2007-06-07 / The Walrus Says

The Walrus Says

By Jim Munro

Thursday, June 14, is Flag Day. It is a holiday many Americans ignore. Others, due primarily to the lack of fanfare and it being an ordinary work day, forget about it until it's too late to participate. We're giving fair notice this year.

It is one of America's oldest celebrations. It marks the day in 1777 that the first official flag of the new nation was created by a resolution of the Continental Congress meeting in Philadelphia. The resolution specified "that the flag be 13 stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be 13 stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation." Since the resolution did not state how the stars were to be arranged, flag makers arranged them in different ways. The one adopted had the stars in a full circle and was made by Betsy Ross.

The Rhode Island star was the 13th and was added in 1790.

Up until 1777 many flags flew over what was to become American soil. They were the flags of Spain, France, Holland, Sweden and England.

An English flag, known as the Red Ensign, waved over the colonies from 1707 to the Revolution. The Red Ensign was the merchant flag of England. It was red with a union in the upper corner combining the cross of St. George, patron of England, with the diagonal cross of St. Andrew, patron saint of Scotland.

The flag that became known as the Grand Union flag was raised over George Washington's headquarters outside Boston on January 1, 1776. The Revolutionary War had started the year before and the colonies needed a flag of their own. The Grand Union flag retained the union of the English flag, but six white stripes broke the red field into seven red stripes for a total of 13 stripes.

The flag that was adopted by the Continental Congress evolved from the earlier Red Ensign.

The flag that waved over Fort McHenry when it was under fire in September of 1814 was a 15-star and 15-stripe flag. It was the flag that inspired Francis Scott Key to write the words for our national anthem.

The flag of 1818 had the stripes reduced to 13. Five more stars had been added, for a total of 20. When still more states joined the United States, it became evident that the flag would get to be an awkward shape if more and still more stripes were added. Therefore, in that year, Congress passed a law that restored the design back to the original 13 stripes. It also provided that a star be added to the blue field for each new state.

Since then Old Glory has changed only with the additions of the new states.

Next Thursday fly your flag. It's come a long way since 1777. It is the symbol of our freedom and our beautiful country.

***

Kudos to Betsey Outerbridge of Hawthorne Road and the Jamestown Lions Club for their donations to the Rocket Dawgz for the annual fireworks spectacular at Mackerel Cove on Independence Day. The event will also be a special tribute to our armed forces in war zones overseas.

Other donors are Tom and Dorie Linn of Hamilton Avenue, who said their check is "in honor of B.J. Whitehouse, who does so much for this town;" Rose Fraley of Columbia Avenue who wrote, "Hail to the Rocket Dawgz! Make the last blast a humdinger in honor of yourselves. And thanks a million for all your hard work!;" Agnes Filkins, Bayberry Road who sent her contribution in memory of her late husband. "He so loved the fireworks. Thanks for all your years of hard work;" Michael and Colleen Schnack of Clarke Street; Nicholas and Mary Biddle, Beavertail Road; and Darcy Design Construction of Bow Street with the message, "This is for the fabulous Rocket Dawgs July 4th show! Thanx for all the efforts you Dawgz put in - now, go blow up our $!"

Don't be left behind, there are less than four weeks to go. Send in your contributions so we can blow them up. Mail them to Box 1776, Jamestown, 02835, or drop them off at the Press office.

KA-BOOM!!

***

Bob Kinder was the only one of our poser fans to respond to last week's lyrics. He wrote, "Great Fats Waller tune. Here we are, out of cigarettes holding hands and yawning, look how late it gets, two sleepy people in dawn's early light, etc."

Thanks Bob!

***

Some 60 islanders observed Tick Control Awareness Day Saturday by turning out at Vic and Judy Calabretta's home to talk with the experts.

The group heard from Dr. Thomas Mather, professsor and director of the Center of Tick-borne Disease at URI, Nate Miller, tick bite prevention outreach coordinator and four research assistants, all from URI.

