“Red, White and Blue…Fly ‘Em Proud, Fly ‘Em High” Music and lyrics available at Dianne Bakers website, songsalive.com
No event better embodies the spirit of international cooperation than the Olympic Games. Every four years, thousands of athletes from across the globe come together to compete on the world’s stage. Indeed what was said at the 1908 London Olympics is still true today, “The most important thing is not to win but to take part!”
The enduring symbol of international cooperation is the Olympic Rings. These five rings, blue, yellow, black, green and red represent the parts of the world competing in the games – the Americas, Europe, Asia, Africa and Oceania. While many think that each color represents a continent, this isn’t the case. The six colors, each ring and the white background, represented at least one of the colors present in the flag of each county that participated in the Games of the first five Olympiads.
There is also some confusion about how the rings symbol came about. A common myth is that they originated from carved stones found at Delphi in Greece, while in reality the opposite is true. The 1936 Olympic Games saw the first Torch Relay and part of the route brought the Olympic Torch to Delphi where organizers had erected a 3 foot high block of stone with the five interlocking rings chiseled on each side. After ceremonies during the Torch Relay, the stone was left in place and “discovered” twenty years later by two British authors who published a book with their findings,
In the stadium at Delphi, there is a stone altar on which is carved five rings symbolic of the quinquennial timing for the celebrated games. The design of the five circles on the Delphi altar is today the symbol of the Olympic Games. The circles form a link between ancient and modern Olympics…and are considered by 3 experts to be 3,000 years old
The true origin of the Olympic Rings comes from much more recent history. The creator of the rings was Baron Pierre de Coubertin, who debuted the Olympic Flag design in 1914 at the IOC’s 20th anniversary celebration of the Modern Olympic Movement. The interlocking rings were mostly likely inspired by the USFSA, or the French sport-governing body. The USFSA was born out of a merger between two groups and its logo, symbolizing the union of the two organizations, featured two interlocking rings. This logo debuted in 1896 and is widely believed to have inspired Coubertin’s classic flag design.
No matter its origin, the Olympic Rings have stood the test of time. The interlocking rings represent international cooperation and continue to serve as a powerful symbol around the world.
When Rear Admiral Summer Ely Whitmore Kitelle was made governor of the island in April 26, 1921, Mr. White, captain of the Grib and Percival Wilson Sparks, a cartoonist were asked for flag design suggestions. Sparks drew the design on paper, transferred it to cotton, then had his wife and sister-in-law embroidered the design.The flag has a white base with a yellow bald eagle in the center, and the shield of the Unites States of America on its chest. In one talon is a laurel branch and in the other three arrows each signifying the main islands of the Virgin Islands, St. Croix, St. Thomas, and St. John. To either side of the eagle are the letters V and I, the initials for the Virgin Islands. The US Virgin Islands’ flag was adopted into the United States on May 17, 1921.
This January, I got the chance to take the vacation I always wanted to go on…to Hawaii. Despite a solid week of tourist-packed trips, events, and food; one thing I had to see before I left was Pearl Harbor. If you ever get the chance, please take it. I had no idea what to expect.
I have read about Pearl Harbor and seen the movies but you don’t really understand the sacrifices made on December 7th, 1941 until you are there, staring out into the Harbor with memorials scattered across the water. My gallery of pictures:
*Numbers inside of brackets refer to the order of the gallery
This first shot (1) in my gallery below is looking out the harbor to the USS Arizona and the white bouys in the water are where other ships were sunk. All of these ships held thousands of men and were not small by any means. This kinda gives you a small understanding about the size of the loss that morning. There is also a submarine (2) in the harbor which was the USS Bowfin which was a submarine launched on December 7th, 1942 and eventually set up as a memorial to show the layouts and history of the US submarines.
When you arrive, there are many things to see while you wait to go out for the USS Arizona tour, which is by far the most popular attraction. Throughout the walking area are many markers (can see in the bottom of #2 picture) giving thanks and remembrance to ships, submarines and lives that have been lost in wars throughout America’s history. There is a submarine museum, gift shop, many photo locations, places to eat, etc. It is well organized and the premises were spotless. They definitely take pride in the location.
There are many different parts of the ships and subs at the harbor that offer an understanding of how things were located on the ships at the time of attacks. The Conning Tower (3) internals show how tight the inside of the Conning Tower (5) actually was. The conning tower of a submarine is where the steering was done as well as where the missiles were launched from. (4) is a picture of the Polaris A-3 Submarine launched ballistic missile. This missile had a range of 2,880 miles! It was launched by a gas launch system and when it reached the surface, the rocket motor ignited and became airborn.
(8) is a picture of yours truly looking out through a replica periscope that was used on the subs of the time. The distance of the periscope could be adjusted via controls on the side. From the view I was looking out, I could see the Arizona over the Conning Tower in picture (5).
(9) “Kaiten” torpedoes were Japanese suicide torpedoes. The Japanese modified these from their pre-existing torpedoes to allow them to be controlled by the “pilot”. The first ones made allowed the pilot to escape but the ones afterwards trapped the pilot inside. Only two ships were sunk by these torpedoes though due to extremely difficult steering and a near impossibility to see.
