July 25, 2016
Every four years since 1896, the Summer Olympics are held in a pre-selected host city for several weeks. This year (2016) the Olympics are held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. These games will be the first to be held in South America and the first to be held in the Southern Hemisphere in recent years since the Sydney games in 2000.
Every Olympic games holds an Opening Ceremony, featuring spectacular performances, music, culture, and more. In the midst of the Opening Ceremony is the Parade of Nations, which usually take place in a stadium, arena, or another type of venue in the host nation. The Parade of Nations is where the participating countries parade into the venue, carrying their flag, along with their national team. The teams usually range from one person to several hundred. Each team has a flagbearer, and the flagbearer is picked due to various reasons. Sometimes the flagbearer may be the sole team member, a medal hopeful, a medal winner from the previous games, or an official from the nation’s team. Larger nations like the United States elect their flagbearer
The Parade of Nations is led by Greece and ends with the host nation, which in this year’s case is Brazil. The parade will proceed according to the host nation’s alphabet. The names of the countries are written in the host nation’s language, so it will be listed in a different order. The reason Greece goes first in the parade is because they are the country who originally started the Olympics, so they always go first (with the exception of the 2004 Olympics in Athens, when they went last as they were the host).
It is tradition for the flagbearers to dip (or lower) their country’s flag as a sign of respect, except for the case of the United States. When the US marches in the Parade of Nations, it is tradition for the flagbearer not to dip the flag to the leader of the host nation. This was apparently have been the case since the 1908 Olympics when the flagbearer, Ralph Rose, who was an Irish-American, said “The flag dips to no earthly king”. It is unknown particularly WHY it was done but it was made permanent after the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin.
Fast Fact: There is also a Parade of Nations for the Winter Olympics, as well!
July 1, 2016
Kansas joined the Union as the 34th state on January 29, 1861. The Civil War had started the year the state entered the Union and while they were a new state, they were the state who had suffered the most casualties from the war compared to any other state.
Kansas’ state flag was adopted on May 21, 1927. It had been flown at Fort Riley for the first time to honor the troops and the Kansas National Guard. The flag is a navy blue and has the state seal emblazoned in the middle. This seal depicts the rising sun in the East while life, of covered wagons, livestock, and farming, go on in the left hand corner and below. In the sky are 34 stars, each symbolizing a state at the time the seal was created during Kansas’ entry into the Union. Above the stars is a gold ribbon, reading Ad Astra Per Aspera, the state’s motto, meaning “to the stars through difficulties”. Underneath the state seal is the word “Kansas” in yellow and atop the seal is a sunflower sitting on a twisted blue and gold bar. This bar is said to symbolize the Louisiana Purchase in which the land Kansas was in was also acquired from. The sunflower is also Kansas’ state flower.
Sunflower State/Wild Sunflower: As one can see on the state flag, the state’s official flower is the sunflower. They were growing before the land even became a state, and explorers marveled at the beauty of the golden petals. Early on, their stalks were burned for fuel and the seeds had been fed to birds. It was sadly thought of as a “noxious weed” by people who disliked the flower but was still loved by many residents of Kansas. The flower grows native to the state’s soil and many life forms, like bees and butterflies, thrive on sunflowers. Their seeds also make a very tasty snack!
Along with Sunflowers, wheat is a very big commodity in the state. Large amounts of wheat grow (enough to provide everyone in the world with at least six loaves of bread!) but the wheat harvest is very short! From early June to the first part of July, according to the Kansas Wheat Commission.
Kansas is also known for the well-known film Wizard of Oz (1939) in which the first part of the film takes place in Kansas. In Liberal, Kansas, there is a replica of Dorothy’s house known as Dorothy’s House and Land of Oz!