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Committee approves second verse for state song

Posted: Friday, January 31, 2003

JUNEAU (AP) -- The second verse of the state song is on the playlist again this year in the Legislature.

A bill to officially adopt a second verse to ''Alaska's Flag'' passed its first committee Thursday. The second verse honors contributions of Alaska Natives.

Adding the verse was one of the recommendations of a 2001 Commission on Tolerance, appointed by then-Gov. Tony Knowles. The bill is the third attempt at legislation to add the verse.

Rep. Carl Morgan, R-Aniak, introduced the legislation last year and former state Rep. Fran Ulmer, D-Juneau, tried in the 1980s.

This year, Rep. Bruce Weyrauch, R-Juneau, is the sponsor.

Weyrauch said he heard both verses sung at a vocal festival at his daughter's school and was surprised when one of the students explained the second verse was not part of the official song.

''I just thought, 'Why doesn't the Legislature get behind what the public seems to be doing as a matter of course?''' Weyrauch said.

The original song was written by Marie Drake and composed by Elinor Dusenbury. It was adopted as the official state song in 1956. The late Carol Beery Davis of Juneau wrote the second verse in the 1980s.

Both times the bill was introduced in the past it passed the House, but died in a Senate committee.

Senate President Gene Therriault, R-North Pole, did not return a phone call Thursday seeking comment on whether the Senate is likely to support the bill this year.

Morgan said his bill ran into trouble last year in Senate Finance because he refused to hold a hearing on another bill a senator wanted.

The bill passed the House Community and Regional Affairs Committee on Thursday and now goes to the State Affairs Committee, which is headed by Weyrauch.

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Following are lyrics of the proposed second verse of ''Alaska's Flag'':

A Native lad chose the Dipper's stars/For Alaska's flag that there be no bars/Among our cultures. Be it known/Through years the Natives' past has grown/To share life's treasures, hand in hand/To keep Alaska our Great Land/We love the northern, midnight sky,/The mountains, lakes and streams nearby./The great North Star with its steady light/Will guide all cultures, clear and bright,/With nature's flag to Alaskans dear,/The simple flag of the last frontier.



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