Today the Beacon of Honor Awakens Our Flag ... (Archives)

Students stating the Pledge on Flag Day in 1899 (public domain picture)

Today, the Beacon of Honor Awakens Our Flag to remind us that The Pledge of Allegiance of the United States is an expression of allegiance to the Flag of the United States and the republic of the United States of America, composed by Francis Bellamy in 1892 and formally adopted by Congress as the pledge in 1942.[6] The official name of The Pledge of Allegiance was adopted in 1945.


The United States Flag Code states:  The Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag: “I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”, should be rendered by standing at attention facing the flag with the right hand over the heart. When not in uniform men should remove any non-religious headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart. Persons in uniform should remain silent, face the flag, and render the military salute. Members of the Armed Forces not in uniform and veterans may render the military salute in the manner provided for persons in uniform.[2]


Opening Ceremony at the first modern Olympic Games in Athens (public domain picture)

Today, the Beacon of Honor Awakens Our Flag to remind us that on this date, April 6th of 1896, was the opening of the first modern Olympic Games in Athens, Greece.


So, how do the Olympics Awaken Our Flag?  This coming summer, watch the Olympics from Rio de Janeiro in Brazil.  You'll witness American pride in our country and our flag at its best - from the opening ceremony, through the stirring Olympic Gold Medal ceremonies for USA athletic event winners, to the closing ceremony.


Today, the Beacon of Honor Awakens Our Flag to remind us that on this date, April 5th of 1792, President Washington became the first president to veto a bill presented to him for approval by Congress. 

The word, veto, means “to forbid” in Latin.  So, when presidents’ veto a bill, they are forbidding or rejecting the law that Congress wants to pass.  The bill then goes back to Congress to make changes that meet the President’s approval or they must get two-thirds of Congress to approve the bill as it is and make it a law without the President’s approving signature.  

This is all part of our government’s ‘balance of power’ established by the U.S. Constitution.

King is most famous for his "I Have a Dream" speech, given in front of the Lincoln Memorial during the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. (Public domain picture)

Today, the Beacon of Honor Awakens Our Flag and reminds us that on this date, April 4th, in 1968, Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee. 

Martin Luther King, Jr. was an American Baptist minister, activist, humanitarian, and leader in the African-American Civil Rights Movement. He is best known for his role in the advancement of civil rights using nonviolent civil disobedience.


His most famous speech, given on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in 1963, is known as 'I Have a Dream'.

Listen to a portion of this speech now.


BoH-AoF Challenge:

   How many years ago did this happen?

   How do you spell Tennessee?

Al Gore, former Vice President of the United States (public domain picture)

Today, the Beacon of Honor Awakens Our Flag, reminds us of Al Gore, a former Vice President of the United States. 


Albert Arnold "Al" Gore Jr. (born March 31, 1948) is an American politician and environmentalist who served as the 45th Vice President of the United States from 1993 to 2001 under President Bill Clinton.  After leaving office, Gore remained prominent as an author and environmental activist, whose work in climate change activism earned him the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007.


Also, Al Gore is a Vietnam Veteran who served in the US Army during the war. 






Painting depicting the story of Betsy Ross presenting the first American flag to General George Washington, by Edward Percy Moran. (public domain picture)

Today, the Beacon of Honor Awakens Our Flag, on our Patriotic Women Wednesday, reminds us of Betsy Ross. 


Elizabeth Phoebe "Betsy" Ross (January 1, 1752 – January 30, 1836), is widely credited with making the first American flag in 1776 for General George Washington, commander-in-chief of the Continental Army. She is credited with changing the shape of the stars General Washington had sketched for the flag from six-pointed to five-pointed 

However, there is no archival evidence or other recorded verbal tradition to verify this story of the first American flag, and it appears that the story first surfaced in the writings of her grandson in the 1870s, with no mention or documentation in earlier decades.

Regardless, it is known that she and her husband, John Ross, started an upholstery business, and Betsy was skilled at repairing uniforms, making tents, and blankets for the Continental Army.  So, there's no doubt she had the skills and connections to George Washington to be asked to make our first flag.  


