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Second verse

The second verse isn't the same as the first.

But it's relevant to Alaska.

A pre-filed bill for the 31st Alaska Legislature, House Bill 193, if approved by both chambers and signed by the governor, would add a second verse to Alaska's official state song: “Alaska's flag.”

The song's music is composed by Elinor Dusenbury and the words to the first verse were written by Marie Drake. The song was adopted as the official song in 1955.

The words to the second verse come by way of Carol Beery Davis.

The proposed second verse goes like this:

“A Native lad chose our Dipper's stars for Alaska's flag that there be no bars among our cultures.

“Be it known through years our 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.”

Davis, Alaska's 1967 poet laureate, wrote the second verse several decades ago.

The Legislature considered the second verse in 2010, and the Senate at the time even voted to make it official. But the House did not.

The second verse attempts to incorporate Alaska's Native history. Although, Natives aren't without influence in the song about the flag. Benny Benson, a Native boy, designed the state's flag.

Then there simply is the word choice, which resonates with some and has others raising eyebrows.

In the past, the discussion regarding adoption of the second verse created disharmony among Alaskans with all cultures represented on both sides of the argument. Even some Native leaders supported it, while others opposed.

HB193 was introduced by Rep. Andi Story of Juneau, where the Marie Drake Junior High School is located.

This second verse will give Alaskans, including lawmakers, a lively topic for the legislative session.