Fly your flag on Thanksgiving 2016

November 23, 2016

You’re planning for the big day, the big turkey (or vegan equivalent), you’re wondering how to time everything . . .

Just a reminder to patriots and sunshine patriots that Thanksgiving is one of those days designated in the U.S. Flag Code as a day for citizens to fly Old Glory. Plan to put your flag out early, you won’t have to worry about it all day.

There was a time when people actually sent Thanksgiving cards; few keep up that tradition. Image from Pacific Paratrooper.

There was a time when people actually sent Thanksgiving cards; few keep up that tradition. Image from Pacific Paratrooper.

It’s a great time to recall that the purposes of Thanksgiving usually start with expressing gratitude to and with all of our neighbors, as a means of binding us together as a community, a people, and a nation. And sometimes, an entire world, as cartoonist Joseph Keppler imagined.

Joseph Keppler's

From the Library of Congress collection: Joseph Keppler’s “A Thanksgiving Toast,” Puck magazine, November 30, 1898. “Caption: Puck Gentlemen, your health! I am glad to see from your bea[…]ing faces that you share the high aspirations of our friend, the Czar, for Universal Peace. Here’s to you all! Illus. from Puck, v. 44, no. 1134, (1898 November 30), centerfold.”

(More explanation from the Library of Congress: Print shows Puck standing on a chair at the head of a large dinner table, offering a Thanksgiving toast to those seated around the table, including “England, France, Germany, [Japan?], Russia, Austria, Italy, Turkey, Uncle Sam, Puerto Rico, Hawaii, Brazil, [and] Mexico”. Most of the European countries, as well as Mexico and Brazil, are glaring at their neighbors, with the exception of Russia where Nicholas II attempts to look pious. Turkey appears to be trying to stifle laughter. Uncle Sam seems to be the only one enjoying the toast. Puerto Rico, holding an American flag, and Hawaii are expressionless.)

 

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Oklahoma statehood, November 16, 1907; Oklahomans fly your flags today

November 16, 2016

U.S. Flag Code urges citizens of states to fly the U.S. flag on the anniversary of statehood.

President Theodore Roosevelt signed the Oklahoma statehood proclamation on November 16, 1907. Oklahoma became the 46th state, with New Mexico and Arizona to come later to fill out the contiguous 48 states.

Mike Wimmer's 2003 painting of President Theodore Roosevelt's signing of the proclamation that made Oklahoma a member of the union. Oklahoma Arts Council image.

Mike Wimmer’s 2003 painting of President Theodore Roosevelt’s signing of the proclamation that made Oklahoma a member of the union. Oklahoma Arts Council image.

Oklahoma’s pre-history is long, complex and fascinating; the road to statehood is similarly complex and winding, lined with broken promises to Native Americans, tragedy and other drama. Does the state require Oklahoma history be taught in public schools?

Fly your flags today, Sooners!

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Front page of the Daily Oklahoman on November 16, 1907, anticipating President Roosevelt's proclamation to come that morning. Daily Oklahoman image.

Front page of the Daily Oklahoman on November 16, 1907, anticipating President Roosevelt’s proclamation to come that morning. Daily Oklahoman image.

 

From Jeff R. Bridgman Antiques: 46 star American national flag, made in the period between 1907 and 1912, in small and desirable scale. The 46th state, Oklahoma, joined the Union on November 16th, 1907, during Teddy Roosevelt’s presidency. Roosevelt had many friends in the Oklahoma Territory from his Rough Rider days, and pushed it through to statehood. The 46 star flag became official on July 4th, 1908 and remained so until July 3rd, 1912. Many 46 star flags were made earlier, however, in great anticipation of the future addition of the state, which had previously been appointed to Native Americans.

From Jeff R. Bridgman Antiques: 46 star American national flag, made in the period between 1907 and 1912, in small and desirable scale. The 46th state, Oklahoma, joined the Union on November 16th, 1907, during Teddy Roosevelt’s presidency. Roosevelt had many friends in the Oklahoma Territory from his Rough Rider days, and pushed it through to statehood. The 46 star flag became official on July 4th, 1908 and remained so until July 3rd, 1912. Many 46 star flags were made earlier, however, in great anticipation of the future addition of the state, which had previously been appointed to Native Americans.

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Celebrating Veterans Day 2016

November 11, 2016

A teacher asked on Twitter yesterday for sources of information to set up a curriculum for Veterans Day, and I sent a few suggestions (and got thanked!).

Teachers watching through the day probably saw several sources pop up on the internet that they wished they’d had last week, to plan for this week.

For one, I didn’t post the Veterans Administration’s annual Veterans Day poster, and it’s a very nice one this year:

Veterans Day poster for 2016. Look carefully, you'll see the names of past military engagements in which veterans may have fought, in the background behind the very sharp photo of the head of a bald eagle, our national symbol.

Veterans Day poster for 2016. Look carefully, you’ll see the names of past military engagements in which veterans may have fought, in the background behind the very sharp photo of the head of a bald eagle, our national symbol.

