Work is underway to remove more than a dozen historic battle flags from the state capitol so they can be better preserved. Building crews are constructing a plexiglass case around a glass alcove in the rotunda of the capitol build that’ll help keep out contaminants when state historians open it and take out the flags that date back to the Civil War. State Historical Society curator Bill Johnson says each flag represents an Iowa infantry regiment. He says the flags have been in the building for over 100 years and have deteriorated because of the contaminants in the atmosphere and from hanging in one position for all those years. He says they’ll very carefully remove the flags. Johson says the flags will not be restored, but rather stabilized and preserved so they can be brought back to the statehoue and displayed one at a time. Johson says the detail in the flags is more evident when they’re laid out flat. He says the flag that’s on display is the “First Iowa Colored or the 60th U.S. Colored Troops” it was regiment of 550 African-Americans from Iowa that served in the Union Army. He says the flag has a canton, the area where the stars normally are, which has an eagle on it that he says is “totally beautiful.” Johnson says historians are eager to get a look at one of the battle flags that was carried by the 13th Iowa Infantry known as the stainless flag. He says it’s the 13th Iowa and instead of 13 red and white stripes representing the first 13 states — it has only white stripes. He says it’s very significant and was designed to say the troops would not surrender. Visitors are welcome at the capitol building to watch the flags being removed ths week.
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