Sunday, November 18, 2012

The Gettysburg Address: 273 Good Words

"Four score and seven years ago ..."

You know these words, don't you? 

They are the first words in one of the shortest, most famous, and most beloved speeches ever given.

On November 18, 1863, President Lincoln traveled by train to the Gettysburg, Pennsylvania battleground to deliver a speech at the Soldiers National Cemetery to recognize the war dead – from both sides – from the three day battle of Gettysburg.

Link to Pres. Lincoln's White House bio
That speech was only 273 words and Lincoln was not even the main speaker that day. The big draw was a famous speaker of the time, Edward Everett, and he spoke to the crowd for two (apparently very long) hours. Lincoln came after that terribly long speech so maybe the crowd that stayed that day also came to hear the President. 

The photo below shows Lincoln on the speaker's stand at Gettysburg. It was taken by Mathew [sic] Brady and is in the National Archives. It is considered quite rare and is one of only three known photos from the ceremony in which we think Lincoln can be viewed. This photo actually is a sectional blow up of the speaker's stand.  Here are the three photos.

Rare photo: Lincoln at Gettysburg by Mathew Brady. (
There are five, known, hand-written copies of The Gettysburg Address. The Library of Congress' has two. One of these copies is called the Nicolay copy and is considered to be the actual copy of the speech that Lincoln pulled from his pocket and read from. 

You can view the Nicolay copy here.

The Gettysburg Address:

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not hallow -- this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Let it fly!

Union Civil War flag kept the stars of all the states.

Monday, November 12, 2012

South Dakota's State Flag: Designed by Father and Son

The official flag of South Dakota.
South Dakota is the 40th state. It's statehood date in November 2, 1889. It's flag is distinctive in terms of its clear colors, uncrowded symbols, and the fact that it originally was designed by a father and then, years later, revised by his son.

In 1909, when it had been a state for just 20 years, South Dakota designed its first state flag. Doane Robinson, president of the South Dakota Historical Society, designed the flag with Senator Ernest May. It featured a large sun on one side and the Montana State Seal on the other side. Robinson was a newspaper editor, historian, and school teacher. He is credited with being a driving force behind Mount Rushmore.

Fifty-four years later in 1963, the flag was redesigned by Doane Robinson's son, Will. Will Robinson combined both images into the new flag's design so that the state seal is featured in the center of a light blue field. The seal, which dates to 1885 and the South Dakota Constitutional Convention, has a yellow border of sun rays surrounding it. The state name is above and the state nickname, the Mount Rushmore State, is below.

An alternate version of the South Dakota flag with the sun symbol, State Seal, and original state motto.

The original South Dakota flag, c. 1909, had two sides. One side had the sun emblem and the other, the State Seal. "The sunshine state" was the original state motto but as it became better associated with Florida, the state motto was changed to the completely distinct, Mount Rushmore State.

Let it fly!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Nevada, "Battle Born" on Oct. 31, 1864

Nevada state flag
October 31, 1864 is the date of Nevada's statehood. Nevada is the 36th state.

Nevada's statehood date is on Halloween, a fact not lost to school children studying the history of Nevada.  It makes it a magical kind of date that is probably pretty easy to remember. 

At the time, Halloween was not at all the Main Street holiday. Looking back at the date and the history with modern eyes, however, we can see the birth of the 36th state as being "battle born," just like the state flag claims. I guess that is one way of saying that Nevada was born out of a cauldron of heated debate with many of the prime "characters" occupying the seats of state as well as federal government.

In terms of national debate, 1864 was extra special as it also was an election year. Just like the 2012 election, several of the same topics were defining the national debate: war (civil), morality (slavery), and the economy (of both the industrialized North and the agricultural South). 

Like many territories that became states in this era, there was a divvying up of who would be slave and who would be free. The issue of Nevada's statehood is generally described as being one that was hurried through Congress right before the November election. 

One interesting fact is that territories wanting statehood had to have a state constitution. Nevada's constitution was approved by Nevada voters on September 7, 1864. To speed things up, it was sent by telegram, a 19th century version of email. This particular telegram is considered to be the longest telegram ever sent up to that time ( It also was the most expensive costing, in 1864 money, $3,416.77.

