWORD OF STATE
The Sword is a symbol for the South Carolina Senate and is placed in a cradle on the Senate rostrum whenever the Senate is in session. The current Sword was presented to the Senate on February 20, 1951, as a personal gift to South Carolina by Lord Halifax, former British ambassador to the United States, after learning of the theft of the original sword. The sword is made of steel and gold. The blade is etched with sprigs of yellow jessamine and the State Seal. The hilt has a pommel decorated with rossettes, the grip is wrapped with gold braid and the scabbard is covered in leather with brass fittings.
This sword replaces the cavalry sword that was used after the Sword of State disappeared from the Senate rostrum in 1941. The cavalry sword was presented on March 5, 1941, and is carried in the Senate Journal of that date as follows:
The South Carolina House of Representatives Mace is the oldest legislative mace in use in the United States. A Mace is the emblem of authority for the House of Representatives. It has been the custom every day, since 1880, upon the opening of session, for the Sergeant-at-Arms to bear the mace ahead of the Speaker and lay it upon its specially prepared rack on the Rostrum in front of the Speaker. The Mace remains on its rack until recess or adjournment. When the House and Senate meet in a Joint Assembly, the Mace is always borne at the head of the procession.
THE HONOR AND REMEMBER FLAG
Act Number 237 of 2012 designated the Honor and Remember Flag as the Official State Emblem of the Service and Sacrifice by those in the United States Armed Forces who have given their lives in the line of duty.
THE STATE FLAG
The General Assembly adopted the current version of South Carolina’s flag on January 28, 1861. This version added the Palmetto tree to the original design by Colonel William Moultrie in 1775 for use by South Carolina troops during the Revolutionary War. Colonel Moultrie chose a blue color which matched the color of their uniforms and a crescent which reproduced the silver emblem worn on the front of their caps.
The palmetto tree symbolized Colonel Moultrie's heroic defense of the palmetto-log fort on Sullivan's Island against the attack of the British fleet on June 28, 1776.
By statute the flag shall be displayed "upon the inside of every public school building in this State so that all school children shall be instructed in proper respect for the flag," and daily except in rainy weather, from a staff upon the State House and from a staff upon each County Courthouse. The State Flag is also to be displayed in accordance with rules set by the State Superintendent of Education, on the grounds of educational institutions supported in whole or part, by funds derived from the State. It is also prescribed that any person who mutilates, injures or desecrates the State Flag, wherever displayed, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of not more than $100 or by imprisonment for not more than 30 days or both.