Monday, June 14, 2010

I Almost Forgot Flag Day

My favorite flag is the first Navy Jack . I have hung it in every place of work, with short minor exceptions, for twenty-five years. When I first entered the Navy in 1976, this jack was being flown from the stern of all U.S. Navy vessels, as it is today during the war on terror. (Note to Obama, the Navy is still flying this flag under a SecNav order regarding the GWOT.) For a brief history of the flag see web site.

In the fall of 1775, as the first ships of the Continental Navy readied in the Delaware River, Commodore Esek Hopkins issued a set of fleet signals. Among these signals was an instruction directing his vessels to fly a striped Jack and Ensign at their proper places. The custom of the jack-type flag had originated with the Royal Navy in the 15th century or earlier; such was the likely source of Hopkins' inspiration. This first U.S. Navy Jack has traditionally been shown as consisting of 13 horizontal alternating red and white stripes with a superimposed rattlesnake and the motto "Don't Tread on Me." The rattlesnake had long been a symbol of resistance to British repressive acts in Colonial America; its display on the new jack of the fledging Continental Navy fit naturally with the fervor of the times.
For you Tea Party types check the embedded link above for a history of rattlesnake flags.

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