Nevada has had four state flags during its history. The first design was in 1905 (by Gov. John Sparks and Cabinet member, Col. Henry Day). The flag was redesigned in 1915 (by Clara Crisler) and in 1929 (by Don Louis Shellback). The current Nevada state flag was designed in 1991 (by Verne R. Horton).

The 1905 flag included a blue field with the name Nevada centered in the middle. (Nevada, by the way, comes from the Spanish meaning "snow covered.") The word "gold" was above the state name, and the word "silver" was below it, representing Nevada's rich, mineral history. Because it was the 36th state, there were 36 stars in either gold or silver.
Nevada's Crisler state flag

The Crisler state flag included the state seal and 36 gold and silver stars plus a 37th whose symbolism proved confusing in historical and vexillological terms.

For more information about Nevada, visit the Nevada State Legislature online

Let it fly!
sources: Nevada State Legislature,,, and

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Columbus Day Trivia Quiz

Officially, Columbus Day is October 12. We thought it might be fun to see what you know about Christopher Columbus.

Commemorative stamps (c. 1892) of Columbus' voyage.
 The answers to the quiz are below. Have fun!

1. What country do historians generally believe was Columbus' native country?
a. Spain
b. Italy
c. Portugal
d. Morocco

2. Under the flag of which country did Columbus sail?
a. Spain
b. Italy
c. Portugal
d. France

3. What was Columbus looking for?
a. gold
b. slaves
c. new land for an expanding Europe
d. a new way to China and India

4. How many voyages did Columbus make to the New World?
a. 1
b. 2
c. 4
d. 6

5. What year did Columbus sail to the New World?
a. 1792
b. 1692
c. 1592
d. 1492

6. When Columbus set sail, most Europeans believed the world was flat and that his ships would fall off. 
a. true
b. false

7. Within 10 years of discovering the New World, Columbus was arrested and brought back in chains to Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand. Why?
a. for bringing new diseases to Europe 
b. for mismanagement of Royal monies
c. for enslaving people
d. a and b
e. a and c
f. all of the above

8. Columbus is the first explorer to discover the New World.
a. true
b. false

9. The first time Columbus Day was officially celebrated in the US was which year?
a. 1692
b. 1792
c. 1892
d. 1992

10. Which World's Fair celebrated Columbus' voyage?
a. The 1893 Chicago World's Fair: The Columbian Expo
b. The 1893 World's Fair in NYC
c. The 1892 World's Far in Madrid, Spain
d. The 1892 Washington, DC, World's Fair: Exposition of the 3 Americas

Let it fly!

Visit USFlagstore's Columbus Day Sale and save 15% off of any purchase – and that's in addition to what's on sale! Use coupon code Columbus15.
Thomas Moran's painting of the Chicago World's Fair (Brooklyn Museum)

1. b. Italy. Genoa, to be exact.
2. a. Spain
3. d. A new way to India and China which would have lead to increased trade with those countries and more wealth so "a" also could be considered correct.
4. c. 4 The last voyage was after his arrest – and his pardon by King Ferdinand.
5. d. 1492
6. a. True
7. F. all of the above.
8. False. The Viking Leif Ericson is considered to have discovered the New World c. 1000 A.D. He landed in Canada.
9. c. 1892, the 400th anniversary of Columbus' landing in the New World. President Harrison made it a federal holiday. 
10. a. The 1893 Chicago World's Fair: The Columbia Expo. It was incredible! It had the first ferris wheel and the fairgrounds were electrified at night!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Columbus Day: What Columbus & Shakespeare Have in Common

In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue.
He sailed and sailed and sailed and sailed
to find this land for me and you.
~ children's song, traditional

Christopher Columbus!

Depending on your age, you either learned Columbus was a great visionary or an equally great imperialist. One shared view of Columbus, however, is that it took tremendous courage to make that first voyage upon a sea that was believed to be so flat – a flat plate upon which only the most daring would brave sailing off its distant edge.

Columbus made not one bur four trips to the New World.  The first of these journeys left Spain on October 12, 1492. This is the day that has been celebrated in the New World since colonial times. Imagine that. By the time the United States made Columbus Day an official, federal holiday (1937), the discovery of the New World had been celebrated throughout many parts of the world for well over 400 years.

etching of Columbus claiming the New World for Spain
Born in Genoa, Italy in 1451, Columbus had sailed the Atlantic many times prior to his famous voyage with the Santa Maria, the Niña, and the Pinta. His original goal was to find new route to Asia, heading west over the water. A voracious reader of geography and theology (Library of Congress), Columbus not just an adventurer, but an educated man – an educated man with a vision.