(10)40 mm quad turret which armed almost all major battleships for US. These turrets were mainly anti-aircraft and could fire a 2 lb. shell 33,000 feet at 120 rounds/min! These turrets were controlled by two men, one on each side. I couldn’t imagine how scary it would be to fight from these being extremely open to fire from the enemy.
As youcan see, there are quite a few things to read about and look around at before you go out to the Arizona Memorial which is the main attraction. I tried viewing everything but it would literally take you a full day to take all of it in.
Reading about all of the history of the war and ships really helps you understand how the attack took place and helped me understand more about the Arizona before going out on our USS Arizona tour.
The Arizona tour starts with a 15-20 minute movie showing the ship and harbor before the attack and setting the stage of the War and why the attack took place. I learned more through the movie than anything else. It really gives you a lot of the lost details of the war, both on the American side as well as the Japanese side.
When entering the theater, everyone received a card with a soldier on it who died on the ship that morning. The cards told us about that person’s hobbies, family, lifestyle, hometown, etc. It did a great job of making you understand that 1000’s of people just like you and I died that day.
See, before going to the harbor, I thought of that day as a group of people died. After coming back from the harbor, you realize that 1000’s of individual people died. People who had families, people who had hobbies, people who wrote home to their family, people who loved our country, people just like me and you…died that day.
Following the movie, you set out on a small ferry to the Arizona memorial. Above the memorial is an Amerian flag…(11)
I took 10 pictures of the memorial going out on the ferry. It was just a breathtaking sight and the picture by no means does it justice. Before I tell you more about the memorial, please check out picture (24) to understand the layout of the memorial over the actual wreckage. The parts of the ship in brown are the parts still visible today.
One thing about December 7, 1941 that I didn’t know before the trip was that on that morning, most of the soldiers on the ships were either inside cleaning up or washing the deck. Also, the reason for the sinking was because of a Japanese vertical bomber (which means a plane dropped a bomb that traveled straight down) which dropped a bomb which landed in the front magazines. The bomb caused much of the ammunition (over 1,000,000 lbs.) to errupt, instantly killing the ship and its men alike. Over half of all of the fatalities that day came from the USS Arizona.
1,177 people died on the ship. Only 105 people were able to be removed from the wreckage following the sinking.
Up to that point in time, the single bomb killed more people at one time than any other single event in the history of the world…
(12) This picture shows oil which is still coming up from the ship today. I had read that oil was still rising before I got there but I was shocked to see exactly how much oil was in the water. In some places, it is estimated that in 2009 there were still 500,000 gallons of oil remaining in the hull. The water surrounding the memorial had traces of oil…very creepy though to think that the ship is still “alive” in a sense. Many of the survivors say that the oil will continue to rise until all survivors have passed away.
(13) The most visible remnant of the ship is the front gun turret. These heavy turrets could pierce any ships armor but do to the quick movement of the airplanes, became nearly obsolete that morning.
(14)(15)Both of these pictures show what is remaining of the flag pole that flew over the Arizona. I am unsure of how high this climbed, but I can imagine by the size of the pole that it must have been extremely tall.
(16)Shows the names of many of the men and women who lost their lives on December 7, 1941. 1,177 people passed away that one day on the USS Arizona alone.
(17)A list of men and women who survived the attacks but have since passed away. These men returned to have their ashes buried with the Arizona to be buried with their fellow soldiers.
(18)”Mooring bitts”. When docked, these posts held the ropes that kept them in port.
(19)A concrete landing that was built after the ship sunk.
(20)Plaque announcing official memorial. This memorial was built in 1958.
(21)Flags on the memorial.
(22)Inside of memorial. This shot is taken as you first step in the memorial. Looking at the picture, the turret and flag pole is on the right side, through the slit in the back is the list of names, and on the left is the mooring bitts and landing.
(23)The white buoy shows the end of the tail of the ship. Overall, it was over 600 ft. long. What you see in the water is the remnants of the 2nd gun turret.
(24)Layout of memorial over ship. The areas in brown are the areas that are still visible today.
(25)Plaque giving thanks for contributions to the memorial.
Overall, you will spend around 15-20 minutes on the memorial and it is quite the sight to see. Since going to the Harbor, I have to say that I give more thanks for our current soldiers both overseas and in the states as well. I am extremely grateful for the chance to see all of the history and I highly recommend trying to take the trip if possible. You can make a whole day out of the trip if you have the time…there is just so much to take in. Thank you for taking the time to read the blog and please comment with anything that will add to the blog!
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Last year, one of my closest friends moved across the world to study abroad in Brisbane, Australia. Throughout the year it has been fascinating to learn about Australian culture from his perspective, in particular regarding the phrases he has picked up since moving there. For example, in order to express that something is very good he will say “good as” and then nothing. At first my reaction was always “Good as what?” But that’s it, just “good as”, an unfinished simile. In one month he will be returning home for two months and to commemorate his return to the States I would like to explore the history and design of the Australian flag.
