Alaska / North America / Pic of the Week

“Pic of the Week”, July 23, 2021: Benny Benson Memorial, Seward

Seward Benny Benson Memorial (1)

The story of Alaska’s state flag is an interesting one, well worth sharing. Additionally, the Alaskan flag is elegant in its simplicity.

A contest was held in 1927 to select a design to be used for the Alaska Territory’s flag (up to that point, only the US flag was flying since the territory was purchased from Russia). The winning entry was from Benny Benson, a native Alutiq orphan. Benny designed the flag when he was just 13 years old and in the 7th grade, and he won a $100 prize. Benny was living in an orphanage in Seward, his mother having died of pneumonia when he was 3 years old. Alaska was not to become the 49th state for another 32 years.

The flag contains 8 stars, seven of which form the Big Dipper constellation (Ursa Major); the eighth star at the top right is the North Star, representing the most northern state. The blue background represents the sky, the sea and Alaska mountain lakes.

Seward has a small memorial park commemorating Benny at mile 1.4 on the Seward highway. This large anchor rests beside it and the entire site is framed by the beautiful mountains of the Kenai Peninsula.

There is a boardwalk beside the memorial that takes you to a small lake, from which we were able to watch salmon spawning.

(Click on thumbnails to enlarge, right arrow to advance slideshow)


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