Upon his return to Spain and given his original agreement with Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand, Columbus was knighted, given a coat-of-arms, the titles of Admiral of the Sea and Viceroy of the Indies, and 10% of the riches he claimed in Spain's name.
Christopher Columbus' coat-of-arms

But within the space of  less than 10 years, the Crown would charge Columbus with gross mismanagement and abuse of authority. In 1500, he was arrested and put in chains. He lost his titles permanently, and much of his wealth. In 1504, however, Spain was willing to fund Columbus' fourth and final voyage to the New World.

Columbus died two years later in Spain. His death, however, was not the end of his journey. His body, though originally buried in Spain, was moved to what is now known as the Dominican Republic. In the 18th century (1795), they were moved to Cuba. In 1898, they were returned to Spain. 

It is generally accepted that Columbus died believing he had discovered a route to Asia.  And just like Shakespeare, there is no known contemporary portrait of him. Yes, we do not really know what Columbus looked like.

Let it fly!

Friday, September 14, 2012

The Star-Spangled Banner: The Complete Lyrics

The original star-spangled banner (The Smithsonian)
The Star-Spangled Banner
Lyrics by Francis Scott Key
Music by John Stafford Smith

O! say can you see by the dawn’s early light,
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming,
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight,
O’er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there;
O! say does that star-spangled banner yet wave,
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe’s haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o’er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning’s first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines in the stream:
’Tis the star-spangled banner, O! long may it wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion,
A home and a country, should leave us no more?
Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps’ pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave:
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave,
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

O! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war’s desolation.
Blest with vict’ry and peace, may the Heav’n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: “In God is our trust;”
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

The originals ...
The Smithsonian Institute in Washington, DC houses what remains of the original flag that Francis Scott Key saw wave in the morning light after the battle at Fort McHenry. Although the flag has been restored, it remains very fragile. Was all this damage from the battle? Yes and no. Bits and pieces of the flag were given away in the years that followed, a custom similar to people collecting bits of the Berlin Wall.

To see Key's original notes, the first published broadside of the poem, or to learn more about the events that inspired the song (Key was "a guest" on a British warship at the time he wrote it), check out this link to The Smithsonian. It is the best around. No kidding.

The National Anthem Project
Did you know people are forgetting the national anthem? Some people never even learn it. 

Early sheet music (Photo: web archive)
Perhaps you, dear reader, are asking the question why learning the anthem is important. It is a legitimate question. 

The simple answer is that anthems make community. Think of all the songs you and your friends know and love – not patriotic songs but the songs you grew up with. Think of how those songs make you feel. They have the power to remind you of your friends, of significant times in your life, and of deep feelings.

Anthems, like so many other symbols, are symbols that unite one person to another. A national anthem becomes a shared heritage that every one of us owns. 

The National Anthem Project is an effort by The National Association for Music Education to keep the anthem alive and well and includes resources for teaching the anthem.

A historic replica of the Star-Spangled Banner (

Let it fly! collects the history behind The Star-Spangled Banner and other patiotic songs. If you have stories to tell, please share them with us!

To find find out how to fly the flag and other flag etiquette, see USFlagstore's  Flag Etiquette 101 and USFlagstore's How to Fly the Flag at Half-Staff.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Patriot Day: Remembering September 11

Patriot Day is a national day of remembrance honoring the victims of September 11, 2001. 

Photo by Michael Pendergrass, US Navy
 While Patriot Day is not a "federal holiday" (requiring schools and government offices to close), it is a "discretionary holiday" (at the annual discretion of the president).

To celebrate Patriot Day, President Obama asks us to do two things:

Observe a moment of silence at 8:46 a.m. (Eastern time), the time of the first attack – on the North Tower of the World Trade Center.

Fly the flag at half-staff at home, at work, and on government property.

Link to how to fly the flag at half-staff.
The difference between Patriot Day and Patriots Day

Drawing of 1 WTC
Patriot Day should not be confused with Patriots Day, a holiday in honor of "the shot heard round the world," the Revolutionary battles of Lexington and Concord. Patriots Day occurs the third Monday in April. 

