Militia Flag Ceremony & Activity

Flag Raising and Lowering Ceremonies – The flag raising and lowering ceremonies are carried out by the Militia on site and signal the beginning and end of your Company’s seven years of service. The Fort supplies you with the following generic flag raising and lowering ceremony speeches on site, printed out on separate pieces of paper, and ready for your use.  Each speech is split into four portions to be distributed amongst the employees. You are welcome to customize your own speeches, and print them out on separate pieces of paper so they are ready to be read by your Militia employees — burning the edges of the speeches is a nice touch. Let each Militia member read a portion out loud during the raising and lowering of the company flag.  The ELP Instructor will assist with the ceremonies on site.

 

Militia Prepare to Post the Colors – Militia line up facing the flagpole, the rest of the company sit on the benches across. Our generic speech comes in the following four portions  to be read to the whole Company:

  • Please stand at attention as we hoist the flag of the Russian American Company. Over 200 years ago a group of Russians and Alaskans arrived and began construction of this settlement.
  • One of the highest points in their colony was the flagpole and from it flew their flag letting all who might see it know that this was Colony Ross.
  • Today, we the employees and officers of _________ school take our place behind these explorers and hunters.
  • We are honored to raise our flag in the same place, with the same sense of pride that the founders of this settlement must have felt. Militia hoist the colors!

After the flag is raised everyone says, “To Colony Ross!!!”

 

Militia Prepare to Lower the Flag – Militia line up facing the flagpole, the rest of the company sit on the benches across. Our generic speech comes in the following four portions to be read to the whole Company:

  • For those gathered, please stand at attention and be silent during the lowering of the flag.
  • Before we lower our flag that has flown over this settlement the past day, we would like to thank all the officers who helped in our adventure.
  • And a very special thank you to our manager (teacher) __________  for your energy and dedication to this great program.
  • The lowering of the flag signifies the end of our time at Colony Ross.  May our memories of our time at this colony live on forever. Militia — lower the flag.

After the flag is lowered everyone says, “To Colony Ross!!!”


Customized Russian American Company (RAC) Flag Ceremony Examples – These flag ceremonies were read by the Environmental Living Program class of Louise Menezes of Pleasant Valley School in Novato. The militia brought everyone to the flagpole. They had red sashes and stood at attention. Three militia were at the flagpole ready to raise the class flag. Four students each read one of these lines. For the Fort Ross Staff and the parents this was a very touching moment.

  • Nearly 188 years ago a brave group of Russians and Aleuts arrived here and began construction of this fort.
  • The highest point in their new fort was the flagpole and from it flew their flag letting all who might see it know that this was their fort and they were ready to defend it against all enemies and intruders.
  • We are honored to raise our flag in the same place with the same sense of pride that the founders of this fort must have felt.
  • Today, we the students and parents of Pleasant Valley School take our place behind these brave explorers and hunters.

As the militia lowered the flag, they once again took their places. There was an air of sadness as the group was ready to depart Colony Ross, a place where these students took ownership in their hearts and minds. Again, a very touching moment.

  • Before we lower the Pleasant Valley flag that has flown over the fort the past day, we would like to thank all the parents who helped in our adventure.
  • And a very special thank you to Ms. Natalie Ivanov (also known as our fearless leader Ms. Menezes) for her energy and dedication to this great program.
  • For those gathered here, please stand at attention and be silent during the lowering of the flag. Militia lower the flag.
  • The lowering of our flag signifies the end of our time at Fort Ross. may our memories of our time here live on forever. At the count of 3, let’s say goodbye in Russian. 1 -2 -3 Dosvidania!

Russian American Company Flag Background – The RAC flag was authorized under Czar Alexander I in 1806. It was the first special flag granted by the Russian Government to any private company. The proposal to establish the flag was submitted by the Minister of Trade, N. R. Rumiantsev, who devoted much attention to the Company and personally financed several scientific expeditions. (Port Rumiantsev, the Russian shipping and harbor facility at Bodega Bay was later named for him.) The flag was granted on September 19, 1806 by the St. Petersburg offices. The RAC flag was authorized to be raised over Russian fortifications and on Company ships in place of naval flags. This gave special recognition to the Company in the international trade world. The flag flew over all RAC settlements, including Fort Ross.  The RAC flag has three stripes: the lower red, the middle blue, and the upper and wider stripe white. Painted on the flag is the Russian imperial crest, the double-headed eagle.  A ribbon hanging from the talons of the eagle is the inscription ‘Russo-American Company.’  On the breast of the double-headed eagle is a square with a red shield and St. George on a white steed looking to the left. Between 1818 and 1831 a professional artist was hired by the Company specially to make and draw the emblem on the flags. The Company used six to ten flags annually.

Flags were probably not flown on a daily basis at the Ross Colony and in Alaska. Certainly, they were always flown for special occasions such as the arrival of ships and visiting dignitaries, and celebrations of any sort. The flag flew over Alaska until October 18th, 1867 when all RAC holdings in Alaska were sold to the United States.


Make Your Own Flag – Flag making is a great project for the class. You can fly the Russian American Company flag in the classroom or on outings. Use heavy cloth for the backing and either sew on the eagle and emblem or paint it on. It is also a good history project to have the students draw the flag on a large piece of paper.  Enlarge this flag design and paint the double-headed eagle on it.

The children could also create and design their own company flag.  You are welcome to bring your creation and fly it on the fort flagpole during your stay.  Please note, the Fort has a flag you are welcome to use during your ELP, if you choose not to make one in class.

 

 

 

 

Enlarged view of double-headed eagle