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The Spill: Flag Day

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America Celebrates Flag Day

On June 14, 2020, the United States flag turned 243 years old. The American president, Donald Trump, turned 74 on the same day.

During the Revolutionary War, the Continental Army flew a few different flags. General George Washington felt something was needed to rally the troops. On June 14, 1777, the new flag was adopted by all. Legend claims that Washington asked a seamstress called Betsy Ross to make the banner.

The flag has changed over the centuries. More stars were added as states joined the Union. In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson declared June 14 a national holiday called Flag Day.

Two more stars have been added since then, for the last states to join the Union: Alaska and Hawaii.

Alaska was ready to join the United States in the 1950s and the country needed a new design for the stars. Bob Heft, a 17-year-old student, stitched 50 stars onto a pattern for a class project, using his mother’s sewing machine. The young man was sure Hawaii would join too, so he put 50 stars onto the flag. He got a B from his teacher.

Heft sent his flag to his congressman, who gave it to President Dwight D. Eisenhower. It was chosen to be the new Unites States flag. On July 4, 1960, Heft stood next to the president as his flag was raised in the nation’s capital. The teacher changed his grade to an A+.

Italy’s Modern Atlantis

The legend of Atlantis has some competition from a real-life “ghost town” in Italy.

Atlantis was an ancient island that sank into the ocean – people still look for it, but nobody knows if it was real or just a myth.

Fabbriche di Careggine, a 12th-century town, was sunk to the bottom of a lake in Italy. This was done in the 1940s to build a dam for making electricity.

The village was home to around 150 people. It had 31 stone houses, a cemetery, and a bridge. The church was the tallest part of the town, because of its bell tower.

The village is about 800 years old. The medieval town was a place for blacksmiths to practice and work. In 1946, the citizens moved to a new town called Vagli Sotto, which was built to look just like the home they were leaving.

It’s been 75 years since Fabbbriche de Careggine went to the bottom of the lake, but it has come to the surface four times when the lake was drained. This last happened in 1994 and around one million people flocked to the area to walk among the sunken treasure. It looks like there will be another chance in 2021 to see the ancient city rise, as the lake may be drained again.

Last Civil War Pensioner Passes Away

Irene Triplett

Irene Triplett saw a lot of things during her 90 years of life, but one memorable fact was that her father fought in the Civil War. She was the last American to get a Civil War pension (an allowance from the government), until she passed away on May 31.

Irene was raised poor in North Carolina and left school in the sixth grade, never learning to read or write. As she grew up, she was teased because her father served in both the Confederate and Union armies. They were called “traitor” for fighting for the North.

Irene’s Father, Mose Triplett, was only 16 when he enlisted with the Confederate forces in 1862. In 1864, his battalion had terrible losses in the Battle of Gettysburg. The young soldier made a daring escape and joined the Union. He was 21 years old at the time.

He worked to damage Confederate targets in eastern Tennessee and western North Carolina.

Mose was feared and despised when he came back from the war because people thought he was a deserter and a traitor. He scared his neighbors by keeping pet rattlesnakes.

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