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Flags in Owego celebrate 100th anniversary of 19th Amendment

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OWEGO (WBNG) -- If you've been through the village of Owego lately, you've probably noticed purple and yellow flags on buildings throughout town.

Those flags are there to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment being ratified, which gave women the right to vote.

Chris Knickerbocker is a member of the Tioga County Women's Suffrage Centennial Committee. She said the committee had originally planed a year long celebration, but the complications caused by the pandemic cut that celebration short.

Instead members banded together to distribute 19th Amendment victory flags throughout the village.

Knickerbocker said the primary purpose of the flags is to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the amendment's passing, but said with women-owned businesses lining the streets of downtown Owego, the flag meant more.

"Each star represents a state that ratified the 19th Amendment before it went to congress," she said. "Originally it was sewn by Alice Paul, so it's also called the Alice Paul Flag."

Knickerbocker said it's not only a way to commemorate the efforts of suffragists like Paul, but also a way to start a conversation about progress, especially with young people who may not fully understand the amendment's significance.

"It's great having that with younger folks and saying, 'you probably don't remember in the early 70's women couldn't even have credit in their name,'" she said. "It's been women's right to vote and then other things happened because of that."

As a mark of that progress, she said there was one group in particular that got the flags first: women-owned and operated businesses. The flags are currently lining the streets of Owego for all to see.

You can sign up to get a flag at Hemp Geek, located at 44 Lake Street in Owego. Knickerbocker emphasized there has been a high demand for flags.

There are more ways to celebrate. To find out more about podcasts, activities and learning opportunities for kids, contact Tioga County tourism at 607-687-7440.

Jack Arpey

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