Thursday, July 31, 2014

Marinus Willett Birthday

Today we celebrate the birthday of one of the leaders of the Sons Of Liberty, Marinus Willett. Willett participated and also led in many battles throughout the Revolutionary War, eventually becoming a New York state assemblyman, then sheriff and later mayor of New York City. We fly the Sons Of Liberty flag today in his honor.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

New York Statehood

Today is Statehood Day for New York, which became the 11th state to adopt the Constitution on this day in 1788. New York City was the national capital until 1790, and was also the site of George Washington's first inauguration as President.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Birthday of Henry Knox

Today we celebrate the birth of Henry Knox, the first Secretary of War for the United States under George Washington. As chief artillery officer of the Continental Army, he was in charge of the "Noble Train of Artillery" and also participated in many key battles during the Revolutionary War. Knox was also a supporter of the Sons Of Liberty, whose flag we raise in Knox's honor today.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Passing Of U.S. Grant

On this date in 1885, Ulysses S. Grant died at the age of 63. Commanding General of the United States at the end of the Civil War and 18th President of the United States for two terms, Grant was financially destitute near the end of his life. Suffering from throat cancer, Grant completed his memoirs, Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant,  just prior to his death. Grant's book has been hailed as one of the greatest non-fiction books in American history, and the success of his memoirs restored his family's wealth.

Monday, July 21, 2014

First Bull Run

On July 21, 1861, the First Battle of Bull Run (or First Manassas, as the Confederates referred to it) was fought outside of Washington D.C. in Virginia. Expecting the war to be a brief conflict to put down the rebellion, the Union Army instead was defeated at Bull Run and retreated in shambles to Washington. After the battle, both sides realized the Civil War would be a longer, bloodier conflict than most had previously expected.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Apollo 11

Today marks one of the greatest milestones in human and American history when, on July 20, 1969, the lunar module of the Apollo 11 mission containing Neil Armstrong and Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin landed sucessfully on the surface of the Moon. Armstrong and Aldrin would explore the lunar surface for a few hours the following day, and all three astronauts (including command capsule pilot Michael Collins) would return to Earth on July 24th.

Friday, July 18, 2014

I Have Not Yet Begun To Fight

July 18, 1792 is the date of John Paul Jones' death in France, following his service to the United States during the Revolutionary War (along with brief service to Russia afterward). During the Revolutionary War, he commanded Ranger in the defeat of HMS Drake, then later commanded Bonhomme Richard in the battle with HMS Serapis. Although Jones captured Serapis, the Richard sank following the battle, and Jones sailed the Serapis to Holland. To help Jones avoid charges of piracy, the "Serapis Flag" was entered into Dutch records as the flag he flew when he captured the ship, and it became known later as the "John Paul Jones Flag". Buried in France following his death, his remains were exhumed in 1905 and moved to the United States in 1906, finally interred at the United States Naval Academy.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Culpeper Minutemen

On July 17, 1775, The Culpeper Minutemen were organized in Virginia during the Revolutionary War. The Minutemen, including John Marshall, future Chief Justice of the U. S. Supreme Court, participated in the battles of Hampton and Great Bridge late in 1775 before being disbanded in January 1776. They are remembered also for their distinctive company flag, which we raise in their honor today.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The First Admiral

On July 16, 1862, David Farragut became the first man in American history to be promoted to the rank of Rear Admiral in the United States Navy, in recognition of his actions in helping to capture New Orleans earlier in the year during the Civil War. He would later be promoted to vice admiral and then admiral prior to his death in 1870, also the first man to hold those ranks in the Navy as well.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Strenuous Life

"Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in that grey twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat."

"If we stand idly by, if we seek merely swollen, slothful ease and ignoble peace, if we shrink from the hard contests where men must win at hazard of their lives and at the risk of all they hold dear, then the bolder and stronger peoples will pass us by, and will win for themselves the domination of the world."

-Theodore Roosevelt, in a speech in Chicago, April 1899 (Wikiquotes)

Monday, July 14, 2014

Birth Of Gerald Ford

The 38th President of the United States, Gerald R. Ford, was born on this date in 1913 in Nebraska, and was the first person to hold the office of President of the United States without receiving any electoral votes - he had been appointed to the Vice Presidency in December, 1973 following the resignation of Spiro Agnew, and assumed the Presidency in August, 1974 following Richard Nixon's resignation. An Eagle Scout and longtime congressman from Michigan, he was also the last surviving member of the Warren Commission, which investigated the assassination of President Kennedy. Today, we raise the Michigan state flag, the state where Ford spent most of his life and represented in Congress.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

The Northwest Ordinance

On July 13, 1787, the Congress of the Confederation of the United States (the congress operating under the Articles of Confederation) authorized the Northwest Ordinance, which covered the territory northwest of the Ohio River and east of the Mississippi River, including five future states (Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin) and portions of the future state of Minnesota. The Ordinance set legal precedent as to how territories would eventually be admitted as new states rather than extensions of current states, and how the United States would expand westward. The Ordinance was later affirmed by the United States Congress under the Constitution and signed into law by George Washington in 1789.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

The Medal Of Honor

On July 12, 1862, President Lincoln signed into law a bill creating the Army Medal of Honor. Members of the other branches of the military became eligible to receive this medal in 1915, followed by the Air Force in 1956. While there are three different versions of the medal (Army, Navy and Air Force), the Medal of Honor remains the highest military award in the United States. In 2002, the Medal of Honor flag was authorized to be given to all recipients of the Medal, the first of which (according to Wikipedia) was Sergeant First Class Paul R. Smith (posthumously) by President Bush in 2006 to Smith's family.

Friday, July 11, 2014

John Quincy Adams

Today is the birthday of John Quincy Adams, born in 1767 and the son of John and Abigail Adams, who served as the sixth President of the United States, along with serving as a diplomat, Secretary of State, senator and member of the House of Representatives. Today's flag is the flag of Massachusetts, Adams' home state.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Wyoming Statehood

On July 10, 1890, Wyoming became the 44th state in the Union. The 44-star flag remained the standard for the United States for five years, beginning in 1891.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Birth Of Admiral David Farragut

July 5th is the birthday of Admiral David Farragut, the first man to hold the ranks of rear admiral, vice admiral and admiral in the United States Navy. Farragut is notable particularly for his actions during the Civil War, including the capture of New Orleans in 1862. He continued to be on active duty until his death in 1870.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Independence Day

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security....

...We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Idaho Statehood

Idaho, the 43rd state admitted to the Union, was admitted on this date in 1890, receiving their star on the 43-star flag the following day along with the Dakotas, Montana and Washington. It was the first change to the United States flag in 13 years.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014


July 2, 1863 was the second day of the Battle of Gettysburg during the Civil War, one of the most well-known battles of the conflict. It was on this day that Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain and the 20th Maine would make their stand on Little Round Top to defend the position and help save the Army of the Potomac from defeat. The battle would be won by the Union on July 3, the day of Pickett's failed charge at the Union lines.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Caesar Rodney's Ride

With the Delaware delegation deadlocked on the question of approving the Declaration of Independence in the Continental Congress, Caesar Rodney rode 70 miles in a thunderstorm the night of July 1, 1776 to arrive in Philadelphia as the vote for independence began the next morning. Rodney cast the deciding vote for Delaware in favor of independence, and would eventually sign the Declaration on August 2, 1776. Rodney's ride is depicted on the back of the Delaware quarter, issued in 1999.