Congresswoman Plaskett, a member of the House Ways and Means, Budget and Agriculture committees, released the following statement regarding her attendance at the Flag Raising ceremony at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History:
“Today, we gathered in honor of a special Flag Day ceremony marking the raising of the flags representing American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and my home, the Virgin Islands of the United States.
“How fitting that one of the flags we raised is that of my Caribbean home during the month of June, which is Caribbean American Heritage month. I recently had a conversation with Secretary Lonnie Bunch regarding the importance of highlighting Caribbean contributions in national museums—recognizing that the history and the story of Caribbean contributions and the contributions of all territories are a continuum in American History.
“Indeed, it is so fitting because a St. Croix planter, Abraham Markoe, was a financier of the American revolution long before the Virgin Islands was part of the United States. He designed the Philadelphia Light Horse Calvary flag during the revolution, which is believed to be the pattern for the 13 stripes in the American flag.
“I am grateful for the powerful and hallowed representation that our U.S. territories will have here at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History now. We, the residents of our U.S. territories, who number more than 4 million people, have long deserved to have our flags flown here. Many of us—our parents, grandparents and ancestors—over many generations have fought bravely and sacrificially for the American flag, but only now are our territories’ flags being acknowledged in this sacred place.
“It is my hope that today’s ceremony will be the first of many long overdue acknowledgements of the contributions and significance of our territories and more importantly our people.
“I would like to thank Anthea M. Hartig, Ph.D., director of the National Museum of American History, who enthusiastically said, ’The flags that surround our museum now represent each of us; they represent our dreams and struggles.’ Director Elizabeth MacMillan added, ’Sewn into each are the complicated histories that help us make a more perfect union.’
“Lastly, a special thank you to Secretary Bunch and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History staff for putting together this very special ceremony.”