LAST week the Black Country flag was raised above Dudley Town Hall to mark the beginning of preparations for Black Country Day on July 14 this year.
Councillor David Sparks, leader of Dudley Council, said: "Cornwall has a flag, Wales has a dragon, Scotland has its referendum and now we can proclaim that we are also a special place with a special culture.
"As the capital of the Black Country I hope Dudley borough people and organisations will show off the flag with great pride not only on July 14 but all year round."
And the deputy leader of the council, Councillor Pete Lowe, added: "All of us living and working in the area have plenty to be proud of and as the capital of the Black Country here in Dudley we are determined to ensure we celebrate who and what we are.
"I for one am delighted to see that we will have a Black Country Day to celebrate each year and want to help ensure that in 2014 as many people as possible join in celebrations to recognise the area's achievements. We have already received positive feedback from groups and traders about activities to mark the day in July and we will release further details in the coming weeks and months."
This raises some interesting questions. Firstly, the boundaries of the Black Country are notoriously imprecise, but would readers agree that Dudley can claim to be its "capital"?
Black Country Day was first held last year on July 14, but people could be forgiven for not knowing about it as the flag was raised on the head quarters of the Department for Communities and Local Government in London.
July 14 was chosen as the date for Black Country Day as it was the date in 1712 that Thomas Newcomen built the world's first steam engine at Coneygree, Tipton, an event that, arguably, began the Industrial Revolution.
The flag was the result of a competition organised by the Black Country Living Museum. The winning design was by Gracie Sheppard, a pupil at Red Hill School, Stourbridge.
Gracie's flag features a chain to represent the manufacturing heritage of the area while the upright triangular shape in the background recalls the iconic glass cones and iron furnaces. The red and black colours recall the famous description of the Black Country in 1862 by Elihu Burrit that it was "black by day and red by night" owing to smoke and industry fires.
Although Dudley Council has raised the flag in readiness for July, no definite plans are yet in place for how the day will be marked. However, The Black Country Living Museum will mark it over the July 12-13 weekend.
How do you think we should celebrate Black Country Day? Send your suggestions to editor@blackcoun trybugle.co.uk, write to 41 High Street, Cradley Heath, B64 5HL, or log on to www.blackcountry bugle.co.uk