What did our first flag look like?  How many stars did it have?








The Twenty-third Amendment (public domain picture)

Today, the Beacon of Honor Awakens Our Flag, reminds us of the Twenty-third Amendment (Amendment XXIII) to the United States Constitution - which was ratified by the states on this date in 1961.  The 23rd Amendment extends the right to vote in the presidential election to citizens residing in the District of Columbia by granting the District electors in the Electoral College, as if it were a state.


The Electoral College, established in the United States Constitution, is the institution that elects the President and Vice President of the United States every four years. The President and Vice President are not elected directly by the voters. Instead, they are elected by "electors" who are chosen by popular vote on a state-by-state basis. As the District of Columbia is not a state, it was not entitled to any electors prior to the adoption of the Twenty-third Amendment. Citizens living in the district were therefore shut out from the presidential–vice presidential election process.







Today, the Beacon of Honor Awakens Our Flag, reminds us of an old time patriotic song, 'You're a Grand Old Flag".


Listen to it now








LTC (Ret) Edward J. Sweeney, Jr. / Poppy

Today, the Beacon of Honor Awakens Our Flag, reminds us of LTC (Ret) Ed Sweeney, Jr. and his memorial flagpole - the inspiration for the Beacon of Honor service. Yesterday would have been his 70th birthday and today, St. Patrick's Day, was his FAVORITE HOLIDAY. 








Susan B. Anthony (public domain picture)

Today, the Beacon of Honor Awakens Our Flag, on our 2nd Patriotic Women Wednesday and reminds us of women's rights activist Susan B. Anthony.  Susan B Anthony was an American social reformer who played a pivotal role in the anti-slavery and women's suffrage movements.  In 1890, she helped form and led the National American Woman Suffrage Association,  In 1872, Anthony was arrested for voting in her hometown of Rochester, New York.

In 1878, Anthony and a friend and supporter, Elizabeth Stanton, arranged for Congress to be presented with an amendment giving women the right to vote. Popularly known as the Anthony Amendment and introduced by Sen. Aaron A. Sargent (R-CA), it became the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in 1920.







US Flag with 23 stars. In use 4 July 1820–3 July 1822 (public domain illustration)

The Beacon of Honor Awakens Our Flag tells us that on this day, in 1820, Maine became the 23rd U.S. state.











Geography Challenge:  What is the capital of Maine?


Math Challenge:

  For the 23-star U.S. flag there are 4 rows of stars.

The 1st, 3rd, and 4th rows have the same amount of stars...

The 2nd row has the least amount in its row...

So, how many stars are in each row?



Albert Einstein, a German-American physicist, engineer, academic, and Nobel Prize laureate (public domain picture)

On this day, our Beacon of Honor Awakens Our Flag to remind us to honor the birth of one of the United States' and one the world's greatest scientists. 


So, the Beacon of Honor Awakens Our Flag to ask, Who am I? ...


1) I was born on this date in 1879 in Germany as part of a Jewish family

2) I was visiting the U.S. in 1933 when Adolf Hitler came to power in Germany, and being Jewish, I decided not to go back to Germany.

3) I became a U.S. citizen in 1940

4) I am credited with establishing the foundation of modern physics by presenting the 'theory of relativity' that changed our views on space, time, and matter.

5) My famous physics equation, E=mc2 (squared), written in 1905 eventually led to a Nobel Prize in 1920.


Who am I?


an U.S. Armed Forces Joint Service Color Guard (public domain picture)

On this day, we call 'Never Forgotten Friday', our Beacon of Honor and Flag reminds us to honor the active duty soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines who defend our freedoms near and abroad. 


In particular today, we pay tribute to U.S. Marine Jason Dempster - one of our own. 


He's a former Heritage Elementary student, who went on to graduate from Mountain Vista High School last summer, and now proudly serves our country as a member of the United States Marine Corps. 


He's on his way to his first duty station in Okinawa, Japan.


Now, to finish up our ceremony on this 'Never Forgotten Friday', let's listen to Carter read this week's Medal of Honor citation.


