Vanderbilt Libraries Preserves Historic Flag at Unfurling Ceremony

Vanderbilt Libraries and the Vanderbilt Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) will be on the Library Lawn on Monday, November 12 at 11:30 a.m. to participate in a flag unfurling and refolding ceremony held in conjunction with Veterans Day.

The ceremony will include remarks made by ROTC’s Lieutenant Colonel Dustin Mitchell, Chancellor Nicholas Zeppos, Provost Susan Wente, and University Librarian Valerie Hotchkiss, in addition to the singing of the National Anthem.

Preserving history and historic artifacts is a critical responsibility of libraries. The massive flag, which measures over 150 feet, was hung in the campus Memorial Gym in the early 1960s, becoming the backdrop for a number historic events including the first years of the Impact Symposium, one of the university’s oldest lecture series.

Vanderbilt’s Impact symposium started in 1964 when Chancellor Emeritus Alexander Heard saw the need to increase campus dialog around current, often controversial topics. The series brought Robert Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr., Strom Thurman, George McGovern, Robert McNamara, Allen Ginsberg, Stokely Carmichael, and Barry Goldwater to campus in just its first few years. The flag became a part of these historic events through photographs and video.

Removed from the gymnasium, the flag was stored in the basement of Alumni Hall. On Veteran’s Day, volunteers will refold the flag and deposit it in the Library’s archives. Working with textile conservators and archivists, a special storage unit will protect the historic flag for generations to come.

The public is welcome to attend the event to help us celebrate our veterans and this historic flag. Light refreshments will be served.

Please note that in the case of inclement weather, the ceremony may need to be cancelled. Notice of weather-related changes will be posted by 9:00 a.m. on November 12th at

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