Author: James Breig

James Breig is a veteran author who specializes in history. His most recent book is “Star-Spangled Baseball: True Tales of Flags and Fields” about the links between the sport and flags. He is also the author of a nonfiction book about WWII, "Searching for Sgt. Bailey: Saluting an Ordinary Soldier of World War II" and co-author of "The Mystery of the Multiple Mothers," a novel. All three are available at His articles have appeared in newspapers and national magazines, including the Colonial Williamsburg Journal (search for them at and History Magazine. He has won many national awards for his opinion writing, media columns and feature articles.
History Lessons

Cathedral set to remove flag windows

A closeup of one of the panes

Last week, a famous church made a decision about an infamous flag. The Washington National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., is finally beginning the process of removing two images of the Confederate battle flag that appear in a large, stained-glass window. A year ago, the Very Rev. Gary Hall, then dean of the Episcopal church, issued… continue

History Lessons

Significant flags to think about on Flag Day

President Wilson on Flag Day. (Library of Congress)

The nation, one of its states and a branch of the military are marking special flag anniversaries this month. FLAG DAY One hundred years ago, as the U.S. grew nearer to entering World War I, President Woodrow Wilson officially established June 14 as Flag Day. “Many circumstances have recently conspired,” he wrote in 1916, “to… continue

History Lessons

Tennessee’s flags are filled with oddities

In 1938, a man poses on a horse with the Tennessee state flag as background. (Tennessee State Library and Archives)

As a state, Tennessee has an unusual flag. As a city, Nashville has a complicated flag. As a college, Austin Peay sports a gonfalon. When Tennessee entered the United States 220 years ago, it chose red, white and blue for its state flag. But the hues were arranged in a unique way. The red portion… continue

History Lessons

Memorial Day, Clara Barton and flags

Decoration Day parade in Texas in 1916, 100 years ago (Library of Congress)

Three major national holidays that unfurl flags are fast approaching: Memorial Day at the end of May, Flag Day on June 14 and the Fourth of July. The problem with such familiar occasions is that we often forget their original meaning and focus instead on picnics and fireworks. Shortly after the Civil War, Memorial Day… continue

History Lessons

Oklahoma gets state flag by Fluke

Oklahoma state flag

The story of Oklahoma’s state flag is actually a Fluke. A Louise Fluke, that is. In 1911, 105 years ago, Oklahoma revealed its first flag. It was a fluke in the usual sense. Using the red, white and blue colors of Old Glory, the state banner sported a white star with “46” in the middle,… continue