George M. Newell Flagpole Dedication
July 18, 2010
From Earlene Arnett, Director: "Today we gather to dedicate this flagpole in memory of George Newell. How fitting today is July 18th, the birthday of George. He was not only dedicated to his family and job, but also his community and his country. So not only is the day appropriate but dedicating this flagpole represents George's passion to fight for what he believed in. The SCPL Board of Trustees, library staff, and Friends of the SCPL are honored to be a part of this recognition."
We wish to extend a special thank you to all who contributed in order to make this special dedication happen.
Flag History by Chuck Witt
"Our current American flag had many antecedents, including flags with snakes and trees on them and the first flags carried into battle by Americans were regimental or colony flags. Flags and pennants were originally carried in battle as a means of conveying commands.
During the American War for Independence, not only were regimental and colony flags carried, but an American flag sporting the familiar red and white stripes was used. This flag, called the Continental Colors had in the upper left corner a smaller version of the British flag (called the Union Jack). It seems odd now that, for two years of that war, American forces carried a flag with the emblem of their opponent. The Union Jack is today part of the state flag of Hawaii.
On June 14, 1777, the Continental Congress adopted the standard flag consisting of 13 stripes and 13 stars. When Vermont was added to the union in 1791 and Kentucky in 1792, the configuration of the flag was changed to 15 stripes and 15 stars. This flag would remain the official flag for the next 23 years, until in 1818 when the Third Flag Act stipulated that, henceforth, the official flag would contain 13 stripes and a new star added for each state.
It is almost universally conceded now (despite American mythology) that Betsy Ross did not sew the first American flag. It was not until the late 1800s that her descendants began an effort to have her recognized as the first flag sewer.
When the American Civil War began, President Lincoln refused to have the number of stars changed to reflect the secession of the southern states, so union forces continued to carry a 34 star flag throughout the conflict.
As more states entered the union, the number of stars continued to rise until, in 1912, that number reached 48. The 48-star flag was flown until 1959 at which time two stars were added for Alaska and Hawaii. The 48-star flag flew for 47 years.
In 2007, the 50-star flag finally became the design which has flown longer than any other national flag. The 50-star flag was designed by a Columbus, Ohio 17-year old high school junior named Robert Heft as part of an American history project. He received a B-minus for the project. His teacher told him that if Congress accepted the design, he would change the grade to an A. Heft took the flag to his congressman, who delivered it to a committee appointed by President Eisenhower to select a 50-star design. The committee submitted 5 designs to the President for final selection and Heft's was chosen.
A few interesting milestones:
--The Star Spangled Banner was written in 1814 but did not become the official National Anthem until 1931.
--The Pledge of Allegiance was written by a Baptist minister in 1892 but was not recognized by the federal government until 1942. In 1954 the words "under God" were added.
--The Flag Code, put together primarily by the American Legion in 1923 and 1924 was not made into law until 1942.
--The June 14th Flag Day Commemoration was instigated in 1885 but did not receive Presidential sanction until 1949."
**Information from Leepson, Marc. Flag: An American Biography. New York: Thomas Dunne Books. 2005.