Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Welcome New Navy Secretary Donald Winter, Time for an New "Old Navy Flag"?

4 January 2006

The Honorable Donald C. Winter
Secretary of the Navy
1000 Navy Pentagon
Washington, District of Columbia 20350-1000

Dear Secretary Winter:

Welcome Aboard! Having been confirmed as Secretary of the Navy by the Senate in November, it must be a joy to now be sworn in that position of honor and service, yesterday, the day of the Battle of Princeton. Yesterday, I received a photocopy of the 6 January 1776 letter from Sir Hugh Palliser that described the true First Navy Flag, this copy from the National Maritime Museum and Royal Observatory in Greenwich, England.

As a life member of the Naval Reserve Association, and an historian of the Founding of our Nation, I have been working for some time to persuade Navy leaders to correct an error of Navy history that we display each day – the mythical Snake Over Stripes flag that now flies as our Navy Jack. Many experts now agree on its myth.

In July, Randy Forbes endorsed my historically correct proposal of the Washington Cruisers Flag as the Navy Jack to the Office of the Secretary of Defense. In August, I moved from South Norfolk from Randy Forbes district to the Congressional District of Thelma Drake, to the Norfolk home of the world’s mightiest Navy base.

Now I ask you to sign the proposed SECNAV Instruction, for a proper change. Yet you may ask, “Why?”
1) Since 13 October, Ambassador J. William Middendorf who was Secretary of the Navy in 1975, when for the Bicentennial the Snake Over Stripes Navy Jack was first flown, now agrees that the Snake flag is an error and should be changed. He is also Chairman of the Secretary of the Navy’s Naval History Advisory Committee.
2) On 11 October, I first met with the Early History Branch of the Naval Historical Center. On 21 October, from that office I received an email about an article in a Flag History Journal “Raven” of 2004 that debunks the myth of the Rattlesnake Flag ever having flown on a Continental Navy ship. I received from them a copy of the 53 page article on 12 December and produced a one page summary, which I enclose, along with other one page info items.
3) The Naval Historical Foundation book “The NAVY” published in 2000, shows on page 13 a picture of the Hannah flying the Evergreen Tree of Liberty flag, or Washington Cruisers Flag, with the illustration caption “…the first vessel to fly under the authority of the Continental Congress.”
4) Separate from the historical accuracy issue that is strongly in favor of the Tree of Liberty Flag over the Snake flag, in the Global War for Liberty over Terrorism what is a better symbol for America, a “tall and tough as a tree” an Evergreen Tree of Liberty, or a crawling snake, when terrorists are akin to “snakes in the grass” ?

For America’s future (building up on our past),

James Renwick Manship, Sr., Chairman


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