In world history or U.S. history, I usually stop for the day to talk about the origins of Veterans Day in Armistice Day, the day the guns stopped blazing to effectively end fighting in World War I. For several reasons, including mnemonic, the treaty called for an end to hostilities on the “11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month” of 1918. Your state’s history standards probably has that phrase somewhere, but the history behind it is what students really find interesting.

Original documents and good history can be found at the Library of Congress online collections.

The Allied powers signed a ceasefire agreement with Germany at Rethondes, France, at 11:00 a.m. on November 11, 1918, bringing the war later known as World War I to a close.

President Wilson proclaimed the first Armistice Day the following year on November 11, 1919, with the these words: “To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…” Originally, the celebration included parades and public meetings following a two-minute suspension of business at 11:00 a.m.


Co. E, 102nd U.S.A. Curtiss Studio, photographers, c1917. Panoramic Photographs. Prints & Photographs Division

Between the world wars, November 11 was commemorated as Armistice Day in the United States, Great Britain, and France. After World War II, the holiday was recognized as a day of tribute to veterans of both wars. Beginning in 1954, the United States designated November 11 as Veterans Day to honor veterans of all U.S. wars. British Commonwealth countries now call the holiday Remembrance Day.

Online holdings of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) provide rich sources of information on America’s military, and on veteran’s day. NARA leans to original documents a bit more than the Library of Congress. For Veterans Day 2016, NARA featured an historic photo form 1961:

 President John F. Kennedy Lays a Wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier as part of Veterans Day Remembrances, Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia, 11/11/1961 Series: Robert Knudsen White House Photographs, 1/20/1961 - 12/19/1963. Collection: White House Photographs, 12/19/1960 - 3/11/1964 (Holdings of the @jfklibrary)

NARA caption: President John F. Kennedy Lays a Wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier as part of Veterans Day Remembrances, Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia, 11/11/1961 Series: Robert Knudsen White House Photographs, 1/20/1961 – 12/19/1963. Collection: White House Photographs, 12/19/1960 – 3/11/1964 (Holdings of the @jfklibrary)

For teachers, that page also features this:

For Veterans Day, explore the many resources in the National Archives about veterans and military service.

(Well, actually it’s for everyone. But teachers love those kinds of links, especially AP history teachers who need documents for “Document-Based Questions” (DBQs).

On one page, the Veterans Administration makes it easy for teachers to plan activities; of course, you need to start some of these weeks before the actual day:

For Teachers & Students

Hope your Veterans Day 2016 went well (remember to bring in your flag at home!).

Get ready for Veterans Day 2017 — the 11th day of the 11th month.

 

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President Obama’s Veterans Day Proclamation, 2016

November 11, 2016

A message written by First Lady is seen on a U.S. Marine Corps flag at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., April 4, 2012.

A message written by First Lady is seen on a U.S. Marine Corps flag at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., April 4, 2012. From a White House blog post, “5 Ways You Can Thank a Veteran.”

Fly your U.S. flags today for Veterans Day.

From the office of the Press Secretary of the White House:

The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release, November 08, 2016

Presidential Proclamation — Veterans Day, 2016

VETERANS DAY, 2016

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

A PROCLAMATION

America has long stood as a beacon of hope and opportunity, and few embody that spirit here at home and beyond our borders more than the members of our Armed Forces. Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen are part of an unbroken chain of brave patriots who have served our country with honor and made tremendous sacrifices so that we may live free. On Veterans Day, we salute the women and men who have proudly worn the uniform of the United States of America and the families who have served alongside them, and we affirm our sacred duty as citizens to express our enduring gratitude, both in words and in actions, for their service.

Our country has the best-trained and best-equipped military force in the world, and we need to make sure we have the most supported and respected veterans in the world. We are a Nation that leaves no one behind, and my Administration has made historic investments to provide veterans access to the resources and education they need to share in our Nation’s promise when they return home. Partnering with community leaders across America, First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden’s Joining Forces initiative works to ensure our country’s heroes can thrive by combatting veteran homelessness, promoting their emotional well-being, and advancing employment training and placement — and we have made great progress. Today, the unemployment rate for veterans is lower than the national average, and veteran homelessness has been nearly cut in half since 2010. We also recognize that some of these courageous men and women have faced and overcome profound challenges, both physically and emotionally, in defense of our freedom. We must continue to provide high quality health care to our veterans and make sure they have the support they have earned and deserve.

The example our Nation’s veterans set throughout their lives is a testament to the drive and perseverance that define the American character. Let us uphold our obligations to these heroic individuals and never forget those who paid the ultimate price for our liberty. On this day and throughout the year, may we sustain their lasting contributions to our Nation’s progress and carry forward their legacy by building a future that is stronger, safer, and freer for all.

With respect for, and in recognition of, the contributions our service members have made to the cause of peace and freedom around the world, the Congress has provided (5 U.S.C. 6103(a)) that November 11 of each year shall be set aside as a legal public holiday to honor our Nation’s veterans.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim November 11, 2016, as Veterans Day. I encourage all Americans to recognize the valor and sacrifice of our veterans through appropriate public ceremonies and private prayers, and by observing 2 minutes of silence for our Nation’s veterans. I call upon Federal, State, and local officials to display the flag of the United States and to participate in patriotic activities in their communities. I call on all Americans, including civic and fraternal organizations, places of worship, schools, and communities to support this day with commemorative expressions and programs.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this eighth day of November, in the year of our Lord two thousand sixteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-first.

