Alaska State Flag, and Song, Intertwined Around Benny Benson - part 3
Carol Beery Davis, a longtime Juneau resident and musician, at the age of 95, wrote a second verse in 1986 to "Alaska's Flag."
She described the history of it as being near and dear to her heart. Juneau had been her home during the years of the entire flag song development process. Carol had even published a pamphlet in 1964, titled "Alaska’s Flag," in which she outlined the history and development of the flag story. She interviewed Benny Benson and wrote of Marie Drake and Elinor Dusenbury. She described them as being “long-time personal friends of mine.” Her husband, Trevor Davis, was also on the final selection committee that choose Benson’s design in 1927.
“Using the themes of unity, history, progress and the state’s natural beauty, she carefully composed the verse with her enduring love for Alaska. . . . It was her last gift,” said Davis’ surviving daughter, Constance.
"Alaska's Flag" Second Verse
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 our treasures, hand in hand,
to keep Alaska our Great Land.
We love the northern midnight sky,
our mountains, lakes and the streams nearby;
Our Great North Star with its steady light
will guide our cultures, clear and bright
with Nature’s flag to Alaskans dear -
The simple flag of a Last Frontier.
*Lyrics have been updated as of 2011.
In 1987, Carol gave the words of her second verse of song to the University of Alaska Foundation. Immediately after, an attempt to officially add the second verse to the state song was introduced to the Alaska Legislature. It passed the House but died in the Senate.
In 2002, the 75th anniversary of the Alaska Flag song, Rep. Carl Morgan, from Aniak, introduced House Bill 285. This was the second attempt to officially incorporate Davis’ second verse into the Alaska state song. Morgan stated “It is appropriate to recognize the contributions of all Alaskans, whether it was our sourdoughs who dreamed of gold in the streams nearby or a young Native lad who saw and gave Alaska a flag of great symbolism." On Jan. 24, 2002, the bill passed the House but again it died in the Senate.
After graduating high school in 1932, Benny left the Jesse Lee Home. He returned to the Aleutians to work with his father on a fox farm at Ugaiushak Island. The price received for furs began to decline so Benny moved to Seattle in 1936. He used his scholarship money of $1,000 to enroll in the Hemphill Diesel Engineering School for diesel engine repair, and in 1938 married Betty Van Hise. The couple's first child, Anna May, was born in October of 1938. Their second daughter, Charlotte Abbot, was born in June of 1940. Benny was divorced in 1950, and he moved with his daughters to Kodiak where he became an airplane mechanic.
Benny had the opportunity to meet up with his sister in the mid 1950s, 30 years after their separation; she died soon after. His brother, Carl, also died in 1965. Due to an old injury, Benny's right leg had to be amputated in 1969, and shortly after, he met and married a former Jesse Lee resident, Anna Sophie Jenks in 1972. He died of a heart attack in 1972 at the age of 58.