To celebrate Independence Day, we offer up this image incorporating several historic Yale-related Red, White, and (especially) Blue motifs.
The flag shown here — held by members of the Office of Public Affairs and Communications and friends — is the one that hung in Woolsey Hall during the Glenn Miller Army Air Force Band’s live broadcasts in 1943. Titled “I Sustain the Wings,” the weekly radio show was popular among World War II audiences. It included skits and musical selections, and featured numbers with vocalists and the military version of Glenn Miller’s popular big band.
The setting for the photo is Connecticut Hall, the oldest building on campus, built between 1750 and 1753 — making it one of two campus structures (the Mead Visitor Center, built in 1767 is the other) to pre-date America’s War of Independence. The hall’s construction was funded by the proceeds from the sale of a French vessel that had been taken as a prize by a frigate belonging to the Colony. The building was originally used as a dormitory.
And, last but not least, also pictured is the statue of Nathan Hale, the Yale alumnus (B.A. 1773) and Revolutionary War hero. Hale was captured by the British during an intelligence-gathering mission and hung as a spy. He is best known for his last words: “I only regret that I have but one life to give for my country.” Hale was officially designated as the state hero of Connecticut in 1985. Yale’s statue in his memory predates that honor by 71 years: It was erected in 1914.