Friday, March 31, 2006

Flags of the Day

Today is Independence Day in the Republic of Georgia; and Republic Day in Malta. On this date in 1949 Newfoundland joined the Canadian confederation.

Animated flags provided courtesy of Pascal Gross.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Not a good signal

Many of us are sympathetic to folks who wish to come to America to find a better life. Many of us who are descended from immigrants of a century or two (or three) ago still cling to a fondness for the "mother countries" of our ancestors. However, most of us do not want to turn America into what our ancestral countries are or were. A visible symbol like this one at Montebello High School in Montebello, California, sends the wrong message altogether.

It should be noted, however, that this was not the act of students of that school.

"On Monday, March 27, 2006 at noontime, a group of students from neighboring school districts to the east of Montebello (i.e. El Rancho Unified School District and Whittier Union High School District) marched to Montebello High School (MHS). At this time, MHS was on lockdown and the students remained in their classrooms. The other students, from outside Montebello Unified School District, who were estimated to be 800-1000 strong, gathered outside the MHS campus. For a brief time, the school flag was lowered, replaced with a Mexican flag, and the American flag flown beneath, upside down. The California flag was subsequently stolen. It is important to emphasize that this was not the act of any Montebello High School student."

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Flags of the Day

Today is Commemoration Day in Madagascar; Youth Day/Martyr's Day in the Republic of China; Delaware Swedish Colonial Day; and Flag Day in Iowa. On this date in 1882 the Knights of Columbus received their charter. Today is the birthday of President John Tyler.

Animated flags provided courtesy of Pascal Gross.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Flags of the Day

Today is Election Day in Israel; and the birthday of Gen. Wade Hampton. It is also the memorial of St. Pope Sixtus III.

Animated flags provided courtesy of Pascal Gross.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Flag desecration bill introduced in Australia

While Bill Frist, MD, et al., are pushing forward an amendment to the US Constitution to allow the outlawing of flag desecration in the American federation, a bill to make it a federal criminal offence to destroy or damage their national flag is being considered by the parliament of the Australian federation.

Flags of the Day

Today is Armed Forces Day in Myanmar (Burma); and the feast of Saint Gelasius of Armagh.

Animated flags provided courtesy of Pascal Gross.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Flags of the Day

Today is Independence Day in Bangladesh. On this date in 1861, Mississippi became the fifth state to ratify the Constitution of the Confederate States of America. On this date in 1951, the flag of the United States Air Force was approved.

Animated flags provided courtesy of Pascal Gross.
US Air Force flag courtesy of FOTW.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Return of the Battle Flags

On this date in 1905, Captured Confederate flags held by the US War Department were returned to the Southern States.

Happy New Year!

Well, not really. It would have been if we still operated under the Julian calendar. But then, if we still operated under the Julian calendar, today would be April 13th.

Under the Julian calendar, March 25th was New Year's Day. The 25th is the feast of the Annuciation, marking the archangel Grabriel's visit to Mary to announce that she would become the Mother of the Messiah. When Mary answered "be it done unto me according to thy word", the Christ child was conceived in her by the Holy Ghost, the Word became flesh, and the Christian Era began. So, when the Christian method of dating years was invented in the 6th century, March 25 of the Year of Our Lord (Anno Domini) 1 was reckoned the beginning of the calendar.

Flags of the Day

Today is Independence Day in Greece; Memorial Day for the Victims of the communist genocide in Latvia; Maryland Day; and the Solemnity of the Annunciation.

Animated flags provided courtesy of Pascal Gross.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Flag salute passed by unanimous Senate vote

The Senate version of the bill to adopt an official salute to the Tennessee flag, passed by a unanimous vote in the Tennessee Senate yesterday.

Flags of the Day

Today is Agriculture Day in the United States of America; and the Commemoration of St Gabriel.

Animated flags provided courtesy of Pascal Gross.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Flags of the Day

Today is Memorial Day in Bolivia; Armed Forces Day in Laos; Independence Day in Lithuanie, and in Sudan; and Pakistan Day. On this date in 1861 Texas became the fourth state to ratify the Constitution of the Confederate States of America.

