Sara Swanson

37-star flag to fly over Manchester once again

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New 37-star flag to fly the first week of August.

One hundred and fifty years and 12 days ago the 37-star flag became the official flag of the United States of America. A star had been added to the 36-star flag because of the addition of Nebraska as a state. The three presidents served under this flag; Andrew Johnson, Ulysses S. Grant, and Rutherford B. Hayes. This is the flag that would have flown over Manchester during the year of its incorporation and its first official decade. And it will once again.

During the first week of August, in honor of Manchester’s Sesquicentennial, Manchester Village will fly 37-star flags outside of the Village Hall and the Library on City Road and in Wurster Park next to the memorial. The Manchester-Area Historical Society will fly one outside of the Kingsley-Jenter House on the corner of Main Street and M-52, the seat of Sesquicentennial planning and activities.

While some reproduction historic US flags are common and mass-produced, there is not much call for 37-star flags so the Sesquicentennial committee ordered them from a company that makes them on demand. They are constructed of outdoor grade nylon with sewn stripes and appliquéd stars of opaque white nylon that are sewn onto the blue canton with a sturdy canvas headers and solid brass grommets.

Because all previous iterations of official US flags are still official and can be flown in that capacity, the flags could continue to be flown, but instead will be retired after the end of the festivities. These three flags, purchased by the Sesquicentennial committee, will be divided up. The flag flown outside the Kingsley-Jenter House will remain in the collection of the Historical Society. One of the the remaining flags will be given to the Community Resource Center with a certificate of authenticity to be auctioned off as one of three official Manchester Sesquicentennial flags at their Volunteer Recognition Banquet Fundraiser in November. The remaining flag will be auctioned off in proxy at the Sesquicentennial auction on the morning of Saturday, August 5th in the Kingsley Center House, to be picked up after festivities are concluded for the week.

President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated on April 14th, 1865. Millions of people attended Lincoln’s funeral procession in Washington, D.C. on April 19, 1865 and followed as his body was transported 1,700 miles through New York to Springfield, Illinois. His body and funeral train were viewed by millions along the route. Many different flags were draped over his casket at different points along the procession and can be viewed in different museums and collections throughout the country. Interestingly, some of these have 37 stars even though it was not yet the official US Flag. At that point in history, Nebraska’s statehood seemed such a sure thing that flag makers were already producing 37 star flags.

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