Patriot's Day is a state holiday in Massachusetts and Maine as Maine originally was part of Massachusetts Bay Colony. Generally, it is celebrated with parades and re-enactments of that first battle of the Revolution.

One World Trade Center (1 WTC)

One World Trade Center or 1 WTC was originally called Freedom Tower. It is scheduled to be completed in 2013. 

When it is finished, it will be the tallest building in the entire western hemisphere and one of the three tallest building in the world. From the ground to the top of its spire, it will stretch to 1,776', a height designed to remind the world and ourselves of the American Revolution. 

Like its original name, Freedom Tower, it will be a bold statement about strength and resilience. 

1 WTC will be over 2 million square feet. It will be a landmark not just in physical structure or symbolism but also in its construction: It will use recycled rainwater, renewable energy, recycled construction materials, and natural light. It was designed by the architect David M. Childs of the firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (NYC). Childs is a graduate of the Yale School of Architecture and a Fellow of the Design Futures Council.

Future tenants include the NY/ NJ Port Authority, the US General Services Administration, and publisher Condé Nast (publications include Vogue, The New Yorker, and Architectural Digest). Condé Nast has rented over 1 million square feet (25 floors).

To find out more about One World Trade Center, click here.

The National 9.11 Memorial Museum
"In remembering the victims of the attacks and honoring those who went to their rescue, the Museum will explore the very real impact of terrorism in the lives of very real people, and their families, friends, colleagues and communities. ... This Museum will do nothing less than underscore the absolute illegitimacy of indiscriminate murder."
~ Museum Director Alice Greenwald
The infinity pool at the 9.11 Memorial Museum
The Museum is dedicated to fighting terrorism and hate through memory and education.  Exhibits examine the September 11 attacks and also look beyond them. They examine the nature of terrorism and hate and also how to fight it: the importance of helping others, about the place art has as a cathartic response to tragedy, and, of course, how to talk to children about these topics. 
To explore lesson plans and educational goals, click here

To explore museum exhibits, click here.
Let it fly!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Eisenhower Presidential flags

The 50-star presidential flag
Every president also has a presidential flag. This includes the Seal of the office made into a flag. Traditionally, the Seal includes a ring of stars, one star for every state.

President Eisenhower's tenure in the White House was unique in terms of presidential flags. While Eisenhower was in office, the flag grew from 48 stars (Arizona) to 49 and 50, representing Alaska and Hawaii, respectively. 

Eisenhower is the only president to serve under three distinct presidential flags. This press release is about an exhibit at the Museum of Flags which will be displaying all three of the flags that the president used.


Historic Flags of the Eisenhower Oval Office on Display
August 9, 2012
from the House of Flags Museum

Columbus, NC – For the first time in history all six original flags from the White House during President Eisenhower’s administration will be together in a single exhibit from October 10 to 13 in Columbus, North Carolina. Dwight D. Eisenhower, the 34th President of the United States (1953 to 1961), was the only President in our Nation’s history to serve under three different President’s flags. The exhibit includes 48-star, 49-star, and 50-star President’s flags and the corresponding U.S. colors. The 50-star U.S. flag on display is the actual flag unveiled in the White House Cabinet Room when Hawaii became our 50th state.

The flags are on loan from a private collection and from the Eisenhower Museum and Library in Abilene, Kansas. Historic 1940s and 1950s photographs of the hand embroidery flag making process from the U.S. Army Quartermaster Museum at Fort Lee, Virginia will also be on display along with other press photos of Alaska and Hawaii statehood events.

One of a kind – The 49-star President’s Oval Office flag, hand made at the US Army Philadelphia Quartermaster Depot in 1958, will be on public display for the first time since leaving the White House in 1960. This priceless hand embroidered silk President’s flag featuring 49 stars may be the only one of its kind ever made. The 49-star flag was official for only one year – July 4th 1959 to July 4th 1960.

Rare two-sided needle-painting hand embroidery techniques are used to create these beautiful blue silk flags featuring a life-like eagle grasping olive branches and arrows with rays and clouds above; a red, white, and blue shield; plus a scrolled motto E Pluribus Unum surrounded by a circle of stars corresponding to the number of States. The perfectly mirrored designs are identical on both sides of the flag – the back side being seen only after the flag is complete. All three President’s flags are truly unique hand embroidered works of art with hand tied gold and silver precious metal fringe.