U.S. sheriff and marshal badges are typically star-shaped, as opposed to the more shield-like badges of other law enforcement officers. (public domain picture)

Today, the Beacon of Honor Awakens Our Flag, on this day when we honor Las Animas County Deputy Sheriff Travis Russell, tells about the duites and responsibilities of a Deputy Sheriff.




  •   Patrols an assigned district in a patrol car on assignment for the purpose of observing the area for possible criminal activity or other conditions that could endanger public safety, investigating complaints, and enforcing laws; maintains high visibility.


  •     Investigates and reports accidents, dangerous or defective streets, sidewalks, traffic lights, or other hazardous conditions.


  •     Investigates crimes, interviews witnesses, complainants, and victims; and gathers physical evidence and preserves for court; conducts follow up investigations as needed.


  •     Performs special projects as directed by the Sheriff.

  •     Is physically fit and proficient in the use of weapons to subdue, arrest, or eliminate harmful criminals.

  •     Takes active charge in serious or unusual situations.




Astronaut Christa McAuliffe (public domain picture)

Today, the Beacon of Honor Awakens Our Flag, on this first Patriotic Women Wednesday, reminds us of Astronaut Christa McAuliffe, who was the first teacher to become an astronaut.  She was scheduled to become the first teacher in space.  Unfortunately, on January 28, 1986, the Space Shuttle Challenger broke apart 73 seconds after launch.  All 7 crew members, including Astronaut Christa McAuliffe, died in the high-altitude explosion.  In 2004, she was posthumously awarded the Congressional Space Medal of Honor.  The Congressional Space Medal of Honor was authorized by the United States Congress in 1969 to recognize "any astronaut who in the performance of his duties has distinguished himself by exceptionally meritorious efforts and contributions to the welfare of the Nation and mankind." The highest award given by NASA, it is awarded by the President of the United States in Congress's name on recommendations.



Mr. Sweeney's memory of Astronaut Christa McAuliffe and the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster.  Play this audio file.





President Reagan and First Lady Nancy Reagan during the inaugural parade, 1981 (public domain picture)

Yesterday, the Beacon of Honor Awakens Our Flag alerted us to the Presdient's Half-Staff Proclamation honoring the death of former First Lady Nancy Reagan.  She served as First Lady from 1981 to 1989 with her husband, Ron Reagan, leading as our 40th U.S. President.  She was the founder of the 'Just Say No' anti-drug campaign of the 1980s.



Bell placing the first New York to Chicago telephone call in 1892 (public domain picture)

On this day, March 7th of 1876, the Beacon of Honor Awakens Our Flag informs us that Alexander Graham Bell was granted a patent for an invention he called the 'telephone'.


Mr Sweeney's thought on this:

   Yes, the telephone was invented Mr. Bell so folks could actually talk to each other. :)  I wonder how he would feel about how his invention has evolved to enable texing, gaming, and socializing.

The Beacon of Honor Awakens Our Flag, on this Never Forgotten Friday, tells us about America's newest Medal of Honor recipient.  Earlier this week, President Obama personally presented this award to U.S. Navy SEAL Edward Byers Jr.


Click here to listen to Mr. Sweeney read Senior Chief Special Warfare Operator Ed Byers' Medal of Honor citation.


US Flag with 27 stars. In use 4 July 1845–3 July 1846 (public domain illustration)

The Beacon of Honor Awakens Our Flag tells us that on this day, in 1845, Florida became the 27th U.S. state.


Math Challenge:

  For the 27-star U.S. flag there are 4 rows of stars, of which 3 rows have the same amount of stars...

So, how many stars are in the odd-man-out row?



Geisel in 1957, holding The Cat in the Hat (public domain picture)

Today, the Beacon of Honor Awakens Our Flag, reminds us to celebrate the National Read Across America Day and asks 'Who Am I?"

   -The National Read Across America Day commemorates my birthday

   -I am one of America's greatest and funniest children's book authors

   -My books sold over 600 million copies in 20 languages

   -I wrote such books as 'If I Ran the Zoo', 'Horton Hears a Who!', 'The Cat in the Hat'


And, who can name two more of my books?


