The Chicago city flag’s sky-blue bars and red stars are everywhere in this city.

There’s a website devoted to pictures of Chicago Flag Tattoos. The flag is on T-shirts, hats, messenger bags, guitars, golf balls, coffee mugs, pillows, shower curtains and bars of soap. Sometimes, the standard is distorted into new shapes—shamrocks, hearts, pizza slices—or its stars are replaced with sports logos.

As reporter Elliott Ramos suggested in a 2011 post for WBEZ, Chicago’s love affair with its flag seems to have taken off in the 1990s, with an influx of young adults into the city. Michael, a kickball player featured on the Chicago Flag Tattoos website, explains why he felt compelled to have the flag permanently emblazoned on his arm: “After moving to Chicago and living here for a few years, Chicago really kind of took a place in my heart, so I thought it’d be a good thing to do.”

Read the whole story at Chicagomag.com