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Tennessee State Salutes to the Flag

First and Second Salutes to the Flag Adopted: June 2, 2006
Tennessee state salutes to the flag

Two official salutes were officially written into the Tennessee Code as law when Governor Phil Bredesen signed Senate Bill No. 2820 (SB2820) on June 2, 2006.

The salutes are simply referred to in the legislation as the first official salute and the second official salute for reasons described below.

Long before these two salutes were named official salutes in 2006, they had each been designated Tennessee's official salute to the flag! Confused?

First official salute to the flag

Lucy Steele Harrison served as State Regent of the Tennessee Society, Daughters of the American Revolution from 1981-1983.

She had written a short, four-line poem and it had been adopted by The Tennessee Society as their salute to the Tennessee State flag.

Lucy Steele Harrison's Salute

   "Three white stars on a field of blue
   God keep them strong and ever true
   It is with pride and love that we
   Salute the Flag of Tennessee."
	

On March 5, 1981, by Senate Joint Resolution No. 63 of the 92nd General Assembly, the DAR's salute was named "the official salute to the flag of Tennessee."

Second official salute to the flag

The years passed; six years. According to the text of 2006's SB2820, Miss John Bostick [sic], "native of Tennessee, state and legislative employee, and first woman from Williamson County to be licensed to practice law in Tennessee," noticed "during the 1986 Tennessee Homecoming ’86 celebration that Tennessee did not have an official 'Salute to the Tennessee Flag'." (Evidently, she was unaware of Lucy Steele Harrison's salute declared official by Senate Joint Resolution in 1981.)

Determined to correct what she believed to be an oversight, Bostick wrote her own short verse.

Miss John Bostick's Salute

   "Flag of Tennessee, I salute thee
   To thee I pledge my allegiance with
   My affection, my service and my life."
	

Presuming that the State of Tennessee only needs one official salute to the flag, the 95th General Assembly seems not to have been aware of the earlier legislative resolution. Miss John Bostick's salute was adopted as the official state salute by "Senate Joint Resolution No. 23 of the 95th General Assembly adopted on 17 February, 1987."

Giving the salutes the weight of law

When the year 2006 rolled around, Tennessee was in possession of two official salutes to the flag each declared by Senate Joint Resolutions in the 1980s.

The Tennessee DAR was using Lucy Steele Harrison's salute to the state flag at meetings and events.

Tennessee state salutes to the flag

According to the Chattanooga Times Free Press, "Rep. DuBois said he was contacted by the Tennessee Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution in January about adopting a new state flag salute. The DAR wanted to immortalize these lines written in the 1980s by Lucy Steele Harrison, one of the organization's former leaders."

The state DAR took the poem as its salute, but DuBois said members recently came to him and said they want it to be recited by the Legislature — which opens floor sessions with a prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance — and maybe one day by children in schools across the state.[1]

Tennessee state salutes to the flag
House Bill No. 2874

Representative Tom DuBois crafted House Bill No. 2874 (HB2874) proposing that Lucy Steele Harrison's short poem be "designated and adopted as the official salute to the flag of Tennessee." The 1981 resolution was noted and it was stated that the purpose of HB2478 was to make the designation more formal.

"...because of the enduring patriotism of Mrs. Harrison's salute, this General Assembly desires to make this designation more formal;

A companion bill to HB2874, Senate Bill No. 2820 (SB2820), was introduced in the State Senate by Senator Diane Black.

On March 23, 2006, SB2820 was passed by the Tennessee Senate.

In the House, HB2874 was bouncing around from committee to committee and had not received a floor vote.

On April 12, 2006, the Tennessee House substituted SB2820 for HB2874.

A couple of significant things happened in the House regarding SB2820. Three amendments were proposed.

First proposed House amendment

Perhaps the issue that most impacted the bill was the discovery of the second official salute that had been adopted in 1987. The second salute, as mentioned above, had been composed by Miss John Bostick.

The first proposed amendment added text to SB2840 recognizing Bostick's salute and set the stage for the adoption of "two" official salutes by the Tennessee General Assembly. This amendment failed to pass.

Second proposed House amendment

The second amendment proposed a section to clarify protocol for the use of the salute.

Before an official of any group or organization leads the members of the group or organization in reciting an official salute to the flag of Tennessee the members of such group or organization shall first be lead by the official in reciting the pledge of allegiance to the flag of the United States. Nothing in this requirement shall be construed to compel any person to recite either the pledge of allegiance or official salute.

This amendment failed to pass.

Third proposed House amendment

The third amendment included the text regarding Bostick's salute and it added text, section 2, with a sort of fuzzy mandate to several organizations "to meet and discuss the issue of official salutes to the flag of Tennessee." This third amendment was passed in the House.

SB2840, as amended, passed in the Tennessee House or Representatives on May 11, 2006. The amended bill was returned to the Senate for their approval, which they gave on May 17, 2006.

