State Flags – Pennsylvania

January 20, 2015

The next state in this series is Pennsylvania, the very state out of which US Flag Store is based. Number two in the union, Pennsylvania became a state just days after Delaware did, on December 12, 1787.

PA FlagPennsylvania’s flag was officially adopted in 1907. The flag has a dark blue background with two harnessed draft horses holding the state’s coat of arms that hold the state seal. Inside it are a ship, a plow, 3 sheaves of wheat, with a bald eagle sitting on top of it. Below is a stalk of corn, an olive branch, and a draped red ribbon bearing the words, “Virtue, Liberty, and Independence.” The coat of arms was of the Penn family after which Pennsylvania was named. This symbol first appeared on the currency that was issued by the state in 1777 until two years later when it was taken and added to the state flag.

Pennsylvania is currently the sixth most populous state in the US with a 2013 population estimate of 12,773,801. While Harrisburg is the capital, Philadelphia is the most populous city in Pennsylvania with an estimate of 1,553,165 compared to Harrisburg with just 49,188.

Liberty NPS

NPS Photo

This state is rich in American history. The Liberty Bell is located at The Liberty Bell Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. One of the symbols of the United States, this bell has the eponymous crack. How did it get this crack? In 1752, when the bell first arrived in Philadelphia and was cracked during a test strike. Fun Fact: The Liberty Bell is composed of exactly 70% copper, 25% tin, and bits of lead, zinc, arsenic, gold, and silver, weighing at 2,080 pounds.

independence-hall-philadelphia-ext-night-587

Visit Philadelphia Photo (G Widman)

Another historic site is Independence Hall, which is visited by millions each year and open every day of the year. Independence Hall is the birthplace of the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, and  America itself. Both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were signed in the Assembly Hall. Fun Fact: George Washington actually ran his two terms as President from Philadelphia.

Did you know? The blue in the Pennsylvania state flag is the same shade of blue that is used in the US Flag!

~CD


State Flags – Delaware

January 14, 2015

Welcome to the first post in my series of Fifty State Flags. I am very excited to be given the opportunity to present this to all of you. Please bear with me for I am a little rusty on my US History but once I get fired up, I am going to rock this!license plate

The very first state in the United States, Delaware, is a small but important state in our history. The license plates even boast “The First State.” Delaware is one of the original thirteen colonies but the first to take the leap and become a state.

While Delaware became a state on December 7, 1787, the flagDelawarewasn’t adopted until July 24, 1913. According to the state website delaware.gov, the flag is blue with a buff-colored diamond and the Delaware coat of arms is placed in the middle. The 1787 date is underneath the diamond to commemorate Delaware becoming the first state to ratify the federal constitution.

The state was named after Virginia’s first governor Thomas West, also known as Lord De La Warr. Delaware is a good state to experience the four true seasons, which includes my dream seasons – the changing of the leaves in the fall and snowy winters (I’m from California and we get nothing but sun, sun, one day of rain, and more sun all year long). While Dover is the state capital, Wilmington is the most populous city in Delaware with 36,047 vs. 70,851 (2010 US Census).

I am glad to say that I traveled to Delaware myself in the summer of 2011. It is a beautiful state but unfortunately I did not see much since I was on the way to New York with my fiance and his family.

Fun Facts: Delaware ranks first in the nation for avg. internet connection speed and third among the states for knowledge jobs (IT). The estimated 2014 population is 935,000 and there were 508,000 acres of Delaware farmland in 2012. 65% of Fortune 500 companies are incorporated in DE, and tourism currently generates $441m in tax revenue. (delaware.gov)

~CD


Flag Holidays

January 12, 2015

Some of you have asked when we should be flying our flags this year. According to USFlag.org, the following are 2015’s flag holidays*:

New Year’s Day, January 1st

Inauguration Day, January 20th, every time a new President is elected

Martin Luther King’s Birthday

Lincoln’s Birthday

Washington’s Birthday

Easter Sunday

Patriots Day, April 19 (not to be confused with Patriot Day, which is September 11th, another day in which to proudly display the stars and stripes)

National Day of Prayer, the 1st Thursday of May

Mother’s Day

Armed Forces Day, Every third Saturday in May to celebrate and thank the US Military in all five branches, Army, Navy, Air Force, US Marine Corps, and the US Coast Guard.

Memorial Day (half-staff until noon)

Flag Day, June 14th

Independence Day, July 4th.

Labor Day, (First Monday of September)

Patriot Day, September 11th. This day is observed to honor the victims of the September 11, 2001 tragedy. You may see flags raised at half staff on this day.

Constitution Day, September 17th

Columbus Day, October 12th

Navy Day, October 27th

Veterans Day, November 11th (Easy for me to remember because my nephew was born on this day and my older brother himself is a veteran)

Thanksgiving Day (last Thursday of every November)

Christmas Day

Election Days

And of course, on your state birthday! Click here to find your state’s birthday. Usually the flag is to be risen at sunrise and taken down at sunset, on days when weather permits.

Note: In addition to all of this, the flag can also be flown as directed by the President of the United States.

*These dates are to the best of my knowledge.

~CD


Fourth of July Parade!

January 9, 2015

AMVETS Milford July 4 Parade 2014If we can have Christmas in July, why not Independence Day in the winter? This photo was just submitted to us by Commander Joseph M. Silva of the Huron Valley AMVETS. He and his wife led the Post 2006 parade last year on July 4 in Milford, Michigan. All of the flags and poles you see here are ours!

