Illinois flies flags December 3 for statehood

December 3, 2018

December 3 is the anniversary of the day Illnois was admitted to the union in 1818, the 21st state.

Under the U.S. flag Code, Americans should fly their U.S. flags on the statehood day of their state.

You flying ’em, Illinois?  If you’re in this area, you should be!

A U.S. flag flies in the Gold Coast neighborhood of Chicago, some time between 1980 and 2006. Part of Carol Highsmith's collection of American photographs at the Library of Congress.

A U.S. flag flies in the Gold Coast neighborhood of Chicago, some time between 1980 and 2006. Part of Carol Highsmith’s collection of American photographs at the Library of Congress.

At the American Memory site at the Library of Congress, we get a good, brief dose of the events leading to statehood.

Illinoisans are big on flag flying. "Chicago (north), Illinois. Mrs. Alice Burns, who sings on the local radio station, leading the singing of the national anthem at a neighborhood flag dedication ceremony." Flag dedication ceremony honoring people serving in the military from that block, 1942. Library of Congress image. Jack Delano, photographer, November 1942.

Illinoisans are big on flag flying. “Chicago (north), Illinois. Mrs. Alice Burns, who sings on the local radio station, leading the singing of the national anthem at a neighborhood flag dedication ceremony.” Flag dedication ceremony honoring people serving in the military from that block, 1942. Library of Congress image. Jack Delano, photographer, November 1942.

Next date for flying U.S. flags is a two-fer, December 7, for Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, and for Delaware’s statehood. Delaware was the first colony to ratify the Constitution on that December day in 1787.

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December’s dates to fly Old Glory, 2018

December 1, 2018

U.S. flag flies at the U.S. Capitol in a snow storm. Photo by Victoria Pickering, Creative Commons license, from Flickr

U.S. flag flies at the U.S. Capitol in a snow storm. Photo by Victoria Pickering, Creative Commons license, from Flickr. (This photo was actually taken in March.)

November offers several flag flying days, especially in years when there is an election.

But December may be the month with the most flag-flying dates, when we include statehood days.

December 7 is Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.  It’s not in the Flag Code, but public law (P.L. 103-308) urges that the president should issue a proclamation asking Americans to fly flags.

December 25 is Christmas Day, a federal holiday, and one of the score of dates designated in the Flag Code. If you watch your neighborhood closely, you’ll note even some of the most ardent flag wavers miss posting the colors on this day, as they do on Thanksgiving and New Years.

Other dates?

Nine states attained statehood in December, so people in those states should fly their flags (and you may join them).  Included in this group is Delaware, traditionally the “First State,” as it was the first colony to ratify the U.S. Constitution:

  • Illinois, December 3 (1818, 21st state)
  • Delaware, December 7 (1787, 1st state)
  • Mississippi, December 10 (1817, 20th state)
  • Indiana, December 11 (1816, 19th state)
  • Pennsylvania, December 12 (1787, 2nd state)
  • Alabama, December 14 (1819, 22nd state)
  • New Jersey, December 18 (1787, 3rd state)
  • Iowa, December 28 (1846, 29th state)
  • Texas, December 29 (1845, 28th state)

December 15 is Bill of Rights Day, marking the day in 1791 when the Bill of Rights was declared ratified; but though this event generally gets a presidential proclamation, there is no law or executive action that requires flags to fly on that date, for that occasion.

Eleven flag-flying dates in December.  Does any other month have as many flag flying opportunities?

Have I missed any December flag-flying dates?  11 events on 10 days (Delaware’s statehood falls on the anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack).

At least one site lists Pan American Aviation Day, December 17, as a date to fly the flag. It’s the anniversary of the Wright Brothers’ first flight at Kittyhawk, North Carolina, and it’s a date U.S. law says should be commemorated — but flag flying is not one of the listed ways. Unless a president calls for flag flying, it’s not an official date. (Always, you can fly the flag any day, or every day.)

