Flying Saturday July 11, 2009.

Today I am fling the flag of Washington DC

The link to the day is rather tenuous, and I will not dwell on it too much, but the Battle of Fort Stevens was fought on July 11-12 1864 in the American Civil War in Northwest Washington, D.C. The battle is noted for the personal presence of President Abraham Lincoln observing the fighting.

Officers and men of Company F, 3rd Massachusetts Heavy Artillery, in Fort Stevens

Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, the District, or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States, founded on July 16, 1790. The City of Washington was originally a separate municipality within the Territory of Columbia until an act of Congress in 1871 effectively merged the City and the Territory into a single entity called the District of Columbia. It is for this reason that the city, while legally named the District of Columbia, is known as Washington, D.C.

The city is located on the north bank of the Potomac River and is bordered by the states of Virginia to the southwest and Maryland to the other sides. The District has a resident population of 591,833; however, because of commuters from the surrounding suburbs, its population rises to over one million during the workweek. The Washington Metropolitan Area, of which the District is a part, has a population of 5.3 million, the ninth-largest metropolitan area in the country.

Washington DC landmarks

The flag

For over a century, the District of Columbia was without an official flag and flew several unofficial banners—usually the flag of the D.C. National Guard. In 1938, Congress established a commission to choose an official, original design., resulting in this flag (which had first been proposed in 1921).

The Flag of the District of Columbia consists of three red stars above two red bars on a white background. It is based on the design of the coat of arms of the family of George Washington. George Washington (1732 -1799) was the commander of the Continental Army in the American Revolutionary War (1775–1783) and served as the first President of the United States of America (1789–1797). For his essential roles in both war and peace, he is often referred to as the father of the USA.

The coat of arms of George Washington, President of the United States of America from 1789 to 1797, were first used to identify the family in the twelfth century, when one of George Washington's ancestors took possession of Washington Old Hall, then in County Durham, in north-east England.

Washington Old Hall, County Durham, England.

The Washington Window in Selby Abbey, in the English market town of Selby, contains a variant of the Washington coat of arms in the original 14th century stained glass. It is thought to be a benefaction to the abbey to commemorate John Wessington, Prior of Durham (1416–1446).

The Washington family coat of arms in 14th century stained glass at Selby Abbey, England.

The Washington coat of arms can also be seen at the parish church in Garsdon, near Malmesbury, Wiltshire, where a branch of the family moved in Tudor times.

The design is often said to have inspired the Stars and Stripes, but there remain too many other explations for the origin of the Stars and Stripes for it to be explored further in this modest blog.

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