This one is a straight reprint of short by Rod Boshart from The Journal's Des Moines bureau. Thanks, Rod:
A former National Guardsman serving in the Legislature wants to delete a reference to a citizen soldier “with a plow in his rear” from the Iowa seal, which appears on official state documents. House File 2028, sponsored by Rep. Ray Zirkelbach, D-Monticello, would correct a “malapropism” – the unintentionally humorous misuse of words – in the legal description of the great seal, which describes the citizen soldier as standing in front of a plow. The current legal description refers to a citizen soldier “with a plow in his rear” to describe the image of the soldier standing in front of a plow.
Zirkelbach’s bill would change the description to “the citizen soldier standing in front of a plow.” Zirkelbach’s co-worker at Anamosa State Penitentiary, counselor Steve Wendl, told him about the wording. Wendl, an Iowa history buff, had been aware of the peculiar language of the code for some time, but it was just a few months ago it came up in a conversation.
“We had a good laugh and I guess he decided to run with it,” Wendl said.
“I’m sure it sounded innocent enough back in the day, but to our modern ear it sounds a little funny,” he said. “I’m sure they meant well and the state has survived more than 150 years with it in there.”