The 2004 commemorative Iowa quarter-dollar pays homage to Iowa’s great artist son, Grant Wood, and the prairie school house, with a motto for Iowa, “Foundation in Education.” Wood’s painting is “Arbor Day,” showing students and a teacher planting a tree outside a one-room schoolhouse. Image from the Littleton Coin Company.
Iowans fly their flags today in celebration of the anniversary of Iowa statehood. Iowa’s admission to the Union came on December 28, 1846; Iowa is the 29th state admitted.
American Flag, Spencer, Iowa, 1996 – caption from the National Geographic Society: A man rolls up U.S. flags at the end of the Clay County Fair in Spencer, Iowa. “Although the population of Spencer is only about 12,000, the fair draws some 300,000 visitors. Once a year, rising from the endless flatness of the Iowa countryside, a crowd forms—to stroll, to hear big country music acts like the Statler Brothers, to sell a grand champion boar, to buy a new silo.” (Photographed on assignment for, but not published in, “County Fairs,” October 1997, National Geographic magazine) Photograph by Randy Olson; copyright National Geographic Society. Just a great photo.
From Dayton Daily News: Jeff Duford, curator for the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, with a flag that flew on the U.S.S. St. Louis in Hawaii during the attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. The same flag flew aboard the U.S.S. Iowa in Tokyo Bay on September 16, 1944, as Japan signed instruments of surrender aboard the U.S.S. Missouri. [This flag was displayed for one day at the museum, on Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day 2016.]
December 7 is a two-fer flag-flying day.
By public law, December 7 is Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, and Americans fly the U.S. flag in memory of those who lost their lives at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. U.S. flags should be flown at half-staff.
In 1787 Delaware quickly and promptly elected delegates to the former colony’s convention to ratify the Constitution proposed at the Philadelphia convention just over three months earlier. The ratification of the Constitution won opposition from strong factions in almost every state. Pols anticipated tough fights in New York, Virginia, and other states with large populations. They also expected other states would wait to see what the bigger states did.
Delaware didn’t wait. On December 7 Delaware became the first of the former British colonies to ratify the Constitution. Perhaps by doing so, it guaranteed other states would act more favorably on ratification.
Because Delaware was first, it is traditionally granted first position in certain ceremonies, such as the parades honoring newly-inaugurated presidents. Delaware’s nickname is “The First State.”
In Delaware and the rest of the nation, fly your flags on December 7, 2016. If you can, fly your flag at half-staff to honor the dead at Pearl Harbor; if you have a flag on a pole that cannot be adjusted, just fly the flag normally.
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.
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:
Delaware, December 7 (1787, 1st state) (shared with Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day)
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)
Christmas Day, December 25
Iowa, December 28 (1846, 29th state)
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. “Jack” Schmitt. Image Credit: NASA
Spread the word; friends don't allow friends to repeat history.
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.
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:
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)
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.
Residents of North Dakota and South Dakota should fly their U.S. flags today in honor of their 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?
Dakotans, fly your flags today in honor of statehood.
A giant American flag is unfurled at Wrigley Field before World Series Game 3, October 28, 2016 (Cubs won the Series, remember?) Will 2017’s World Series push into November for the first time? Wikimedia Commons image
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 23.
Did I say eight? 2017 is an election year in many states, like Texas; 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.
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 eight events.
In calendar order for 2017, 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 7 (several states)
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?
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.
The photograph by Senior Airman Dennis Sloan, above, may suggest a suitably spooky theme for flying Old Glory on Halloween. While you are free to fly your flag on any day, Halloween, a religious or holy day for Christians, Celts and perhaps a few others, is not designated by Congress as a day to fly the flag. If you fly it at night, it must be lighted, as is the flag in the photograph.
We've been soaking in the Bathtub for several months, long enough that some of the links we've used have gone to the Great Internet in the Sky.
If you find a dead link, please leave a comment to that post, and tell us what link has expired.