I am Theodor Seuss Geisel, also known as Dr. Seuss. 

So, grab a book, such as 'Green Eggs and Ham', and read with your parents for 20 minutes today.

Great Falls of the Yellowstone (1870s) Photographer: William Henry Jackson (public domain picture)

Today, on March 1st of 1872, the Beacon of Honor Awakens Our Flag to remind us that on this date the U.S. Congress authorized creation of Yellowstone National Park.  It was the world's first National Park.


Heritage Elementary's U.S. flagpole

Today, on February 29, 2016, the Beaocn of Honor Awakens Our Flag begins to teach us how to properly honor and handle our U.S. Flag.



U.S Flag etiquette "Do's and Don'ts" continued...


When the flag is displayed over the middle of the street, it should be suspended vertically with the union (blue field of stars) to the north or to the east.


When placed on a Podium the flag should be placed on the speaker’s right or the staging area.


When displayed either horizontally or vertically against a wall (or other flat surface), the union (blue field of stars) should be uppermost and to the flag's own right, that is, to the observer's left.


When displayed in a window it should be displayed in the same way -- with the union or blue field to the left of the observer in the street.


When the flag is displayed on a car, the staff shall be fixed firmly to the chassis or clamped to the right fender.


more to Do's and Don'ts coming soon...

Poppy's Memorial Flagpole in the Sweeney's backyard

Today, on February 25, 2016, the Beaocn of Honor Awakens Our Flag begins to teach us how to properly honor and handle our U.S. Flag.








The U.S. Flag Code formalizes and unifies the traditional ways in which we give respect to the flag, also contains specific instructions on how the flag is not to be used.

The following is a list of do’s and don’ts associated with Old Glory, the U.S. Flag.

When displaying the flag, DO the following:

  • Display the U.S. flag from sunrise to sunset on buildings and stationary flagstaffs in the open. When a patriotic effect is desired the flag may be displayed 24-hours a day if properly illuminated during the hours of darkness.
  • When placed on a single staff or lanyard, place the U.S. Flag above all other flags.
  • When flags are displayed in a row, the U.S. flag goes to the observer’s left. Flags of other nations are flown at same height. State and local flags are traditionally flown lower.
  • When used during a marching ceremony or parade with other flags, the U.S. Flag will be to the observer’s left.
  • On special days, the flag may be flown at half-staff. On Memorial Day it is flown at half-staff until noon and then raised.
  • When flown at half-staff, should be first hoisted to the peak for an instant and then lowered to the half-staff position. The flag should be again raised to the peak before it is lowered for the day. By "half-staff" is meant lowering the flag to one-half the distance between the top and bottom of the staff.


more to Do's and Don'ts coming soon...

Photo credit to: ProjectRED Grouppicture.jpg: Steve Jurvetson from Menlo Park, (Flickr), CC BY 2.0,

Today, on February 24, 2016, the Beaocn of Honor Awakens Our Flag challenges us to remember one of America's greatest entrepreneurs and a shining star for America's free enterprise system.

Who am I?


- My Syrian father and American mother gave me up for adoption

- I was CEO and the largest shareholder of Pixar Animation Studios (yes, the one that made all the great animated movies, Toy Story, The Incredibles, etc.)

- I've been described as a "creative entrepreneur whose passion for perfection and ferocious drive revolutionized six industries: personal computers, animated movies, music, phones, tablet computing, and digital publishing."

- My company invented tech products, like the Macintosh, the iPod, iPhone, & iPad, and the even little known iBeacon which your class is using today for the 'Beacon of Honor - Awakens Our Flag' project.

- I was the Co-founder and CEO of Apple and died of cancer in 2011


Who am I?


picture by: Joe Rosenthal / The Associated Press

Today, on February 23, 2016, the Beaocn of Honor Awakens Our Flag tells us of the story of one of the most famous flag-raisings of all time. 


