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Antique American flags link our history

A thirteen star flag from the Bridgman collection.
A thirteen star flag from the Bridgman collection.

Antique American flags link our history to the present. Antique American flags and other textile memorabilia were featured this summer in Town & Country magazine. Antiquities dealer Jeff Bridgman showcased some of his rarest pieces and provided commentary on them in this Town & Country article.

While there are variations on the Stars and Stripes, which changed in number throughout the 19th Century as new states joined the union, the mix also includes a rare colorful militia flag designed by Tiffany & Co. valued at $350,000, and the Declaration of Independence woven into a kerchief, circa 1826.

Want to see more flags? Here is a video from Vimeo that features Bridgman talking about antique American flags and other textiles.





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The Daily Flag News—October 22, 2008

The Daily Flag presents a great trio of flag stories today, across the nation from the east coast to our western-most state (where I would like to be, because I love Kona coffee, and those creamy Macadamia nuts drenched in chocolate, swaying palm trees, aqua-white surf on a brilliant sun-lit beach … oh yeah, I could produce The Daily Flag from there).



Our town’s colorful history (or where did we find that black and gold?)

By Patricia Lowry, Sunday, February 26, 2006


Hey there, you in the black-and-gold sweat shirt, jacket, baseball cap, socks and probably underwear: Any idea why you’re not wearing, say, red and black or blue and white?

Well, says you, Pittsburgh’s colors are black and gold.

Right, but have you any idea why?

Not a clue, says you.

Then allow me to buy you one: One hundred and seven years ago this week, a committee of Pittsburgh councilmen rejected blue and white, red and black, and a number of other chromatic pairs and settled on black and gold as appropriate colors for the city flag.

Post-Gazette Illustration by Stacy Innerst. 

For the rest of this educational story, go to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Hat Tip to TDF Friend Fred Goodwin of San Antonio, for this colorful story.


DKH_35What’s the story behind Hawaii’s flag?

by Chris Bailey,  October 21, 2008



is_that_the_flagYou ask. We answer.
Pat Duffus of Clearwater, Florida writes: What is the story behind the Hawaiian flag? When I see it I am reminded more of Britain than Hawaii. Is there a Hawaiian flag that precedes it?

Pat’s right about the British connection. King Kamehameha I flew a British flag throughout his kingdom in the late 18th century, given to him as a token of friendship from fellow ruler King George III.
However, during the War of 1812, an American flag was raised over Kamehameha’s home to placate American interests. It was soon removed after British officers in Kamehameha’s court opposed to it.

Instead, Kamehameha commissioned a new flag—one that incorporated elements of both nations.

For the rest of this story, go to HAWAI’I MAGAZINE.COM.

By the way, I’m bookmarking this magazine website. They have volcano news!



Flag flying again, thanks to precision steeplejack

By DeAnn Smith, October 22, 2008

O’ say, does that Star-Spangled banner yet wave, o’er the land of the free and the home of the Kansas City Council? Yes it is does again today after being MIA for three-plus months. All thanks to a third-generation steeplejack who flew in yesterday from California.

O’ say, does that Star-Spangled banner yet wave, o’er the land of the free and the home of the Kansas City Council? Yes it is does again today after being MIA for three-plus months. All thanks to a third-generation steeplejack who flew in yesterday from California.

The wind was blowing hard. A news chopper hovered overhead as a clutch of rooftop spectators stared up as Jim Phelan swayed on a flagpole 520 feet above the street.

It took about 90 minutes but when Phelan was done, the 15-by-10-foot Old Glory was waving again atop the roof at City Hall for the first time in months.

Photography by Todd Feeback for the Kansas City Star

For the rest of this dizzying story, more photographs, and video, go to the Kansas City Star

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Who loves ya, baby! (I do)

Some big flags here, and 1,215 little flag patches (at least). There are shorter versions of this occasion available on the Internet, but I thought it would be good to show all 34 minutes. From the Operation Freedom Mass Reenlistment Ceremony on the Fouth of July, 2008, in Baghdad, Iraq. Please notice that the Color Guard has an Honor Guard on each end—the U.S. flag is always protected.

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Presenting the Colors—how to conduct a flag ceremony indoors

Yesterday I received an email through the contact page asking:

Can you tell me if there is a ceremonial procedure for carrying the flag from one end of a room to another for posting prior to the start of a meeting?

I sent an answer to CD, but my response bounced right back to me. There’s a server problem on the other end, and CD may not even know it. I want to answer here, and hope that CD sees it.

We often think that we need people in uniforms (Boy Scouts, ROTC, et cetera) to present the colors, and certainly that is a traditional and customary way to do it, but any of us can present the colors. I’m sure the Daughters of the American Revolution must do their own flag presentations. To my knowledge, there are no specific rules within the U.S. Code on how to present the colors. So this is my suggestion, and it relies heavily on military tradition and instructions for Boy Scout.

The person in charge of the event should ask all there to please stand. "All rise," and when everyone is standing (who are able), then "Color Guard, please present the colors."

The U.S. flag is always carried aloft and free, never flat or horizontally. If the U.S. flag is the only flag carried, it should have an honor guard to its left, or two honor guards, one on each side.

When carried with other flags, as in a straight line abreast, the U.S. flag is carried on its own right side—all the way to the right—of other flags.

Sometimes when a lot of flags (usually five or more) are carried, then the U.S. flag is positioned in the center and in front (one or two steps) of the other flags, or the other flags are carried slightly lower than the U.S. flag so that the U.S. flag is prominent.

DKH_21If a state flag is presented too, then the state flag is positioned to the immediate left of the U.S. flag, then civic, club, or corporate flag to the left of the state flag (and those are determined by chronological order of their historic or original charter—just like state flags).

As the color guard comes down the approach, the flag stands having been pre-positioned, the party will slow or even come to a stop. The U.S. flag goes first, turning left and crossing in front of the other flags and is placed first into the flag stand, then the other flags go in order after that.

Frequently the U.S. flag will be on the one side (the right side as it faces the audience) of the stage or platform, with the state flag on the other side, but they don’t have to be separated. Just remember that the U.S. flag is always to the right of the arrangement when in final position and facing the audience.

Usually in a group setting, everyone will salute the flag at the beginning and hold it until the flags are returned to the flag stands (and Boy Scouts will be given the order to salute), but if the venue is large, then one salutes the flag as it passes abreast of your position, and holds the salute until the flag has cleared your position.

All the usual and customary rules apply for saluting.

In a Boy Scout flag ceremony, the Scouts will recite the Pledge of Allegiance before "posting" the colors, or putting the flag back into the flag stand. The color guard will be facing the audience and the person in charge of the event will say (for example), "Will you please join me in the Pledge of Allegiance." When finished, the flags will be inserted into the flag stands.

But the flags could be placed first, and then recite the Pledge. Depending on the ceremony, someone might be invited on-stage to lead the Pledge, which would be a lovely way of giving special recognition.

Here is an entry on The Daily Flag from February 5, 2008, that links to a color guard ceremony in Hawaii that is uncomplicated and beautiful.

The image used above comes from

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A story for Flag Day: Bob Heft on New Glory—The story of Old Glory

Bob Heft designed our 50-star flag in 1958 as a class project when he was seventeen, and a student in Lancaster, Ohio. Here is his incredible and charming story—in his own words.

NOTE: This video runs for over 48 minutes, and Bob doesn’t start speaking until about 32 seconds on the clock, so be patient with the black screen.