June 13, 2014

What do you know about Old Glory?

June 14 is the day our nation celebrates Flag Day.  When I think of Old Glory I remember being in elementary school and learning about Betsy Ross and her sewing skills. I also remember the picture in our fourth grade social studies book that showed a tattered but still-flying flag as an illustration next to the story
of how the national anthem came to be.

As an adult, preparing to write this blog entry about Flag Day, my curiosity was sparked.  Surely, there was a lot more to know about our nation's most iconic symbol than my grade school memories. So, where to go to learn some new information?  Why "to the stacks" of course, right here at Neill Library.  As the children's librarian, I'm a firm believer in the high quality of information available in juvenile nonfiction books.  The presentation is almost always thorough but succinct - which meets my needs precisely.

So, using the online catalog, I found American Flags: Designs for a Young Nation by Nancy Druckman and learned the following: Many historians consider Francis Hopkins, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, to be the designer of the first Stars and Stripes.  The original Pledge of Allegiance, written by Francis Bellamy, first appeared in a children’s magazine in 1892.  He wrote it to honor the 400th anniversary of Columbus’s voyage to America.  And finally, since 1942, the flag has been flown in all of America’s ports of entry. As a result, visitors from other lands and Americans returning home are welcomed by the symbol of freedom.  WOW!  As always, whenever I open a children’s book, I learn a lot.  Happy Reading!  Happy Flag Day!
Kathleen,
Children's Librarian

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