The flag-raising atop Mt. Suribachi took place on February 23, 1945; five days after the battle began. Associated Press photographer Joe Rosenthal took the famous photograph of five __Marines_______ and one ___Navy_____ corpsman raising the flag. The flag raisers were Corporal Harlon Block, __Navy_____ Pharmacist’s Mate John Bradley, Corporal Rene Gagnon, Private First Class Franklin Sousley, Sergeant Michael Strank, and Corporal Ira Hayes. Three of these men—Strank, Sousley, and Block—were killed before the battle was over.


What is this flag-raising called?  The flag-raising on __Iwo Jima_____________.




Here is a short reading about the Battle of Iwo Jima.

President George Washington (public domain picture)

Today, on February 22, 2016, the Beaocn of Honor Awakens Our Flag helps us envision a famous American Patriot. 

He asks the class to answer the quesiton,

"Who am I?"


- I was the Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army

- I presided over the convention that drafted the U.S. Constitution


- My retirement from office after two terms established a tradition carried on until 1940

- My proclamations established the 'Inaugural Address', the first 'National Day of Thanksgiving' in 1789


- My parents were wealthy planters who owned tobacco plantations and slaves which I inherited

- I owned hundreds of slave throughout my lifetime, but my views on slavery evolved and changed


- I was a 'Founding Father'

- My childhood legacy is a story still passed on today.  The story of how I chopped down my father's favorite cherry tree and when asked about it, I took responsibility and showed integrity by stating, "I cannot tell a lie, Pa."


- My face is on the one dollar bill and quarter

- I was the first President of the United States of America



Who am I?

I am George Washington and I was born on this date in 1732 in Colonial Virginia.

Today, on February 19, 2016, after 3 days of flag status issues, the Beaocn of Honor Awakens Our Flag tells us the story of a honorable 6th grade class whose actions fixed the flag status at its school and others in the area.  By standing up to do what's right for its country, its President, its US Constitution, and its citizens, Ms Wheeler's 6th graders' actions reflected great credit upon itself, its teacher, and Heritage Elementary.


   Note from Mr. Sweeney:  I was beaming with pride as I drove by Heritage Elementary this morning and saw the flags at half staff.  My smile and appreciation for you kids nearly burst when I also saw that the flags at MRMS and MVHS were also at half staff. Obviously, the courageous actions you took to tell the staff at Heritage and to write the district about the US flag status communication problem paid off.  I look forward to working with you on this 'Create Something Great' solution you've come up to solve this flag status communication problem at your school district and potentially many others across the United States.  Keep up the good work. 

Today, on February 18, 2016, the Beacon of Honor Awakens Our Flag to make us aware of a communication problem within our school district.  Do we have the tools and motivation to solve this problem?

Today the flag awakens memories of February 17, 1801 when an electoral tie between Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr is resolved when Jefferson is elected President of the United States and Burr, Vice President by the United States House of Representatives.

Lincoln and George McClellan after the Battle of Antietam in 1862. (public domain picture)

for February 12:


Listen to this reading President Abraham Lincoln's most famous speech - The Gettysburg Address

A class photo of the 111th United States Senate (public domain picture)

for February 11:

Beacon of Honor-Awakens Our Flag challenge on Edmodo:

   How many members are there in the U.S. Senate?

   And, who are our U.S. Senators for Colorado?

Constitution of the United States, page 1 (public domain picture)

for February 10:

The assassination of President John F. Kennedy in November of 1963 prompted the development of the 25th Amendment to our U.S. Constitution.


Edmodo challenge:  What rules does the 25h Amendment put in place for our US Constitution?

U.S. Marines debark from LCP(L)s onto Guadalcanal on 7 August 1942. (public domain picture)

for February 9:

in 1957: Troops from the 101st Airborne escorting the Little Rock Nine African-American students up the steps of Central High. (public domain picture)

for February 8:

The Asiatic Barred Zone as defined by the Immigration Act of 1917.

for February 5:

Edmodo challenge:  How many votes does it take in Congress to overcome a Presidential veto?  And, what type of immigrant blockade is being debated today, 99 years after from this Asiatic block?



for February 4:


Edmodo challenge: What is a Chief Justice and what branch of the U.S. government does the Chief lead?

for February 3:

Edmodo challenge:  Name who was given voting rights by the 15th Amendment.

