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The 49 Star Flag of the United States of America

The 49 star U.S. Flag

After the Civil War, Secretary of State William H. Seward offered to buy "Alyeska" (Al-ee-eh-skah) which means "The Great Land" from the Russian's for $7.2 million - less than two cents per acre. Though many called it "Seward's Folly," on Oct. 18, 1867 the Stars and Stripes flew for the first time over Alaskan soil. Thus, the U.S. acquired more than half a million square miles of new territory and responsibility for seeing to the needs of a new population: 483 whites and some 27,500 Alaska natives.

It was not until 1912 that Alaska was granted true territorial status, with its own legislature. On June 30, 1958, Congress passed the Alaska Statehood Bill and on January 3, 1959, President Eisenhower proclaimed Alaska the 49th State of the Union.

The Star-Spangled Banner

O say, can you see by the dawn's early light, What so proudly we hailed at the twilights last gleaming, Whose broad stripes and bright stars, through the perilous fight, o'er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming? And the rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air, Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there; o say, does the star spangled banner yet wave O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore dimly seen through the mists of the deep, Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence resposes, What is that which the breeze o'er towering steep As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses? Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam, In full glory reflected now shines on the stream; 'Tis the star spangled banner, O long may it wave O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

O thus be it ever, when free men shall stand Between their loved homes and the war's desolation! Blest with vict'ry and peace, may the heav'n rescued land Praise the Pow'r that hath made and preserved us a nation! Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just, And this be our motto: In God is our trust; And the star spangled banner in triumph shall wave O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

Francis Scott Key (1779-1843)
John Stafford Smith (1750-1836)

Frommer's 2000: Alaska Cruises & Ports  Travel-Smart: Alaska  Scenic Driving: Alaska and the Yukon  Fodor's Alaska Ports of Call


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