History Lessons

History lessons is a grouping of historical stories and tidbits. The topics range from the American Civil War through interesting items from around the world. Please use the comments area to ask questions and make suggestions for future topics.

History Lessons

Three people who loved the American flag

Poster for Yankee Doodle Dandy

An Academy Award-winning actor, an obscure seamstress and a dental professor shared something in common: a deep love of the American flag. The actor was James Cagney, who won an Oscar for “Yankee Doodle Dandy,” the film biography of George M. Cohan, the composer known for his patriotic songs and flag-waving Broadway plays. As a… continue

History Lessons

A flag speaks about patriotism

Small flags cover the Mall in Washington, D.C. (wikipedia.org)

On Flag Day more than 100 years ago, Franklin K. Lane, U.S. Secretary of the Interior, delivered a stirring address about the American flag to more than 1,000 of his employees. His words are even more patriotic when his birthplace is considered: Prince Edward Island. At the time, that made him a British citizen (the… continue

History Lessons

Kentucky was early state; flag came later

In this mid-19th century painting by George Caleb Bingham, Daniel Boone leads settlers to Kentucky (wikipedia.org)

The 15th state to join the Union is Kentucky, something that might surprise people who imagine that all the earliest members of the United States were strung along on the East Coast. While its statehood was early, Kentucky’s flag took many years to evolve. Indeed, the first 14 states were lined up along the Atlantic… continue

History Lessons

Navy museum salutes flags

Flag with a slogan (All photos by author)

Every year, more than 100,000 people tour the U.S. Naval Academy Museum in Annapolis, Maryland. Its website notes that there are “exhibits about the history of seapower, the development of the U.S. Navy, and the role of the U.S. Naval Academy in producing officers.” In addition, the museum houses a treasure trove of historic flags…. continue

History Lessons

Flags flap as WWII ends

Jubilant British citizens wave flags on V-E Day.

On May 8, 1945, the date World War II ended in Europe, a Pennsylvania soldier wrote home to his wife, Mary. He wanted to tell her about the flags he saw that day and the emotions he felt. Pfc. Marshall Line, 32, who was stationed with an air squadron in England, reminded her in his… continue