More details Germany's Führer Adolf Hitler (right) beside Italy's Duce Benito Mussolini (left) (By Bundesarchiv, Bild 146-1969-065-24 / CC-BY-SA 3.0, CC BY-SA 3.0 de, $3

for February 2:


Edmodo challenge:  The United States was the leading member of the "Allied Forces" fighting to free countries taken over by the Axis Forces.  Name the 3 countries in the Axis.

Picture of the original 13th Amendment signed by Abraham Lincoln

for February 1:


The 13th Amendment abolished slavery and involuntary servitude in 1865.  But in 1863, President Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation gave freedom to slaves in the Confederate states. 


Edmodo challenge:  So, why was the 13th Amendment needed?  


for January 29:

T-bar lift in Are Sweden (public domain photo)

for January 28:

  • 1934 – The first ski tow in the United States begins operation in Vermont.   (courtesy of Wikipedia)
Grissom, Chaffee and White participate in Apollo 1 water egress training, June 1966

for January 27:

Photo of the XX Amendment (public domain)

for January 24 (in place of January 26):



for January 23 (in place of January 25):



The Original Apple Macintosh computer (picture credit to "Macintosh 128k transparency" by w:User:Grm wnr - Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons)

for January 22nd:


Check out the YouTube video of the Apple MacIntosh 1984 Super Bowl TV ad.  Wow, it's weird! ;)

Cover of first printed American novel (public domain picture)

for January 21st:

King is most famous for his "I Have a Dream" speech, given in front of the Lincoln Memorial during the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. (Public domain picture)

for January 20th:

Listen to a portion of MLK's "I have a dream speech."

"Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration." – Thomas Alva Edison (Public domain picture)

for January 19th:

for January 14th:

Congressional Proclamation of Ratification of Treaty of Paris, January 14, 1784 (public domain image)

for January 13th:

   1784 – American Revolutionary WarRatification Day, United States - Congress ratifies the Treaty of Paris with Great Britain.  This treaty officially ended the American Revolutionary War.  (courtesy of Wikipedia)

1969 Super Bowl featuring NY Jets vs. Baltimore Colts

for January 12th:

Amelia Earhart, Los Angeles, 1928 X5665 – 1926 "CIT-9 Safety Plane" (Public Domain picture)

for January 11th:

   1935 – Amelia Earhart becomes the first person to fly solo from Hawaii to California. (Courtesy of Wikipedia)

First flight of the Wright Flyer I, December 17, 1903, Orville piloting, Wilbur running at wingtip. (public domain picture)

for December 17th:


  • 1903 - The Wright brothers make the first control-powered, heavier-than-air flight in the Wright Flyer 1 at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina (courtesy of
Boston Tea Party (public domain picture)

for December 16th:

The Bill of Rights kept at the National Archives (public domain)

for December 15th:

"Alabama in United States" by TUBS - Own work

for December 14th:

(public domain pic)

for December 12th:

Eugene Cernan on the lunar surface on December 13, 1972 (public domain pic)

for December 11th:

"Nobel Peace Prize" medallion [Public Domain in USA... Photograph credit to: JonathunderMedal: Erik Lindberg (1873-1966) - Derivative of File:NobelPrize.JPG. Via Wikipedia]

for December 10th:

"Charlie Brown Christmas" by Source. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia

for December 9th:

FDR signs declaration of war against Japan (public domain pic)

for December 8th:

Astronaut Eugene A. Cernan, commander, makes a short checkout of the Lunar Roving Vehicle (public domain pic)

for December 7th:

49er panning for gold in California (public domain pic)

for December 5th:

President Woodrow Wilson (public domain pic)

for December 4th:

  • 1918 – U.S. President Woodrow Wilson sails for the World War I peace talks in Versailles, becoming the first US president to travel to Europe while in office.  (courtesy of

for December 3rd:

"American Progress" - 1872 painting by John Gast representing America's movement west (public domain picture)

for December 2nd:

Rosa Parks with MLK (public domain pic)

for December 1st:


for November 30th:

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