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Thursday, March 7, 2013 02:55 am


Illinois still has its Civil War regimental flags and, although most of them have been in storage for decades due to degradation, they’ve still been open for public viewing. The catch was that you had to know they were there. Now, those 150-year-old flags and others from Illinois’ military history are going back on public display in a new display case at the Illinois State Military Museum, 1301 N. MacArthur Blvd. Museum curator Bill Lear says the display will feature flags from as far back as the Mexican-American War, which followed the U.S.’s annexation of Texas in 1845. “This case allows us to pull out some very rare items for the public to see,” he said. The first flag planned for display is the 90th Illinois Infantry “Irish Legion” flag, which was flown by a regiment of Irish-born immigrants from Illinois who joined the Union forces during the Civil War. Retired Brig. Gen. Stewart Reeve of Springfield, director of the museum, says the flag was chosen in honor of St. Patrick’s Day. If you’ve never been to this hidden gem, expect to be wowed by more than just the historical flags. The museum collects military items ranging in age from Illinois’ earliest conflicts up to present-day overseas operations. They’re open 1p.m. to 4:30p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Call them at 761-3910.