A limited engagement – This historic four-day exhibit is planned for October 10th through October 13th 2012 at the House of Flags Museum in Columbus, North Carolina. Admission is free and donations are always appreciated. The museum is fully handicap accessible.
Alaska's  49-star flag celebrated with AL governor, Bob Bartlet (center) and Pres. Eisenhower (back row, far right)

Let it fly!

Friday, August 10, 2012

The Missouri State Flag: The West Starts Here

The Missouri state flag contains a field of three stripes in the red, white and blue of the national flag. It also holds two grizzly bears, 24 stars, a helmet and a crescent moon pointing up, towards the heavens.
The Missouri state flag

In short, it holds the symbolic history of a new state born out of conflict from new territory. Here is the history of the Missouri state flag. 
 Morals — all correct moral laws — derive from the instinct to survive. Moral behavior is 
survival behavior above the individual level.   
~ Sci-fi author and Missouri native, Robert Heinlein

1860: the first Pony Express left St. Joseph, MO for Sacramento
In 1821, the year of its statehood, Missouri was at the crossroads of a geographic and political revolution.

Part of the wild west territory culled from Spanish and French colonial rule, this was where the debate over slavery was held in a constant and contentious balance:

Geographically, Missouri was at the very juncture where a growing nation had to decide if its burgeoning borders would be a land of the free or the enslaved.  

Politically, the math of legislative and economic power had carefully balanced the number of free states against the number of slave states. This could easily be upended if or when Missouri was accepted as a state.

In 1820, the wheel of fortune turned again when Maine applied for statehood (as a free state) and the Missouri Compromise was reached (making Missouri slave territory).

1820 map showing the 36/30 Parallel and the free/ slave states (Map: PBS)
The Compromise was a patchwork attempt to appease both sides as it defined the territory on one side of the 36° 30' parallel (what would become Kansas) to be free and territory on the other side (Missouri) to be slave. The fact that Missouri was a borderland – of politics as well as geography – was evident in the many and often dramatic legislative proposals that were put forth prior to and after the Missouri Compromise.

In 1821, when Missouri again applied for statehood (for the 8th time), it was granted.
Missouri painter Thomas Hart Benton's Boy and Dog and Farm

Some thirty years later, the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 (the concept of popular sovereignty) overrode the Missouri Compromise. It allowed for the settlers in Kansas and Nebraska to decide (to vote) for themselves if they would or would not allow slavery within their territory. This seems simple enough but it was a political tinderbox that fired such far-reaching discussion as the 1858 Lincoln-Douglas debates in Illinois.
In short: either you were for a version of self-rule (which made room for slavery) or you found the expansion of slavery impossible to condone (which gave the federal government the right to override laws allowing slavery in the new territories).

Mr. Dred Scott (Missouri Historical Society)
The Dred Scott Decision (1857) underscored the chaos and the tragedy of these times. In their decision, the Supreme Court ruled that:

1. the Missouri Compromise (which prohibited slavery in some of the new territories) was unconstitutional. 
2. African Americans – slave or free – were not citizens (nor eligible for citizenship).
3. because African Americans were not citizens, they (including children born on free land) had no ability to seek any protection under the law (to sue). 
4. Slaves were to be treated as physical property under the law. Specifically, a law (like the Missouri Compromise) could not free a slave from his/ her owner, even if the "slave" was living in "free" territory.

In practical terms, this meant that if you were free in one territory, you might not be free in another territory. Likewise, if you were a slave in one territory but had been living in a "free" territory and had raised children in that territory, your former master could claim you and your children – and you could do nothing about it because you did not have any rights as a citizen.

As the West was settled in the boom decades between 1820 and 1860, a harvest of political unrest was being planted that eventually would grow into the Civil War.

The Missouri state flag with its grizzly bears and crescent moon.
A new flag ...

After the Civil War and at the turn of the 20th century, the country was taking stock. It was at this time that the Daughters of the American Revolution began to sponsor state flag contests. The Missouri state flag is the result of the 1908 flag contest.

