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Liberty News

Library unveils new display for flag flown at Pearl Harbor

July 28, 2015 : Liberty University News Service

A U.S. flag recovered, bullet scarred and oil-stained, after the attack on Pearl Harbor is on display in the Liberty University Jerry Falwell Library.A piece of American history serves as a poignant reminder to visitors of the Liberty University Jerry Falwell Library of the price paid to maintain freedom. A United States flag that once flew on the USS Cassin, a naval destroyer, during World War II is now on display — oil-stained and bullet-scarred from the attack on Pearl Harbor — on the second floor.

The flag was recovered in the aftermath of the Dec. 7, 1941, attack by the late Chief Petty Officer Charles Metz before it was later obtained by Robert H. Carlson, who served on the ship during WWII. Carlson presented the artifact to Dr. Jerry Falwell, Liberty’s founder, in 1975. The flag has been displayed in various locations on Liberty’s campus, as well as the former Thomas Road site of Liberty Christian Academy.

After the completion of the Jerry Falwell Library, an expansive four-story haven of research and technology, the university wanted to give the flag a more prominent display to both adequately respect the history it represents and to give library-goers an opportunity to learn from it.

“The flag represents an important event in the history of the United States,” said Rachel Schwedt, research and instruction librarian. “The attack on Pearl Harbor brought the nation together in support of entering World War II. The flag and the story behind the ship on which it flew can remind us of the sacrifice that was paid by servicemen in the defense of our country.”

A photograph of the USS Cassin during the attack on Pearl Harbor.
One of the photos displayed along with the U.S. flag recovered after the attack on Pearl Harbor shows what is believed to be the exact same flag flying over its ship, the USS Cassin, in the aftermath of the bombing.

The flag is displayed in a custom-built cabinet, accompanied by framed pictures of the ship — at sea and in the wake of the attack. Also framed are descriptions of the ship’s history and the story of the flag.

The display is located in the lobby of the Learning Commons on the second floor of the North Wing of the Jerry Falwell Library.

The USS Cassin was in dry dock during the attack on Pearl Harbor and the ship endured catastrophic damage. Despite this, it was repaired and recommissioned on Feb. 5, 1944, and went on to play a role in the assault on Iwo Jima and other Pacific conflicts before being decommissioned on Dec. 17, 1945.

The Jerry Falwell Library has a number of historical resources available to students and researchers, including collections of global significance, such as the Liberty Biblical Museum, and ones tied to local history, like the Liberty University Archives, which organizes and preserves items related to the university’s history.

  • For more information on scheduling a visit to the Jerry Falwell Library and the Archives, or if you have Liberty memorabilia or items from Liberty’s related ministries that you would like to donate, call (434) 592-6230 or email archive@liberty.edu.

A new display in the Jerry Falwell Library features an American flag recovered after the attack on Pearl Harbor.

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