Virginia Beach has a rich and vibrant history, so when symbols were chosen to represent the city, elements were chosen that represented the area’s natural beauty, native plant life and seaside environment. Virginia Beach was recognized by the Guinness Book of Records as the largest pleasure beach in the world.
City Flag: Council accepted the design for a new city flag on Jan. 11, 1965. The design was chosen by a three-member flag committee. The flag design was modeled after the state flag, solid blue background with the official city seal placed in the center.
City Flower: Native American Lotus, officially called the Neiumbo Lutea - Native to the Sandbridge area (Lotus Garden Park) of Virginia Beach, this yellow wildflower bloomed profusely during the early and mid-20th century. The tubers, leaves and seeds served as an important food source for Native Americans. The Lotus is protected and is illegal to tamper with or pick the flowers or plants.
City Motto: "Landmarks of our Nation’s Beginnings" - Element in the City Seal.
City Seal: The City Seal, designed by Mrs. H. Ashton Williamson, Jr. of Oak Grove, bears the motto, “Landmarks of Our Nation’s Beginning.” The Seal is comprised of leaping marlins which form its outer edge and represent sport fishing, boating and other water activities. Strawberry leaves create an inner circle representing the importance of agriculture. In the center of the Seal, the Cape Henry Lighthouse and Cross mark the first landing of settlers on this nation's soil, and the bright sun and blue water join the beach to indicate the importance of tourism as well as the pleasures of nature available to Virginia Beach residents and visitors.
This design is the official seal for the city. Papers issued with municipal authority and requiring the seal of the city must use this seal to be valid.
City Tree: The Live Oak was officially designated and adopted as the city's tree on March 2, 2004. The species, Quercus virginiana, is native to Virginia Beach, but is considered rare and uncommon in Virginia. Live Oaks are found naturally in maritime forests.
The Live Oak is recognized as a tree with many exemplary characteristics, including tenacity and survivability in harsh conditions, resilience to wind and saltwater spray, durability and strength of its wood, dense foliage and bountiful shade, high value acorn crop as food for many wildlife species, noble and evergreen appearance with massive horizontal branches and spreading shape, and a lifespan average several hundred years.
Nickname: The Old Dominion
State Bird: Virginia's state bird is the Northern Cardinal. The Northern Cardinal is a member of the finch family. It was chosen as our state bird because of its bright feathers and cheerful song.
State Dog: The state dog is the American Foxhound. The American Foxhound is a medium-sized dog trained to hunt foxes.
State Seal: The Great Seal of the Commonwealth has been in use since 1776. There are two sides of the Great Seal. The front side is called the obverse. The backside of the Great Seal is called the reverse. The great seal of Virginia is circular. In the center is a figure of Virtus, the goddess of virtue, dressed as a warrior. She holds a spear in her right hand, with its point held downward touching the earth. In her left hand is a sheathed sword pointing upward. Her left foot rests on the chest of the figure of tyranny, which is lying on the ground. Above the figure is the word “Virginia,” and under the figures is the state motto “Sic Semper Tyrannis” or “Thus Always to Tyrants.” The seal, designed by George Wythe, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, was first adopted in 1776 and modified in 1930.
State Flag: The State Flag of Virginia bears the Great Seal of the Commonwealth on a field of blue. The flag of Virginia contains the state seal in a field of blue. It was first used in the 1830s but not officially adopted until 1930.
The seal displays the State Motto, "Sic Semper Tyrannis," which is Latin for, "Thus Always to Tyrants."
State Flower and Tree: The state flower and tree is the American dogwood. The dogwood blooms in early spring. In 1918, the state floral emblem commonly known as the American dogwood (Cornus florida) was adopted.
House of Delegates Mace
The Mace is a ceremonial staff presented to the House of Delegates in 1700 by the Governor General of the Colony and Dominion of Virginia. Displayed in the old House chamber is an Edwardian style mace made of silver with a 24-karat gold wash. The importance of the mace lies in its symbolism, which derives from English tradition.
Senate of Virginia Seal
The Senate of Virginia adopted its Seal in 1981. The Seal of the Senate has a shield of armor in the center which is divided into four sections, representing the arms of four countries (England, France, Scotland, and Ireland) that contributed to Virginia's early history. The coats of arms, Queen Elizabeth, and the dragon (part of royal seal of England) represent Virginia's heritage. The ivory gavel represents the Senate as a law making body. The cardinal and dogwood depict are two of our state emblems. The ribbon contains the Latin motto of the Senate, which means "May the Senate of Virginia flourish."