The Australia flag’s first appearance was on January 1, 1901, selected from among over 30,000 other designs submitted in a public competition. The design was a combination of five very similar entries and was named the “Commonwealth Blue Ensign”. In 1903 King Edward VII approved this flag as well as a Red Ensign flag for Australian use. The blue was intended for strictly official and naval use whereas the red was intended for merchant fleet use. Naturally, this caused a great deal of confusion to the public who began using the two flags interchangeably. It was not until the Flag Act 1953 that the Commonwealth Blue Ensign flag was officially adopted as the emblem of Australia. In 1998 an amendment was passed on the Flag Act 1953 so that the Australia flag can only be altered by agreement of the Australian people.
The design of the Commonwealth Blue Ensign contains three elements on a blue background: the Union Jack, the Commonwealth Star and the Southern Cross. The Union Jack is a representation of Britain’s settlement of Australia in January 1788. It is located in the upper left hand corner. Directly beneath it is the Commonwealth Star which has seven points, six points to represent the six states and a seventh point to show the unity of the six states. On the fly of the flag is the Southern Cross, a constellation only visible from the Southern hemisphere to denote Australia’s geography. The Commonwealth Blue Ensign flag is first and foremost a sign of cultural identity and pride, demonstrating Australia’s commitment to their heritage and tribute to unity.
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I will be honest. The subject of Russia does not really come up in my daily conversations often. So when I heard that the President of Russia, Vladimir Putin, had commissioned and donated a monument in honor of those who died in the September 11th attacks I was impressed! Then I found out the kicker: this was all done in 2006! 2006!! I was absolutely shocked that I had not heard about this. The monument is absolutely huge, it is in NYC in sight of the Statue of Liberty, it was designed and created by one of the most prominent living Russian sculptures and where was the press during all of this?
Standing at 100 ft tall, the monument weighs a total of 175 tons. It had to be shipped from Russia in six sections, each weighing 28-63 tons each! I cannot imagine what the shipping must have cost. The sculptor, Zurab Tesereteii spent months here in the U.S. having it assembled until it was unveiled on September 11, 2006 as a “gift from the people of Russia.” It is constructed of steel frame with copper on top and the pictures of the monument in the sunset are really beautiful—the copper reflects the light very well. There is a huge tear right down the middle, and inside this tear is an enormous nickel-plated teardrop. This puppy alone is 40 ft tall and 4 tons! Amazing. One of the most touching parts of the monument is the base. It is similar to the Vietnam Memorial Wall, where it has the names of 3000+ victims of the 9/11 attacks and the ’93 World Trade Center bombing, and these are etched in granite.
People say that Mr. Tesereteii came up with the idea when he was walking the streets of Moscow and experiencing the grief people were feeling over the 9/11 attacks. A teardrop formed in his mind and the monument grew from this little spark. Mr. Tesereteii also created the sculpture outside of the U.N. in NY called “Good Defeats Evil”—this sculpture is made entirely of junk American and Soviet missiles. So again I ask, where were the newspapers? How come this isn’t as well known? It is such a powerful and touching memorial! Russia, I will do America the honor and say “Thank you! Thank you for such a touching gift in the face of such a terrible tragedy.” It is so awesome to know that even at the worst of times the global community can really pull together, and we are all not so different. And I, I will do my best to think of Russia more often!
The flag of Puerto Rico is one of 5 U.S. territory flags. The first Flag of Puerto Rico originated in 1892, but was not flown until March of 1897 during the Puerto Rican Independence movement. The revolt was against the rules that the Spanish had set in place for Puerto Rico. It was called the attempted coup of Yauco, where the Puerto Ricans attacked the barracks of the Spanish Civil Guard. In 1898 Puerto Rico was able to claim it’s independence from Spanish Rule when it joined the United States.
The original Puerto Rican flag had with 3 red stripes and 2 white stripes. The triangle had a light blue tone to it and a 5 point star in white. The red stripes represented the blood from the warriors during the revolt. The white stripe represented victory and peace. The white star represented the Island of Puerto Rico. The blue triangle represented the sky and the coastal waters.
The only flags that were allowed to fly in Puerto Rico were the Spanish flag from 1492 until 1898 and the United States flag from 1898 to 1952. On June 10th 1948, a bill was signed to make displaying the Puerto Rican flag illegal. To display the Puerto Rican flag in public was considered a felony. The bill was known as La Ley de la Mordaza (The Gag law). The only flag that could be flown on the island was the United States flag.
In 1952, the Governor of Puerto Rico adopted the Puerto Rican flag and proclaimed it as the official flag. The triangle was changed to a dark blue. A variation of the Cuban flag, it represents the people of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. The flag of Puerto Rico symbolizes Protest, Defiance and Pride among the people of this Island. Puerto Ricans are very proud of their flag, this design is currently used today.
Joseph M Acaba was the first astronaut of Puerto Rican descent to carry several flags into outer space as a symbol of his heritage aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery on March 15 2009.