The state flag of Missouri was designed by Mrs. Marie Elizabeth Oliver, the chairperson of the local DAR search committee and the wife of Senator Robert Burett Oliver

A second Missouri state flag, one designed by Dr. G. H. Holcomb, had been under consideration but Oliver's design ultimately was chosen. In 1913, the Oliver flag became the official Missouri state flag.

The Missouri state flag consists of three, wide, horizontal, red, white, and blue stripes – the colors of the national flag. In the center is the Missouri state seal. This juxtaposition underscores the union between the state and the nation. Placing the seal at the center of the Missouri state flag also emphasizes Missouri's place in the middle of the nation.

Within the Missouri state seal there are 24 stars as Missouri is the 24th state. The largest star is supposed to represent the fact that Missouri became a state after rising above significant challenges. The grizzly bears and helmet are symbols representing the strength and fortitude of Missouri.

The crescent moon on the Missouri state flag can be read two ways: Its two points can indicate that Missouri is the second state to "grow" out of the new territory (from the Latin, cresare, to grow). In traditional heraldry, however, a crescent moon facing up, as this one does, generally indicates that this is a branch of a larger family. This would indicate Missouri as growing out of the new territories as well as being a part of the United States.    

There are two mottoes on the Missouri state flag. One is in English: United We Stand. Divided We Fall. Again, this emphasizes the importance of unity. The Latin motto, Salus populi suprema lex esto translates to "Let the welfare of the people be the supreme law."

Missouri native, President Truman, with the state animal, the mule. Why the mule? Aside from its role in building the West, the mule is strong, hardy, even-tempered, and nobody's fool!
Let it fly!

To find find out how to fly the flag and other flag etiquette, see USFlagstore's  Flag Etiquette 101 and USFlagstore's How to Fly the Flag at Half-Staff.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Colorado's State Flag

The Colorado State Flag ...
The Colorado state flag was designed by Andrew Carlisle Johnson and adopted in 1911. Over the years, there have been some modifications of the flag but they have served the purpose of clarifying its size, color and dimensions. The colors are the same colors as the national flag with 3 horizontal stripes forming the field (a white stripe is in-between the top and bottom blue stripes). Near the middle is a simple but easy-to-read, crimson "C". Inside the "C" is a gold disc, probably referencing Colorado's gold rush history.

The Colorado state flag.

The Colorado Historical society has an exceptional website @ for state history, state museums, and historic sites. It is informative as well as rich with events and programs, online exhibits as well as on location!

From Territory to State and on to Social Beacon
Colorado was brought into the United States as part of the Louisiana Purchase. In 1803 and between the years 1848 and 1850, it became a territory that fell under the jurisdiction of several other territories ( Indiana Territory, Louisiana Territory, Missouri Territory, Utah Territory, New Mexico Territory, Nebraska Territory and Kansas Territory.

Finally, on February 28, 1863, Colorado became its own Colorado Territory. In 1863, the first bill for Colorado's statehood was written. And vetoed. Between 1863-1873, Colorado's statehood petition was vetoed some 8 different times. 

On August 1, 1876, after strong support by President Ulysses S. Grant, Colorado became the 38th state.

Colorado's history is as rich as Colorado's gold rush. It contains a history of male and female pioneers. One of these early pioneers is Molly Brown, best known from the musical biography of her life, The Unsinkable Molly Brown.

The "unsinkable" and unstoppable Molly Brown

While the musical covers Brown's rags to riches story, her attempts to enter Denver society, and her surviving the sinking of the Titanic, it does not do justice to how serious she was about politics and social reform. In 1901, Brown ran for the state Senate (before women could even vote). She also was a vocal advocate for suffrage. (Colorado was the second state to pass suffrage. Wyoming was the first.)

Though Molly Brown and Mother Jones occupy two very different ends of the socio-political spectrum, both came together over Colorado mining/ labor law. It was the Ludlow Massacre, to be precise, which found the wealthy social progressive, Molly Brown, and the politically active firebrand, Mother Jones, defending miners' rights ... and undoubtedly annoying mine owner John D. Rockefeller with their criticism of him in the process.

Mother Jones actually was present at the fiasco that became the Ludlow Massacre; Brown subsequently raised relief for surviving victims of the massacre and advocated for reforms in mining labor law. And yes, that Mother Jones is the same Mother Jones for whom the magazine is named!

Let it fly!