Here’s a list of the December days to fly the flag, under national law, in chronological order:

  1. Illinois, December 3 (1818, 21st state)
  2. Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, December 7 (flags fly half-staff)
  3. Delaware, December 7 (1787, 1st state) (shared with Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day)
  4. Mississippi, December 10 (1817, 20th state)
  5. Indiana, December 11 (1816, 19th state)
  6. Pennsylvania, December 12 (1787, 2nd state)
  7. Alabama, December 14 (1819, 22nd state)
  8. New Jersey, December 18 (1787, 3rd state)
  9. Christmas Day, December 25
  10. Iowa, December 28 (1846, 29th state)
  11. Texas, December 29 (1845, 28th state)

Fly your flag with respect to the flag, for the republic it represents, and for all those who sacrificed that it may wave on your residence.

And if you travel for the holidays? You’re away from home?

Astronauts Eugene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt took a flag with them when they visited the Moon in December 1972. Maybe you could carry a small travel flag, too.

NASA caption: Apollo 17 commander Eugene A. Cernan is holding the lower corner of the American flag during the mission's first EVA, December 12, 1972. Photograph by Harrison J.

NASA caption: Apollo 17 commander Eugene A. Cernan is holding the lower corner of the American flag during the mission’s first EVA, December 12, 1972. Photograph by Harrison J. “Jack” Schmitt. Image Credit: NASA

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November 2018 days for flying the flag

November 1, 2018

A polling place in Glasgow, Kentucky, in 2016. Photo by Kevin Willis, WKU Public Radio.

A U.S. flag flies at a polling place in Glasgow, Kentucky, in 2016. Photo by Kevin Willis, WKU Public Radio.

Nine events spread over seven 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 22.

Did I say eight? 2018 is an election year for Congress; we fly flags at polling places on election day, so that makes nine events. You may fly your flag at home on election day, too. (Yes, flags should be flown at all early polling places, on days of early voting, too — do you know of poll where that did not occur? Tell us in comments.)

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 seven days covering nine events.

In calendar order for 2018, 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 6 (Congress and several states) — Go vote!
  • 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 22 in 2018)

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

More:

Polling station in South Carolina. SCETV image.

Polling station in South Carolina. SCETV image.

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October 2018 dates to fly Old Glory

October 18, 2018

Solidarity with the United States:

Solidarity with the United States: “Tel Aviv city hall, lit up in the colors of the American flag to honor the victims of the mass shooting in Las Vegas, on October 2, 2017. (AFP Photo/Jack Guez)” – From the Times of Israel

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 received Congress’s designation for flag-flying.

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

  • Columbus Day, October 8 —  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 2017, October 8 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.

(Yes, I’m getting to this late this year; it’s an election year, you know.)

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.

October 6 is German-American Day, whose history I do not know.

October 27 is also the birth date of Theodore Roosevelt (1858), the Secretary of the Navy who led the dramatic updating of the fleet that preceded the U.S. push to become a major international power. Navy Day was set on October 27 partly to honor Teddy’s work, and Teddy himself — the “birth” date of the U.S. Navy is considered to be October 7. Here’s a brief history of TR before his presidency, at the Miller Center, written by Sidney Milkis.

Fans of Roosevelt may get an little extra kick flying the flag on his birthday.

Other notable stuff:

More:

Fourth grade students practice U.S. flag etiquette with the help of National Park Service Rangers at Sagamore Hill National Historic Site in New York. Sagamore Hill, at Oyster Bay, was the home of Theodore Roosevelt and his family. National Park Service Photo

Fourth grade students practice U.S. flag etiquette with the help of National Park Service Rangers at Sagamore Hill National Historic Site in New York. Sagamore Hill, at Oyster Bay, was the home of Theodore Roosevelt and his family. National Park Service Photo

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September 2018: When to fly the the U.S. flag

August 31, 2018

ARLINGTON, VA - SEPTEMBER 11: In this U.S. Navy handout, sunrise at the Pentagon prior to a ceremony to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks. The American flag is draped over the site of impact at the Pentagon. Photo by Damon J. Moritz

Caption from Foreign Policy Magazine: ARLINGTON, VA – SEPTEMBER 11: In this U.S. Navy handout, sunrise at the Pentagon prior to a ceremony to commemorate the 2016 anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks. The American flag is draped over the site of impact at the Pentagon. Photo by Damon J. Moritz

September features few dates to fly the U.S. flag in an average year. Labor Day is the only national holiday. Only California joined the union in a past September, so that’s the only statehood date. Gold Star Mothers Day had fallen out of regular honors, until our two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

School reform efforts after 2000 turned to adding patriotism to the curriculum. Most states now require something be said about the Constitution in social studies classes, and that has increased focus on Constitution Day on September 17. On September 17, 1787, the convention in Philadelphia signed and formally transmitted the proposed Constitution to the 2nd Continental Congress, with a plan that each state would call a convention of citizens to ratify the document; when citizens of at least 9 states ratified, the document entered into force.

