Tuesday, January 3, 2006

Happy Statehood Day, Alaska

From the archives of the New York Times:

Washington, Jan. 3 [1959] — Alaska became a state today.

By the clock on the mantel in the Cabinet Room at the White House, it was two minutes past noon. In Juneau, capital of the forty-ninth state, it was 9:02 A.M., Pacific Standard Time.

President Eisenhower signed the document of proclamation at the long table at which he meets his Cabinet. He used six pens to inscribe his name and the date. Then he took another handful of pens from the drawer in front of him and signed an Executive order setting a new design of forty-nine stars for the official flag of the United States.

The new design has seven staggered rows of stars, with seven stars in each row, and the traditional thirteen stripes. It was chosen a week or so ago by a four-man selection commission and formally approved by the President yesterday. It will become official on July 4.

Here’s the 49-star flag in case you don’t remember it.

It was only official for a year, from July 4, 1959 to July 4, 1960, when the star for Hawaii was added.

Any bets on when we’ll add the 51st?