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Every year, we celebrate Independence Day on the steps of the National Archives Building in Washington, DC. It’s a fun, free event for the whole family!
This year, Steve Scully of C-SPAN is our Master of Ceremonies. The Archivist of the United States, David S. Ferriero, will welcome the crowds. Our special guests George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Ben Franklin, Ned Hector, and Abigail Adams will read aloud the Declaration of Independence. This is your chance to boo and huzzah like the colonists of 1776!
The 3rd United States Infantry “Old Guard” Continental Color Guard will present the colors, and a soloist from the United States Navy Band will sing the National Anthem.
After the program, you can go inside and see the original Declaration of Independence in the Rotunda, where it is on permanent display. (Look for the mysterious handprint!) And don’t miss the family activities in the Boeing Learning Center.
Here’s the schedule of events—stay and watch the parade afterwards!
8 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.
Discovering the National Archives
- Sign a facsimile of the Declaration of Independence on 7th Street and Constitution Avenue.
10 – 11 a.m.
Declaration of Independence Reading Ceremony
- Ceremony emcee, C-SPAN host Steve Scully
- Presentation of colors by the Continental
Today’s post comes from Jessie Kratz, Historian of the National Archives. June 19 marks the 80th Anniversary of the establishment of the National Archives.
Eighty years ago on June 19, 1934, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed legislation creating the National Archives. It was the culmination of a 25-year campaign by the historical community to create a National Archives building to house the national government’s records.
At that time, Federal records were scattered around the Washington area in inadequate and unsuitable storage facilities. They were neither organized nor accessible for public use.
Supporters of a National Archives argued that those records—the written evidence of our national life and achievements—must be preserved for future generations.
In 1926, Congress took the first major step in creating a home for the nation’s records by authorizing construction of an Archives building. It was part of a massive public buildings project to provide office space for government agencies in the Federal Triangle area of downtown Washington, DC.
The Archives building was well under way before Congress created the agency that would occupy it.
Today’s post comes from Emma Rothberg, an intern in the National Archives History Office in Washington, DC. June 14 marks the annual celebration known as Flag Day.
On June 14, 1885, Bernard J. Cigrand placed a 10-inch, 38-star flag in a bottle on his desk at the Stony Hill School in Ozaukee County, Wisconsin. The 19-year-old teacher then asked his students to write essays on the flag and its significance to them. This small observance marked the beginning of a long and devoted campaign by Cigrand to bring about national recognition for Flag Day.
While many communities celebrated June 14 as Flag Day in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the day was not nationally recognized until 1916. In that year, President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation calling for the first nationwide observance of Flag Day.
Later, in 1949, President Harry Truman signed an act of Congress designating June 14 as National Flag Day. The act also requested that the President issue an annual proclamation calling for its observance and for the display of … [ Read all ]
Today’s blog post comes from James Worsham, Editor of Publications at the National Archives, and Tim Rives, deputy director of the Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum.
The Supreme Allied Commander listened to his weather officer’s forecast, then observed as his commanders struggled to make sense of the report.
Finally, Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, having ordered the biggest invasion force in history to a state of readiness, spoke: “The question is just how long can you keep this operation on the end of a limb and let it hang there.”
The next morning, Eisenhower arose at 3:30 and met with his staff again. He asked each one what he thought about launching the invasion of Western Europe the next day, June 6, 1944. They all said yes.
Then Eisenhower got up, paced around the room, pondering what was riding on this decision — the fate of millions.
Then he stopped pacing, looked at his commanders, and gave the go-ahead for the D-day invasion of Western Europe by the allies to bring down Hitler’s Third … [ Read all ]
In honor of Memorial Day, today’s blog post comes from Sara Holmes, supervisory preservation specialist, and Michael Pierce, preservation technician, both at the National Archives at St. Louis.
The piece of silk lay in the folder as if it were just another page in the military personnel record—with holes punched through to be held by the fasteners, just another page to be cleaned of mold and soot from the burned files from the disastrous 1973 fire at the National Personnel Records Center.
But this piece of cloth with its colorful silkscreen of a Chinese flag was clearly something different from everything else treated by the Paper Lab. Accompanying documents in the file explained how very special it was. The long journey taken by this small silken scrap, called a “blood chit,” to the National Archives began when it fell from the sky.
On June 29, 1944, 16 American planes were flying a mission against the Japanese along the Laodoho River in the Hunan Province in China. After several followed a road away from the river, one of the planes crashed into a building and then skidded across the rice fields, breaking apart and burning.
Over a year later, the Changsha Search Team reported finding the grave of an unidentified pilot. … [ Read all ]