Animated flag provided courtesy of Pascal Gross.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Family discovers 75-year-old city hall flag in basement

"A 75-year-old union flag that once flew above Ottawa's second city hall has been recovered."

"The flag was flying above the old city hall, located on the present site of the National Arts Centre, when a fire destroyed the building in 1931."

Muslim Soldiers Refuse to Salute Flag

After three Muslim conscripts of the Austrian army refused to salute the Austrian flag at a parade and instead turned their backs on it, an imam was summoned to issue a fatwa stating that Muslims are allowed to salute the Austrian flag.

South Carolina governor given half-masting authority

When Rosa Parks died, President Bush ordered flags on Federal buildings lowered to half-mast on the day of her funeral. In Columbia, South Carolina, folks noticed that flags were not half-masted on State buildings. It was not that the governor intended to insult the memory of Mrs. Parks. The problem was that the South Carolina Code specified when the flag could be half-masted, and gave the governor no discretion to order it done at other times.

The legislature has passed a new law giving the governor much broader half-masting authority.

Flags of the Day

Today is Emancipation Day in Puerto Rico.

Animated flag provided courtesy of Pascal Gross.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Flags of the Day

Today is Benito Juarez's Birthday in Mexico; Independence Day in Namibia; Human Rights Day in South Africa; and Youth Day in Tunisia. It is also the Persian New Year, and the Commemoration of Saint Benedict. On this date in 1861, Louisiana became the third state to ratify the Constitution of the Confederate States of America.

Animated flags provided courtesy of Pascal Gross.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Thousands -- flying banned flag -- stage election protest in Belarus capital

From The Irish Times:

Thousands of opposition supporters took to the streets in the centre of the Belarus capital, Minsk, last night accusing the government of rigging elections after early results predicted a landslide victory for president Alexander Lukashenko.

Despite police road blocks around the city and in the city centre, a crowd of eight to 10 thousand mostly young demonstrators managed to get to October Square, some unfurling red and white banners which had been the national flag until Mr Lukashenko replaced it with a red and green flag in the 1990s.

"This is our national symbol, the real one," said 21-year-old Nastia Korotkaya, a student from Minsk.

Her friend, Pavel Krupsky (22), holding the other end of the banner, said: "We want a free government."

The protesters blocked traffic for a while, then moved to the steps of a theatre on the edge of the square. State television, which broadcast pictures of the president on a giant screen at the far end of the square, did not transmit pictures of the demonstration.

Protesters shouted "Free Belarus" and "Freedom". Asked about warnings from the Belarus security service, which retains its Soviet-era acronym the KGB, that they would treat such protests as "terrorism" both students said they were not afraid. "I think the police are with the people," said Ms Korotkaya.

She turned around to show me the empty backpack where she had hidden the flag. "We put it in there because otherwise the police would take it," said Mr Krupsky.

Across the square was evidence of careful planning for the rally. Groups of young people had smuggled flags into the square by wrapping them around their bodies. These were fitted to slender telescopic flag poles, which had been concealed in the trouser legs or under the jackets of the protesters.

"They say we are enemies, terrorists, I think this is terrible," said Mr Krupsky. "I don't believe in our constitution." Long before voting ended, two pro-government institutes had issued "exit polls" showing Mr Lukashenko capturing more than 80 per cent to about 4 per cent for his main rival.

Main opposition hopeful Alexander Milinkevich denounced the election as fraudulent. "The results will be unrealistic and falsified," Mr Milinkevich told reporters. "We will not recognise them and nor will democratic countries. This is already clear."

Mr Lukashenko, known as "batka" or father, tells Belarussians he has offered stability and remains popular among elderly and rural voters. The central elections commission said 81 per cent had cast ballots by 4pm (1400GMT), far above the 50 per cent mark needed to make the election valid.

Flags of the Day

Today is Oil Nationalization Day in the Islamic Republic of Iran; and Independence Day in Tunisia.

Animated flags provided courtesy of Pascal Gross.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Flags of the Day

Today is Youth Day in Zambia; and the Solemnity of St Joseph.

