Even up to the early eighties, power outages were common. Students cramming for their exams often studied by candlelight. Sometimes these candles caused fires. Since , though, all this has become a thing of the past. It could have been a worn-out line or even a bird perching on a high-voltage line. Birds on high-voltage lines are safe as long as they touch nothing else. I stepped into the side street with the poles marked E.
The street went down a steep hill with a sixteen-meter pole every fifty meters. Preoccupied with reading the number tags on the poles, I reached the bottom of the hill before I knew it. I had a habit of calculating the distance by counting poles.
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Three hundred fifty meters later, I finally stood before I used to work in Gyeonggi Province until they transferred me here. Back there, not a day went by without an outage. And the cause? They would build their nests on top of the transformers and come in contact with the line, or a porcelain insulator would break off. Maybe to magpies, utility poles looked like oak trees, sturdy enough to hold nests that would last a lifetime.
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So not only did I replace transformers and repair lines, but I also had to move their nests into trees. But where would you find magpies here in the city? City children would never see a magpie except in a picture book about birds.
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Climbing utility poles was a piece of cake. At my old technical high school, they called me Monkey Boy. We had to go up and down the fifty practice poles rigged up on the school grounds, and I set the speed record. I strapped on my leather tool belt and was about to start climbing when I felt something spongy underfoot. It was a pair of black leather shoes, pooled with water.
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I felt a drop of water. Was the rain starting again?
The flag. As the nation continued to expand, Congress, realizing the impracticalities of adding a stripe for each joining state, declared in that the flag would once again have 13 stripes—one for each of the original colonies—but that a new star would be added for each new state. Between and , a total of 16 new states entered the Union, with the result that a new version of the flag was issued several years in a row as the western territories gained statehood. As the country moved toward civil war, many in the South suggested that the American flag be retired when war broke out.
Then-US Senator and soon-to-be President of the Confederacy Jefferson Davis made such an argument on the floor of the US Senate in early January , just a few weeks after seven Southern states had issued declarations of secession from the Union:. My pride is that that flag [the flag of the United States] shall not be set between contending brothers, and that, when it shall no longer be the common flag of the country, it shall be folded up and laid away like a vesture no longer used; that it shall be kept as a sacred memento of the past, to which each of us can make a pilgrimage, and remember the glorious days in which we were born.
Davis suggestion was not taken, and in many ways the flag became more important to the Union as a result of the war, with many in the North viewing the flag as a symbol of their defense of the whole American Republic against the offenses of the southern states whose stars remained on the flag. According to Whitney Smith, the founding editor of The Flag Bulletin , it was in the midst of the Civil War that the cult of the flag began. Every school flew a flag and prior to that there is only one known instance—in —of a school flying an American flag.
Union soldiers even carried miniature flags called Bible flags, small enough to fit in the Bible they would take with them to the battlefield. The start of the Civil War was the beginning of the sense we have today of the American flag as an everyday object and of something that belongs to everyone. Driver displayed the flag on his whaler boat and for special holidays at his home in Nashville. During the War, he hid the flag from the Confederates, unfurling it again when the city came under the control of federal troops.
Veterans groups organized across the country and displayed the flag during their parades.
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Though many in the North thought that the former Confederates would take umbrage, Bates a former soldier in the Union Army and his flag were welcomed with warm receptions wherever he went in the war-torn South. In Richmond, for example, he was greeted by celebratory cannon fire and residents of the former capital of the Confederacy. The centennial celebration in increased fervor for the flag, as cities across the country became covered in red, white, and blue to celebrate the th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence.
Flag Day soon became its own cause for celebration, with the unofficial holiday achieving widespread popularity in the s. See our history of Flag Day. On October 21, , schools across the country celebrated Columbus Day , and with it inaugurated what would become the national Pledge of Allegiance. Though the Pledge was only officially recognized by Congress in , it quickly became popular in American schools, with many states adopting it for daily school exercises.
It was not until , though, that the flag that Americans pledged allegiance to became standardized across the nation. In , President Howard Taft signed Executive Order finally prescribing the exact proportions and dimensions of flags flown by the US government. Two years later President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation officially establishing June 14 as a national Flag Day.
In , at the behest of the American Legion, representatives from nearly 70 patriotic organizations and governmental agencies met together in Washington, DC to create the National Flag Code. The Code set guidelines for flag usage, and was eventually adopted by Congress in The last stars were added to the flag on July 4, , following the statehoods of Alaska and Hawaii in and , respectively.
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The new starred version was designed by an Ohio high school student, Robert G. Heft, who created the flag for a class history project. When President Dwight D. It is this flag that, as of July 4, , became the longest-serving flag of the United States. Return to The Meaning of Flag Day. Your email address will not be published.
Curriculum Library Book Buy the Book. The excruciatingly close vote was a disappointing blow to supporters who have fought since to create a constitutional amendment. But it was the closest they have come to achieving their goal in three attempts in the Senate. Opponents had argued that the the initiative amounted to tampering with the Bill of Rights. Some accused Republicans of trying to create a divisive issue for this fall's congressional elections.
But the advocates of the measure said the flag was a unique national symbol that merited special standing. Senator Orrin Hatch, Republican of Utah and the chief sponsor of the amendment, predicted before the vote that those who opposed the amendment would be penalized by the voters if it was again defeated. But opponents, mainly Democrats, criticized the Republican leadership for devoting Senate attention to the amendment when the nation faces other serious problems and for tampering with the Constitution's Bill of Rights in response to relatively rare incidents of flag burning. In the debate, proponents sought to make a case of high principle: recapturing for Congress a power taken away by the Supreme Court in a decision.
That decision, in a Texas case, said flag burning was an expression of free speech and invalidated the flag desecration laws in 48 states. Senator Hatch said the amendment would "restore the constitution to what it was before unelected jurists changed it five to four.