BARACK OBAMA

First Lady Michelle Obama, in support of the Joining Forces initiative, greets members of the military following remarks at Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar, Nov. 3, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)

First Lady Michelle Obama, in support of the Joining Forces initiative, greets members of the military following remarks at Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar, Nov. 3, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)

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2016’s Dakota statehood days – fly your flags

November 2, 2016

North Dakota's commemorative quarter depicts the American bison, perhaps the quintessential prairie symbol.

North Dakota’s commemorative quarter depicts the American bison, perhaps the quintessential prairie symbol.

South Dakota's commemorative quarter interestingly focuses on human alterations to the area -- the carved presidential busts on Mt. Rushmore, wheat introduced by immigrant farmers, and the Chinese pheasant, an exotic species introduced for hunting.

South Dakota’s commemorative quarter interestingly focuses on human alterations to the area — the carved presidential busts on Mt. Rushmore, wheat introduced by immigrant farmers, and the Chinese pheasant, an exotic species introduced for hunting.

Residents of North Dakota and South Dakota should fly their U.S. flags today in honor of your states’ being admitted to the union, on November 2, 1889.

Most sites note simply that both states were admitted on the same day; some sites, especially those that lean toward North Dakota, claim that state is Number 39, because President Harrison signed their papers first, after shuffling to avoid playing favorites.

Does anyone really care?

How much do you really know about the Dakotas?

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November 2016 dates to fly the flag

November 1, 2016

An election day in Philadelphia, 1815. Display of the national flag runs to the earliest days of the U.S. republic.

An election day in Philadelphia, 1815. Display of the national flag runs to the earliest days of the U.S. republic. “John Lewis Krimmel, ELECTION DAY AT THE STATE HOUSE, (1815). Courtesy the Historical Society of Pennsylvania”

Eight events spread over six different days come with urgings to fly the U.S. flag in November: Six states celebrate statehood, Veterans Day falls as always on November 11, and Thanksgiving Day on November 24.

Did I say eight? 2016 is a federal election year; we fly flags at polling places on election day, so that makes nine events — but election day falls on Montana’s statehood day, so it’s still just six days. You may fly your flag at home on election day, too.

Two states, North Dakota and South Dakota, celebrate their statehood on the same date. Washington’s statehood day falls on Veterans Day, November 11 — so there are only six days covering eight events.

In calendar order for 2015, these are the seven days:

  • North Dakota statehood day, November 2 (1889, 39th or 40th state)
  • South Dakota statehood day, November 2 (1889, 39th or 40th state) (shared with North Dakota)
  • Election day, November 8 (nationwide)
  • Montana statehood day, November 8 (1889, 41st state)
  • Veterans Day, November 11
  • Washington statehood day, November 11 (1889, 42nd state) (shared with Veterans Day)
  • Oklahoma statehood day, November 16 (1907, 46th state)
  • North Carolina statehood day, November 21 (1789, 12th state)
  • Thanksgiving Day, fourth Thursday in November (November 24 in 2016)

Most Americans will concern themselves only with Veterans Day and Thanksgiving Day. Is flying the U.S. flag for statehood day a dying tradition?

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Yes, this is mostly an encore post. Fighting ignorance requires patience.

Yes, this is mostly an encore post. Fighting ignorance requires patience.

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October 2016 dates to fly U.S. colors

October 4, 2016

Roosevelt look-alike Pietro Casini, an Italian merchant. Casini stands outside his Magazzino Roosevelt shop in Florence, Italy, holding a U.S. flag and a photo of Roosevelt. Oct. 26, 1915. George Grantham Bain Collection, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division. via Pinterest

Roosevelt look-alike Pietro Casini, an Italian merchant. Casini stands outside his Magazzino Roosevelt shop in Florence, Italy, holding a U.S. flag and a photo of Roosevelt. Oct. 26, 1915. George Grantham Bain Collection, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division. via Pinterest

October is not a big month for dates to fly the U.S. flag.  Only one state joined the union in October, and only two other dates have merited Congress’s designation for flag-flying.

Here are October’s three flag-flying days, in chronological order:

  • Columbus Day, October 12 —  tradition puts Columbus Day on October 12, but in law it is designated as the second Monday in October (to make a three-day weekend for workers who get a holiday); in 2016, October 10 is the second Monday of the month.
  • Navy Day, October 27
  • Nevada Statehood Day, October 31; Nevada joined the union during the Civil War, in 1864, the 36th state.

Federal law also designates October 9 as Leif Erickson Day, a concession to Scandanavian-descended Americans who argue Erickson beat Columbus to the Americas by a few hundred years. Congress’s recognition does not include an urging to fly the flag, though the President may issue such a proclamation.

Other notable stuff:

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