Animated flags provided courtesy of Pascal Gross.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Original "Old Glory" returns to Tennessee

NASHVILLE, TENN. -- The original 1820s Old Glory flag, made famous during the Civil War, is returning to Nashville for the first time in more than 100 years to be displayed at the Tennessee State Museum.

The exhibit, entitled Old Glory: An American Treasure Comes Home, is free to the public and will also feature various historic flags and replicas of famous U.S. flags. The Old Glory flag, which measures 10' x 17', is on loan to the State Museum from the National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution.

The nickname for the United States flag, Old Glory, was originally attached to a flag made in 1824 for a young sea captain, William Driver (1803-1886) from Salem, Massachusetts. When first gazing at the flag, Driver was supposedly moved to call it "Old Glory", a name he used to describe the flag throughout his lifetime.

Old Glory gained its notoriety during the Civil War when Driver, who had moved to Nashville in 1837 after his wife died, raised the flag at the State Capitol after Nashville was captured by the Union Army.

"We are extraordinarily proud to have Old Glory return to Nashville where its fame originated before spreading across America," said Lois Riggins-Ezzell, executive director of the Tennessee State Museum. "This is a singular opportunity to see a treasured artifact of Tennessee and U.S. history, and we hope the people of Tennessee and surrounding states will take advantage of this rare chance."

Old Glory was originally flown from Driver's merchant ship in the 1820s/1830s. When in Nashville, he hoisted it across the street at each national holiday and on his birthday of March 17. As the Civil War drew near and sentiment for the Confederacy grew in Nashville, Driver, a staunch Unionist, reportedly hid Old Glory by having it sewn into a quilt. The war divided Driver's family as two of his sons fought for the Confederacy, one being killed at the Battle of Perryville in October 1862.

In February 1862 Nashville became the first state capital in the Confederacy to fall to Union troops. Upon the arrival of Union soldiers, Driver removed Old Glory from its hiding place and flew it from the State Capitol.

The newspapers of the time ran stories of Old Glory being brought out of hiding. Before long, people began referring to all U.S. flags as Old Glory.

Originally a 24-star flag when it was created for Driver, Old Glory was re-sewn around 1860, adding 10 more stars for the states that had joined the Union after the flag was originally constructed. An anchor was also added on the canton of the flag, which referred to Driver's experiences as a sea captain.

Old Glory remained in the Driver family until 1922 when it was presented by his daughter, Mary Jane Roland, to President Warren G. Harding. The flag was in a very delicate condition, and it essentially remained in storage until 1981 when Tennesseans raised the funds necessary to begin conservation efforts.

A second stabilization effort was just completed on the flag so that it could be shipped from the Smithsonian in Washington, DC, and displayed at the State Museum .

The Tennessee State Museum is located at Fifth and Deaderick streets in downtown Nashville. It is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. The museum is closed on Mondays. Parking is available at paid lots during the week or free on weekends in state employee parking lots to the west of the State Capitol.

Lawmaker wants Tennesseans to honor state flag with salute

State Representative Tom DuBois (R-Columbia) wants a four-line rhyme professing pride and love for the Tennessee flag to be recited by the legislature for now, and maybe someday by schoolchildren pledging allegiance to the U.S. flag.

The text of the salute, as set out in House Bill 2874, is:
"Three white stars on a field of blue
God keep them strong and ever true
It is with pride and love that we
Salute the Flag of Tennessee."

Of course, the ACLU is not happy about it.

Government of Punjab province bans unauthorised use of Pakistani flag on vehicles

According to Punjab Law Minister Basharat Raja:
    only the president, prime minister, speakers and deputy speakers of the national and provincial assemblies, federal and provincial ministers, the Senate chairman, the Supreme Court chief justice, the chief election commissioner and provincial governors and chief ministers to fly the Pakistani flag on their official cars.

Battle flag returns to Perryville

The battle flag of the 18th U.S. Regulars has been donated to Perryville Battlefield State Historic Site in Kentucky.

Flags of the Day

Today is Flag Day in Aruba; National Day in Haiti; the birthday of John C. Calhoun; and the Memorial of St Cyril of Jerusalem.

Animated flags provided courtesy of Pascal Gross.