The American Vets’s mission is to “enhance and safeguard the earned benefits of all American Veterans who have served honorably and to improve the quality of life for them, their families, and the communities where they live through leadership, advocacy and services.”

Click here to donate.


New Year, New Flag

January 5, 2015

flag historicalNew Year, New Flag

It seems like January was a stellar (pun intended) month to join the Union, adding each State’s star to Old Glory. The constellation of the stars within the union, one for each State, is symbolic of our Federal Constitution, which holds each State to their individual sovereignty.

As these January-inducted States joined the Union, a Star was added. Here are the Seven:

Georgia January 2. 1787 The 17th Star

Connecticut January 9, 1788 The 18th Star

michigan-nylonMichigan January 26, 1837 The 26th Star

Kansas January 29, 1861 The 34th Star

Utah January 4, 1896 The 45th Star

New Mexico January 6, 1912 The 48th Star

Alaska January 3, 1959 The 49th Star

If you live in, are from, love one of these states, celebrate its induction this month. Fly Old Glory or order a State-specific Flag today. Start off the New Year flying your colors.

Happy New Year!

**Jacquie


Hanukkah

December 16, 2014

HannukaHistorically, the story of Hanukkah begins around 165 B.C. After three years of struggle, the Jews in Judea defeated the Syrian tyrant Antiochus. The Jewish people held festivities in the Temple of Jerusalem, and rededicated the Temple. After removing all Syrian idols from the Temple, the Jews found only one small cruse of oil with which to light their holy lamps. Miraculously, the cruse provided oil for eight days. Judas Maccabaeus, the Jewish leader, thus proclaimed a festival in celebration, to be observed by Jews.

Hanukkah is the Jewish Feast of Lights or Feast of Dedication.The Hebrew word Hanukkah means dedication. Hanukkah is also written Hannuka or Chanukah. The holiday begins on the eve of the 25th day of the Hebrew Month of Kislev and lasts eight days. Hanukkah usually falls in the month of December, but occasionally can start in November.

During Hanukkah, gifts are exchanged and contributions are made to the poor. Each evening, one additional candle is lit on the Hanukkah menorah (candelabra). By the last evening, eight lighted candles stand together.

I am not Jewish, but I have many Jewish friends. I always enjoy the diversity that is our country. Tonight starts Hanukkah for the season at sundown.

Happy Hanukkah!

**Jacquie


Christmas Around the World – Part 1 of 3

December 10, 2014

mexicoOver the recent years, I have been learning new Christmas traditions and rituals in other parts of the world, particularly the UK. In one of my recent posts, I talked about Christmas crackers which was something new to me. Growing up in California, Christmas was a totally different thing. For one, we didn’t have snow unless we went up to the mountains and the ski resorts, so our holidays were usually perfectly sunny and clear or gray and rainy. With my dad being from Mexico and having spent a Christmas one year with his relatives, we celebrated Christmas on Christmas Eve with tamales until midnight on Christmas day when we got to open our presents. Then after the births of my nieces and nephews, we started doing Christmas presents late in the day instead of the morning because we waited for my oldest sister to arrive from her husband’s family’s traditions. We switched up the days we did Christmas. Some years it was Christmas Eve, other years it was Christmas Day. Usually it depended on the circumstances of my oldest sister.

In today’s post as a part of my holiday series, I’m going to talk about traditions. My family doesn’t have an entirely regular tradition but at least we all try to get together for the holidays. I’m trying to incorporate more tradition into my life, like eat tamales, try to watch A Christmas Story and Elf at least once a year, and to try something new, like the Christmas Crackers which the nieces and nephews really enjoyed.

MinceWhile people in the US have their own traditions and customs, the British have something a little more different. The British call Santa Claus “Father Christmas” who will leave presents in stockings or pillow cases at the ends of the beds, by the beds of the children, or by the fireplace in homes. Instead of the standard milk and cookies left out for Father Christmas, he gets a nice brandy and mince pie. Letters are written to Father Christmas but instead of being put to the post, they are tossed into the fireplace where the smoke is drifted to Father Christmas so he can read them. The people of Britain also send Christmas cards, buy gifts, sing carols. The Queen delivers a Christmas Day message to the Commonwealth broadcast from her home reflecting on the year gone by.

cakeAnother thing the British and Americans have in common is that nearly everyone bakes and eat goodies for the holidays. While the Americans make Christmas cookies, fudge, and peppermint bark, the British celebrate the holidays with mince pies, Christmas puddings, and the Christmas cake. Today I will talk about the mince pie.  In the US, these are relatively unknown but huge in Britain. A mince pie nowadays consists of candied peels, vine fruits like currant and sultanas, which is a type of raisin in Britain, and apples inside a pastry crust. These are the most common ingredients inside the mincemeat. You can enjoy them hot or cold and you can either make them yourself (a lovely recipe here on our very own blog and get the mincemeat here or even try these.

Mince pies originally had various chopped meats in them, hence the name mincemeat pie. It is believed mince pies were made to use to use up leftovers in the 16th century in order to keep the meat supply going but over the years, the recipes have been adjusted to what people know today. The pies were originally oblong in shape to represent the cradle of the Christ but they are round today and the meat has been omitted.

Next time I will discuss Christmas cake and Christmas pudding.

~CD


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