The State of Tennessee became the proud owner of two official salutes to the flag when Governor Phil Bredesen signed Senate Bill No. 2820 on June 2, 2006.

CHAPTER NO. 841

SENATE BILL NO. 2820

By Black, Henry, Beavers, Bowers, Bryson, Burchett, Burks, Cohen, Cooper, Crowe, Crutchfield, Finney, Ford, Fowler, Haynes, Henry, Herron, Jackson, Ketron, Kilby, Kurita, Kyle, McLeary, McNally, Miller, Norris, Curtis S. Person, Jr., Ramsey, Southerland, Tracy, Williams, Woodson, Mr. Speaker Wilder

Substituted for: House Bill No. 2874

By DuBois, McDonald, Russell Johnson, Gresham, Campfield, Hensley, Hill, Swafford, Matheny

AN ACT to amend Tennessee Code Annotated, Title 4, Chapter 1, Part 3, to adopt an official salute to the Tennessee flag.

WHEREAS, the flag of the State of Tennessee was designed by LeRoy Reeves of the Third Regiment, Tennessee Infantry; and

WHEREAS, this flag was adopted as the official flag of the State of Tennessee by the General Assembly on April 17, 1905; and

WHEREAS, our flag (a design of three white stars representing the three grand divisions of the state bound together by the endless circle on a field of blue, symbolizing an insoluble trinity, all placed on a solid field of crimson) waves proudly as the most recognizable symbol of our state; and

WHEREAS, Lucy Steele Harrison, State Regent of The Tennessee Society, Daughters of the American Revolution from 1980-1983, composed a stirring salute to the Tennessee flag, which was subsequently designated "the official salute to the flag of Tennessee" by Senate Joint Resolution No. 63 of the 92nd General Assembly adopted on March 5, 1981; and

WHEREAS, Miss John Bostick, native of Tennessee, state and legislative employee, and first woman from Williamson County to be licensed to practice law in Tennessee, realizing during the 1986 Tennessee Homecoming ’86 celebration that Tennessee did not have an official “Salute to the Tennessee Flag”, penned such a verse that was officially recognized as such by Senate Joint Resolution No. 23 of the 95th General Assembly adopted on 17 February, 1987; and

WHEREAS, it is only fitting and proper that this General Assembly honor all Tennesseans who have demonstrated their love of and dedication to this state and of the proud Tennessee flag by writing officially recognized salutes to that banner’s continuing glory and beauty; and

WHEREAS, because of the enduring patriotism of Mrs. Harrison and Miss Bostick, this General Assembly desires to make these official designations more formal; now, therefore,

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF TENNESSEE:

SECTION 1. Tennessee Code Annotated, Title 4, Chapter 1, Part 3, is amended by adding the following language as a new Section 4-1-329:

§ 4-1-329.

(a) The following salute written by Lucy Steele Harrison is designated and adopted as the first official salute to the flag of Tennessee:

"Three white stars on a field of blue

God keep them strong and ever true

It is with pride and love that we

Salute the Flag of Tennessee."

(b) The following salute written by Miss John Bostick is designated and adopted as the second official salute to the flag of Tennessee:

"Flag of Tennessee, I salute thee

To thee I pledge my allegiance with

My affection, my service and my life."

SECTION 2. Representatives of the Tennessee Historical Society, Tennessee History for Kids, The Tennessee Society, Daughters of the American Revolution and any other recognized group with an interest in Tennessee history or the Tennessee flag are urged to meet and discuss the issue of official salutes to the flag of Tennessee. If the group is able to develop recommendations for other salutes to the flag of Tennessee, or if the group determines there have been other salutes adopted by the general assembly or otherwise generally recognized, such group shall so state in a report to be filed with the clerk of the Senate and the clerk of the House of Representatives.

SECTION 3. This act shall take effect upon becoming a law, the public welfare requiring it.


Sources...

[1] "Lawmaker wants flag salute adopted." Knoxville News Sentinel 15 Mar 2006. n. pag. Web. 18 Sep. 2011. <http://www.knoxnews.com/kns/state/article/0,1406,KNS_348_4543795,00.html>.
"New Salute." Chattanooga Times Free Press 04 Jun 2006. n. pag. Web. 18 Sep. 2011. <http://news.tradingcharts.com/futures/1/1/79460411.html>.
The State of Tennessee. Tennessee Code Annotated. Nashville: The State of Tennessee, 2006. Web. 18 Aug 2011. <http://www.lexisnexis.com/hottopics/tncode/>.
Tennessee General Assembly. House Bill No. 278. Nashville:The State of Tennessee, 2006. Web. 23 Aug 2011. <http://wapp.capitol.tn.gov/apps/BillInfo/Default.aspx?BillNumber=HB0278&ga=106>.
Shearer, Benjamin F. and Barbara S. State Names, Seals, Flags and Symbols: A Historical Guide Third Edition, Revised and Expanded. Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press, 3 Sub edition, 2001.


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