Standing during the Star-Spangled Banner Plaque
Name: Rossell G. O’Brien Plaque
Erected: 1970 by Mary Ball Chapter NSDAR, bronze plaque.
Location: GPS 47.255833 -122.440556 On the left side of an entrance to the Bostwick Building, 760 Broadway, Tacoma, WA, 98402.
Inscription: “In Honor of Rossell G. O’Brien who in the Bostwick Building Tacoma, Washington, on October 18, 1893, during regular session of the Washington Commander of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the USA, did originate the custom of standing during the rendition of the Star Spangled Banner, the National Anthem of the United States of America. Placed by Mary Ball Chapter, NSDAR, July 1970.”
Comments: “Rossell O’Brien was born in Dublin in 1846, and after coming to the US as a 16-year-old fought in the US Civil War with the Union Army’s 134th Illinois Volunteer Infantry. In 1870, he moved to Washington Territory where he served as clerk of the Supreme Court and as United States commissioner. In 1882 he organized the first National Guard in Washington Territory and was its first Commander. He served on the Olympia City Council starting in 1883 and was elected Mayor in 1891. He was also involved in the Military Order of the Loyal Legion, an organization of US Civil War veterans. At a meeting in Tacoma’s Bostwick Hotel on October 18, 1893, he proposed a motion that all should stand and men remove their hats during the playing of the Star-Spangled Banner. The motion was unanimously adopted, and within two years, had also been adopted nationally by the Loyal Legion which promoted the custom nationwide. O’Brien died in 1914 and is buried in Oakland, California.”(2) Mary Ball Chapter rededicated the plaque 13 October 1993(3) and cleaned the plaque with the Sons of the American Revolution on October 18, 2020, exactly 127 years after O'Brien's historic motion.
1. Various contributors, “Rossell G. O’Brien,” Oakland wiki, https://localwiki.org/oakland/Rossell_G._O'Brien: accessed 9 January 2016).
2. Various contributors, “Rossell Galbraith O'Brien,” Irishclub, (http://www.irishclub.org/RGOBrien.pdf: accessed 9 January 2016), Irish Heritage Club, Seattle, WA.
3. Various contributors. History and Directory of the Washington State Society of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution, vol VII, 1986-1995. WSSDAR, p83.
Listed on the National Historical Markers Database on 16 April 2023