How did we celebrate Utah statehood?

January 4, 2018

Followers of this blog may note that, with 50 states having statehood days, only a handful actually celebrate with anything like the ceremonies Congress probably intended when they wrote the U.S. Flag Code, which calls for citizens to fly the U.S. flag on their statehood day.

It’s a bit of a disappointment.

Utah doesn’t make it a holiday, but Utahns note the day and the history, as we find on Twitter today.

Good for Utah.

AlRounds.com, a painting and image sale site, have this painting for sale; it shows the Latter-day Saints' Temple in Salt Lake City, festooned as it was through 1896 with a giant U.S. flag -- hung backwards by today's standards. Painting probably by Al Rounds.

AlRounds.com, a painting and image sale site, have this painting for sale; it shows the Latter-day Saints’ Temple in Salt Lake City, festooned as it was through 1896 with a giant U.S. flag — hung backwards by today’s standards. Painting probably by Al Rounds.

In the past five years, the image above has become a popular one, based on a photo by pioneering Utah journalist George Reed, from 1896.

Twitter shows much, much more, starting with that photo (did the Republicans link to Al Rounds’s site?). It’s not all love and peace pipes, either — who knew Utah statehood could be controversial 122 years later?

I think the state tree of Utah was changed in a recent session of the legislature. Utah’s state bird is the California gull, and there is history behind that (if questionable history); but Utah garden clubs lobbied for the Colorado Blue Spruce as state tree, in the 20th century. Lovely tree, but not native to Utah at all, it turns out. We used to joke Utah’s state bird is the California Gull, the state tree the Colorado Spruce, and the state song, “On Wisconsin.” State song is actually, “Utah, We Love Thee.” I’ll have to look up the state tree issue. Prof. Irving McNulty, from whom I took botany at the University of Utah, said he thought the state tree should be the Utah juniper (then Juniperus utahensis, but probably differently named now), because it was a squat, rather ugly tree that has legendary pollen and seed production. It’s considered a junk tree in most places, because it ruins grazing lands.

Do you wear your bib and tucker for formal occasions?

Does your state celebrate with a state dance in an isolated, former capital?

Why do I mention that? Nothing at all to do with the former capital’s being Fillmore, in Millard County, I promise.

Is Delicate Arch in Arches National Park just one of the best symbols of any state, anywhere?

Here’s one of the photos that prompted the painting at the top of this post.

More to come, perhaps, as the day goes on.

 


January 4 is Utah Statehood Day – Utahns fly their U.S. flags

January 4, 2018

I don’t think I ever knew anyone in Utah who had a Utah state flag.

But on Utah Statehood Day, the Flag Code says to fly the U.S. flag, so it’s okay.

Giant U.S. flag flies over Grovecreek Canyon, near Pleasant Grove, Utah (July 4, 2016). KSL News photo by Devan Dewey

Giant U.S. flag flies over Grovecreek Canyon, near Pleasant Grove, Utah (July 4, 2016). KSL News photo by Devan Dewey

Utah’s statehood came on January 4, 1896, after 49 years of attempts to join the union.

Utah is also one of those states that actually celebrates statehood day. The government calendar starts on January 4, the day new officials are sworn into office.

I chose the photo above partly because it demonstrates Utahns unusual love for the U.S. flag, and partly because it’s from my Utah hometown of Pleasant Grove. Not sure why they chose Grovecreek Canyon for this display — I think it would have been more spectacular a few miles south, at the mouth of Battlecreek Canyon, with a better view of Mt. Timpanogos in the background.

Happy 122nd birthday, Utah.

Utah Highways magazine caption for the video:

Utah Valley is very patriotic – sort of like Texas except that Texas doesn’t have mountains large enough to fly the largest flag ever flown in the U.S.! (According to http://followtheflag.org/) This flag is over 1/4 acre in size – that’s bigger than the lot my house sits on. See this flag for yourself until July 10 in the mouth of Grove Creek Canyon (http://utahhighways.com/utah-hiking/g…) above Pleasant Grove, Utah.


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