Friday, May 1, 2009

A Navy Jack for the EG

At the Albuquerque Tea Party, we saw many flags, including the Gadsen "Don't Tread on Me" Flag, which has a coiled rattlesnake on a yellow field, and the First Navy Jack "Don't Tread on Me" Flag, which displays an uncoiled rattlesnake on Union--13 red and white stripes.

Being a Navy Veteran (USS Hepburn), the Engineering Geek wanted a Navy Jack. I looked on line and found many very inexpensive flags, but ended up ordering a quality flag from an American flag maker (made in the USA) through Amazon.

The EG would have objected to an American flag made in China.
I ordered the flag and a spin-free flag pole separately.

The flag arrived first, along with a decal of the same, and we hung it up on the wall in entryway.

The First Navy Jack is exactly that: first. It was first hung from the jackstands of the Continental Navy in 1775 by order of the first commander of the Navy, Commodore Esek Hopkins, as the fleet stood ready on the Delaware river.
NOTE: Please see the comments. There is evidently some controversy about this story concerning Esek Hopkins regarding what flag was the first Navy Jack. More information can be found here. I will leave the story above, but this history is hard to verify. The rest of the history interwoven below is not in doubt.

The rattlesnake was a popular symbol of colonial resistance to British tyranny before and during the Revolutionary War.
The rattlesnake, as an anonymous letter to the editor (now attributed to Benjamin Franklin) explained, is the perfect symbol for America. A rattlesnake does not strike without warning first, but when it strikes it is swift and deadly.

Last night, the EG picked up the flag pole at the Tijeras Post Office, and this morning he put it together in preparation for hanging the flag outside.

He said he'd like me to order another flag pole like this one, as it is of good construction and it is spin-free, so that the flag will not roll around the pole in the ever-present mountain winds. I am also to order another bracket, so that we can fly the Navy Jack and the Stars and Stripes on national holidays.

Another interesting piece of history about this flag is that the Navy ship which has been commissioned the longest and is still serving, flies a special Navy Jack from her jackstand; the flag is special because it is passed to the next ship when the oldest ship is decommissioned.

Here the EG puts the new First Navy Jack onto the jackstand of the USS Los Pecos. When he hangs the ship's bell and the boatswain's pipe from the USS Constitution in the front hall, we will have to have a showdown. Is he the captain and me, the Exec? Or vice versa?

When he puts a lectern on the driveway, and makes us face the flag as we enter--excuse me, cross the quarter deck-- while he stands watch, then I will know he has read How to Simulate Navy Life at Home. Oy.

Another point of information about this flag: since 2002, it flies on the jackstands of all United States Navy ships for the duration of the current hostilities. (I can't remember this weeks politically correct term for the WOT).

Seriously, though, we got this flag because I wanted a "Don't Tread on Me" flag, and the Engineering Geek wanted a Navy Jack.

As more and more taxpayers understand what has been done to our liberty in the last 100 years, we all feel a bit like rattling the rattle and hissing "Don't Tread on Me!"

Like Ben Franklin's rattlesnake, we won't strike without warning, but our patience is not infinite.


J R "Sea" Manship said...

I too am a Navy man, born in Albuquerque to a Navy man and pilot stationed at Kirkland AFB, and was known at the "Snake Charmer" in high school because as an Eagle Scout I had as many as 35 snakes at one time.

HOW-SOME-EVER, the Navy Snake flag is in TRUTH the "Fake Snake" flag. I was given by Navy Historical Center an article from "Raven", the flag experts peer review magazine, with a 52 page research paper that exposes the fable or myth of the First Navy Jack being the Snake On Stripes (SOS?) flag.

In short it was a well meaning mistake by some Navy staff officers in the SECNAVs office planning for the Bicentennial in the mid-1970s who saw a color plate in a Websters Dictionary who then designed the flag details deciding how many bends in the body and how many rattles in the tail for the so-called "historic" Navy Snake Jack flag.

On the other hand, in the Library of Congress is a letter of 20 October 1775 from Joseph Reed, the aide to Commander in Chief Washington that describes the Liberty Tree flag that flew on the first eight ships of the Continental Navy, called the Washington Cruisers.

There is only ONE surviving "Pine Tree" flag from the Colonial and Revolutionary eras, which the owner provided to me a digital color photograph so to re-create from "DNA" bits of history the shape and color of the tree to go along with the motto described in Reed's letter.

The Liberty Tree true First Navy Flag can be seen at www.FirstNavyFlag.US

For Truth, Justice and the American Way,

James Renwick Manship, Sr.
former LCDR, USNR, "Crypto"

Amie said...

Very cool! I want one of those "Don't Tread On Me" flags.

Elisheva Hannah Levin said...

JR: This flag history has become so fascinating that I have whiled away an hour on it, and must now get back to what I need to do today! Thanks.

Amie: There are some good deals at Amazon. I like to use Amazon Marketplace because if there are problems with the order I have Amazon backing me up. However, I have found both of the flag companies I dealt with to be reliable: Annin flags and US Flags.

I actually wanted the Gadsen flag, which was the standard of Carolina's Navy and Privateers. But the EG liked the "strip'd jack."