Attacks on the U.S. on September 11, 2001, led to a new day honoring patriots, on that day of the month every year.

The dates are few, but the sobriety and somberness are great.

Here are the dates to fly the U.S. flag in September 2018. In order:

More:

The largest free-flying American flag in the world flew over the George Washington Bridge Monday, Sept. 2, 2013, in Fort Lee, New Jersey, for Labor Day. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey said the flag flew on Labor Day under the upper arch of the bridge’s New Jersey tower, to honor working men and women across the country. The flag is 90 feet long by 60 feet wide, with stripes measuring about five feet wide and stars about four feet in diameter. (AP Photo/Mel Evans) (via Mowry Journal)

The largest free-flying American flag in the world flew over the George Washington Bridge Monday, Sept. 2, 2013, in Fort Lee, New Jersey, for Labor Day. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey said the flag flew on Labor Day under the upper arch of the bridge’s New Jersey tower, to honor working men and women across the country. The flag is 90 feet long by 60 feet wide, with stripes measuring about five feet wide and stars about four feet in diameter. (AP Photo/Mel Evans) (via Mowry Journal)

 

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August 2018: Mark your calendars to fly the flag

July 31, 2018

From Harper's Magazine:

From Harper’s Magazine: “Raising the American flag over Fort Santiago, Manila, on the evening of August 13, 1898.” From Harper’s Pictorial History of the War with Spain, Vol. II, published by Harper and Brothers in 1899.

August in the U.S. is a lazy, often hot, summer month.  It’s a month for vacation, picnicking, local baseball games, camping, cookouts and beach vacations.  It’s not a big month for events to fly the U.S. flag.

Except, perhaps, in Olympics years, when the U.S. flag is often flown a lot, in distant locations. About 50 percent of photographs of the U.S. flag flying in August features an American Olympic athlete. 2018 is not an Olympics year.

Only one event calls for nation-wide flag-flying in August, National Aviation Day on August 19.  This event is not specified in the Flag Code, but in a separate provision in the same chapter U.S. Code.  Three states celebrate statehood, Colorado, Hawaii and Missouri. Will the president issue a proclamation to fly the flag for National Aviation Day?

Put these dates on your calendar to fly the flag in August:

  • August 1, Colorado statehood (1876, 38th state)
  • August 10, Missouri statehood (1821, 24th state)
  • August 19, National Aviation Day, 36 USC 1 § 118
  • August 21, Hawaii statehood (1959, 50th state)

If Texans want to fly their flags for the children’s returning to school on August 15, no one will complain.

You may fly your U.S. flag any day. These are just the suggested days in law.

More:

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Flag Day 2017! (Fly your flag all week)

June 14, 2018

Of course you know to fly your flag on June 14 for Flag Day — but did you know that the week containing Flag Day is Flag Week, and we are encouraged to fly the flag every day?

Clifford Berryman's 1901 Flag Day cartoon, found at the National Archives:

Clifford Berryman’s 1901 Flag Day cartoon, found at the National Archives: “In this June 14, 1904, cartoon, Uncle Sam gives a lesson to schoolchildren on the meaning of Flag Day. Holding the American flag in one hand, Uncle Sam explains that the flag has great importance, unlike the Vice Presidency, which he ridicules in a kindly manner. (National Archives Identifier 6010464)”

Our National Archives has a blogged history of Flag Day pointing out it was a teacher who started Flag Day celebrations.

On June 14, 1885, Bernard J. Cigrand placed a 10-inch, 38-star flag in a bottle on his desk at the Stony Hill School in Ozaukee County, Wisconsin. The 19-year-old teacher then asked his students to write essays on the flag and its significance to them. This small observance marked the beginning of a long and devoted campaign by Cigrand to bring about national recognition for Flag Day.

And so we do, today, still.

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