Harry Lane, whose wife Anne spearheaded the event, said the university contingent dispelled myths about ticks and explained how Lyme disease is carried. They also demonstrated ways to protect yourselves, your yard and your pets.

Others attending and providing useful information were Craig Martin from Bartlett Tree Experts, who have been working with Dr. Mather for years to improve ways of reducing tick populations in landscaping; Ed Pawlowski from Bayer Animal Health Division and Dr. Michelle Miller a veterinarian who explained how to protect pets.

Harry passed on some interesting facts from the discussions. The tick-borne diseases are rapidly increasing in Rhode Island. Three out of four Rhode Ialanders stand a chance of encountering ticks where they live. Deer ticks do not jump, fly or fall from trees. They crawl up from the ground. Deer ticks do not live in grass or lawns where the sun can dry them out but prefer areas that are more moist like under leaves or in gardens.

In order to protect yourself, use protective clothing when working in the yard. Use repellants (not DEET). Effective Sawyer repellants are available at Jamestown Hardware. Do tick checks when you come in from the yard.

You can protect your yard by spraying the perimeter of the yard and areas where ticks might live.

***

Scouts from Troop 1 turned out Saturday to volunteer in a community service project, helping to distribute composting bags at the town offices on Southwest Avenue.

Participating were Cam Toppa, Chris Waterman, Budd Oldewurtel, Michael Brendlinger and Nathanial Hopkin.

Members of the troop will travel tomorrow night to West Point for a weekend at the United States Military Academy. The scouts will camp near West Point and on Saturday receive a tour of the facilities..

***

The welcome home reactions people of the state are giving Buddy Cianci says a lot about Rhode Islanders to the rest of the nation.

***

The season of fear is upon us. Last Friday the media were going nuts with it being the first day of the hurricane season and asking the question, are we ready?

Actually, the first day of the hurricane season in Rhode Ialand is August 1. The hysteria about the big storms will go on now until Thanksgiving.

Will we be hit by a hurricane? Of course we will. But not one every month or even every year and it's highly unlikely it will have the velocity of the '38 storm.

All the fear mongoring is nothing more than sensationalized reporting that causes unease and anxiety among the populace.

***

Kudos to Christian Tiexiera and Liliane Flour who the Jamestown Warrior tells us were honored May 22 as Middle Level Scholar Leaders.

The Jamestown School students were honored for demonstrating academic initiative and scholarship, providing service to class mates and school, exemplifying positive attitudes and demonstrating leadership in the classroom and in school activities.

Some 300 students, educators and parents from throughout the state attended the event at the West Valley Inn in West Warwick.

***

If you are planning to fly away with your best friend this summer, plan ahead says Dr. Joshua Hatch of the Jamestown Animal Clinic in his Pet Tip of the Week.

"Do your travel plans this summer include Fluffy? If you are leaving your pet with a sitter or kennel make sure they have accurate and reliable contact information for you while on vacation. Nothing is more stressful than having a sick pet, a worried sitter, and no way of contacting the owners. If you are taking Fluffy with you, make sure you contact both the airline you are using as well as the locations you are going to make sure they are pet friendly.

"Some places require only advanced notice while others may require extensive paperwork, especially if you are traveling across country lines. Don't get to the airport to find out Fluffy can't go with you. Do your research ahead of time so you can make sure your timeline and travel plans are all in agreement. Contact your airline, your veterinarian, and the USDA

office in Sutton, Massachusetts if you are planning any out of country travel this summer."

***

The Newport Gulls will open its New England Collegiate Baseball League season tomorrow night at Cardines Field.

It's great baseball without all the multi-million dollar egos.

***

What is the large "50" painted in red on the garage door on North Main Road?

*** Be true!!

***

Call in your stuff for this column to 423-0383 or 829-2760. You can e-mail us at jtnwalrus@ hotmail.com, or drop your items off at the Jamestown Press office.

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