Flag-raising ceremony to recall historic day

Observance will re-create original 1959 gathering on July 3

Posted: Tuesday, June 30, 2009

At 9 a.m. on July 4th, the people of Juneau are invited to gather on the grounds of the Juneau-Douglas City Museum for the raising of the nation's 49-star flag.

Courtesy Of The Juneau-Douglas City Museum
Courtesy Of The Juneau-Douglas City Museum

The flag raising ceremony will be a tribute to the 1959 ceremony, which was the first time that Alaska was permitted to raise a 49-star flag.

A 48-star flag will be raised prior to July 4 and during the ceremony will be replaced with the 49-star flag and the Alaska state flag.

Also in accordance with the original ceremony, there will be a ringing of the bell at noon. The bell will be rung 49 times symbolizing Alaska's entrance into the union. The original bell ringer, Romer Derr, will participate.

"I think it's very appropriate that we have this flag re-raising on the 4th," said master of ceremonies, Sen. Dennis Egan, whose father spoke as governor at the original ceremony.

"It will be a grand and glorious event," he said.

And a chance to "look at where we've come and think about where we're headed."

Rev. Dr. Walter Soboleff will open the ceremony with a prayer, one originally read at the first flag raising and Deputy City Mayor Jeff Bush is scheduled to speak. There will be performances by Yees Ku Oo Tlingit dance troupe, Alitaptap Philippine Folkloric Group and the United States Air Force Brass Quintet. Carriah Childress, a student at Floyd Dryden Middle School, will read her poem, "Rivers Untouched" about the constitutional convention. During the flag raising, the Alaska Youth Choir will sing the "Alaska Flag Song."

And Gov. Sarah Palin was invited to speak but hasn't confirmed yet.

Queen Dodie Peterson, from the original 1959 celebration and five of the seven original princesses: Kris Kennedy Gray, Elaine Jones Berglund, Pat Komatsubara Reefe, Carey Munson, Myrna Newton Allen will have seats of honor near the speakers. In addition, Allen, will announce the winner of the Statehood Quilt raffle.

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