About the State Historical Society > News > 2011

State Historical Society of Iowa Press Release

For immediate release May 18, 2011

Contact: Jeff Morgan, Jeff.Morgan@iowa.gov, (515) 281-3858

State Historical Museum celebrates Flag Day June 11

Gov. Ray, former POW Larry Spencer, Battle Flags, Civil War traveling exhibit, more

(DES MOINES) – The State Historical Museum will celebrate Flag Day next month with a variety of programs and activities, including a procession of flags from the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument to the State Historical Building.

The Flag Day celebration will be 10:30 a.m.-3 p.m. June 11, 2011, at the State Historical Building, 600 E. Locust Street in Des Moines. The program is free and open to the public. Visit www.iowahistory.org or call 515-281-5111 for more information.

“The flag is a source of pride for Iowans and this program celebrates its history and honors our military personnel who serve under it,” Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs Director Mary Tiffany Cownie said. “I encourage all Iowans to visit the Historical Museum and enjoy the activities.”

Former Gov. Robert D. Ray will offer remarks and introduce Iowa native and former prisoner of war in North Vietnam Larry Spencer, who will deliver the keynote address.

The State Historical Museum’s Flag Day program schedule follows:

10:30 a.m.-3 p.m.

State Historical Building Portico

  • “The Fiery Trial: Iowa and the Civil War” traveling exhibit on display at the Historical Museum. “The Fiery Trial” is housed in a 32-foot trailer that travels to museums, libraries, schools and other venues across the state. The exhibit includes a visual timeline of Iowa’s participation in the Civil War, the impact of the Civil War on Iowa and other information. “The Fiery Trial” is presented by EMC Insurance Companies.
  • Civil War-era cannon from the Iowa Veterans Home in Marshalltown on display.

11 a.m.

State Historical Building Grand Terrace

  • Procession of flags from Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument to State Historical Building. Recreated by the Sons of the Union Veterans and SUV Ladies Auxiliary.
  • Sen. Dennis Black presentation about the history of the American flag.

11:30 a.m.

State Historical Building Grand Terrace

  • Former Gov. Robert D. Ray offers opening remarks
  • Moment of silence for Iowa’s fallen and wounded soldiers
  • Raising of newly created Iowa Battle Flag Project flag and raising of National flag
  • Singing of the national anthem
  • Keynote Address by Larry Spencer – Spencer is an Earlham, Iowa, native who served in the U.S. Navy. While on reconnaissance escort mission over North Vietnam on Feb. 18, 1966, his aircraft was shot down and he was captured near Thanh Hoa. Spencer spent nearly seven years as an American prisoner of war in North Vietnam. His military awards include the Silver Star (2), the Bronze Star (4) and the Purple Heart (2).

12:30-3 p.m.

State Historical Building

  • Activities include making crafts, writing letters to soldiers, flag bingo, coloring sheets and make-and-take photo frames.
  • Educators dressed in period costumes will engage visitors and discuss the role of a flag bearer, camp life as a soldier, and create a company flag.
  • Interaction with mounted police and a Civil War Cavalry Unit. Learn about the role of horses in the military and public safety.
  • Meet and talk with Iowa veterans from World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War, Desert Storm and current conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq.
  • Book signing by Sen. Dennis Black, author of “Profiles of Valor: Iowa’s Medal of Honor Recipients of the Civil War.”
  • View a Confederate and Union Flag. Visitors can talk with staff from the State Historical Museum’s Battle Flag Project, and members of the Sons of Union Veterans and Sons of Confederate Veterans, about Iowa’s military flags from the Civil War.
  • VA/Family Resources Information Stand.
  • Civil War records of Grenville Dodge on display, with a presentation by State Historical Society of Iowa Librarian Susan Jellinger.
  • Displays: “Larry Spencer, Prisoner of War” and “Iowa in the Civil War.”

Additional activities include:

  • Performance: “Phoebe Adams and the 9th Iowa Infantry,” by Maureen Korte, 1 p.m.
  • Display: an original letter from Phoebe Adams to Gov. Samuel Kirkwood on display for the first time; 9th Iowa Infantry Regiment flag on stage during Phoebe Adams performance.
  • Drawing: a drawing for an American-themed quilt made by the Iowa’s Quilter’s Guild, 1:30 p.m.
  • Lecture: “The American Flag” by Museum Curator Jack Lufkin, 1:30 p.m.
  • Photo Opportunity: President Abraham Lincoln, 2 p.m.
  • Battle Flag Lab tour via Collection Camera, 2 p.m.
  • Lecture: “Citizen Soldier” by Michael Vogt of the Gold Star Museum at Camp Dodge, 2 p.m.
  • Performance: “Meet President Lincoln,” 2:30 p.m.

Flag Day events and activities are sponsored by Operation Military Kids, Brent and Sheila Hanke, Ken Lindblom, Mary Rittel Photography, Camp Grenville Dodge #75, Camp Power-Dunlavy #3, Army of the Southwest, 49th Iowa Infantry, Co. A.

Additional support comes from the Sons of Union Veterans, Sons of Confederate Veterans, Iowa Quilt Guild, Col. Greg Hapgood, Des Moines VFW, Sen. Daryl Beall, Brigadier Gen. Tim Orr and Brigadier Gen. Steven Bogel.


The State Historical Society of Iowa is a division of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs, and is a trustee of Iowa’s historical legacy and an advocate for understanding Iowa’s past. It identifies, records, collects, preserves, manages and provides access to Iowa’s historical resources. Its dual mission of preservation and education serves Iowans of all ages, conducts and stimulates research, disseminates information, and encourages and supports historical preservation and education efforts of others throughout the state. Visit www.iowahistory.org or call 515-281-5111 for more information.


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