Anybody send this to you on Facebook (100 times, maybe?)
Clever, eh? It repeats the McCarthy-era editing of the Pledge of Allegiance, and then comes up with this whopper:
. . . My generation grew up reciting this every morning in school, with my hand on my heart. They no longer do that for fear of offending someone!
Let’s see how many Americans will re-post and not care about offending someone!
Not quite so long-lived as the Millard Fillmore Bathtub Hoax — which started in 1917 — but a lot more common these days.
Just as false. Maybe more perniciously so.
- Actually, 45 of our 50 states require the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools. The five exceptions: Iowa, Hawaii, Oklahoma, Vermont and Wyoming. See any pattern there?
- None of the five states previously required the Pledge, and then stopped.
- None of the five states claim to not require the pledge in order to avoid offending anyone. Oklahoma would be happy to offend people on such issues, most of the time.
- Reposting historically inaccurate claims, without fear of offending anyone, is no virtue. It’s just silly.
The creator of that poster is probably well under the age of 50, and may have grown up with the hand-over-heart salute used after World War II. That was not the original salute, and I’d imagine the author is wholly ignorant of the original and why it was changed.
Wikipedia gives a concise history of the salute:
Swearing of the Pledge is accompanied by a salute. An early version of the salute, adopted in 1892, was known as the Bellamy salute. It started with the hand outstretched toward the flag, palm down, and ended with the palm up. Because of the similarity between the Bellamy salute and the Nazi salute, developed later, the United States Congress instituted the hand-over-the-heart gesture as the salute to be rendered by civilians during the Pledge of Allegiance and the national anthem in the United States, instead of the Bellamy salute. Removal of the Bellamy salute occurred on December 22, 1942, when Congress amended the Flag Code language first passed into law on June 22, 1942.
One might understand why the Bellamy Salute was changed, during war with Nazi Germany.
Arrogance and ignorance combine to form many different kinds of prejudices, all of them ugly. The arrogant assumption that only “our generation” learned patriotism and that whatever goes on in schools today is not as good as it was “in our day,” regardless how many decades it’s been since the speaker was in a public school, compounds the ignorance of the fact that since 1980, forced patriotic exercises in schools have increased, not decreased.
Like much about our nation’s troubles, assumptions based on ignorance often are incorrect assumptions. Consequently, they give rise to what is today clinically known as the Dunning Kruger Effect (or syndrome), so elegantly summed by by Bertrand Russell in the 1930s:
The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt.
Humorously summed up by “Kin” Hubbard:
It isn’t what we don’t know that gives us trouble, it’s what we know that ain’t so.
Ignorance is a terrible disease, but one easily cured, by reading. We can hope.
- A Socialist Wrote The Pledge Of Allegiance! (americanliberaltimes.com)
- History lesson – USA (episyllogism.wordpress.com)
- Parents fight to ban Pledge of Allegiance in court (huffingtonpost.com)
- Pledge of Allegiance challenged in Massachusetts Supreme Court (usnews.nbcnews.com)
- In 1943, the Supreme Court determined that the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment protects the right of a student to NOT recite the Pledge of Allegiance; Jehovah’s Witnesses students had been reprimanded in West Virginia, but they protested that the Pledge is exactly the sort of oath their religion claims to be against God. The case is West Virginia vs. Barnette 319 U.S. 625 (1943). Explanation of the case here; full text and more history of the case here, at Oyez; in irony the maker of the poster above will miss, Justice Jackson pointed out that the First Amendment especially protects Americans against the tyranny of forced thought
- What the First Amendment means when saluting the flag and religion collide, in 1943 (timpanogos.wordpress.com)
- The Pledge of Allegiance was first recited by students in many U.S. public schools today in 1892, as part of a celebration marking the 400th anniversary of Columbus’s voyage to America. Now WE know em (carl-leonard.com)
- An Open Letter to the Principal of My Kids’ Elementary School: Let’s Drop the Pledge of Allegiance (patheos.com)
- Students react to Pledge of Allegiance (pcepperspective.wordpress.com)
You’d forgotten there’s another war going on in South Sudan?
- Gumuruk is a village of about 10,000 people, swamped with refugees from the fighting – in Pibor County, South Sudan
- UN Peacekeepers struggle to keep 100,000 people in the area free from fighting between government and non-government forces; this is one of those missions the UN does every day that neo-cons and Tea Partisans ridicule
- WFP, the United Nations World Food Programme, is the largest humanitarian agency in the world (despite what the ads on the religious television stations may say)
- IDP means “internally displaced person,” or a refugee from war, natural disaster, or economic crisis, driven from their home, but still in their nation of residence; there are millions
- S. Sudan: Japan gives WFP nearly $2m as food assistance (sudantribune.com)
- Syria: UN’s Mission Impossible in Syria (ionglobaltrends.com)
- Donkeys Don’t Fly on Planes (jesseducation.wordpress.com)
- South Sudan: food fears for thousands in Jonglei as violence intensifies (guardian.co.uk)
- South Sudan Negotiating $500 Million IMF Loan to Bolster Economy – Bloomberg (bloomberg.com)
- South Sudan: Thousands Hiding, Hungry in Bush in South Sudan’s Pibor (ionglobaltrends.com)
- Thousands Hiding, Hungry in Bush in South Sudan’s Pibor (voanews.com)
- 500,000 facing destruction and disease (theguardian.com)
- Fear, Flooding Keep People from Care in Pibor, South Sudan (doctorswithoutborders.org)
- Sudan Reverses Threat to Stop South Sudan Oil Flow (abcnews.go.com)
- More photos from UN agencies
Don’t worry; once we get the Amendment to the Constitution to make flag desecration a crime, these people will go to jail.
But they’ll whine all the while that they didn’t know they were violating the flag code. That’s the problem: They don’t know. They don’t know much about anything. Calling Dr. Dunning and Dr. Kruger . . .
Yes, putting the flag on apparel violates the Flag Code, 4 USC Sec. 8, “Respect for the Flag”:
(d) The flag should never be used as wearing apparel, bedding, or drapery. It should never be festooned, drawn back, nor up, in folds, but always allowed to fall free. Bunting of blue, white, and red, always arranged with the blue above, the white in the middle, and the red below, should be used for covering a speaker’s desk, draping the front of the platform, and for decoration in general.
(i) The flag should never be used for advertising purposes in any manner whatsoever. It should not be embroidered on such articles as cushions or handkerchiefs and the like, printed or otherwise impressed on paper napkins or boxes or anything that is designed for temporary use and discard. Advertising signs should not be fastened to a staff or halyard from which the flag is flown.
(j) No part of the flag should ever be used as a costume or athletic uniform. However, a flag patch may be affixed to the uniform of military personnel, firemen, policemen, and members of patriotic organizations. The flag represents a living country and is itself considered a living thing. Therefore, the lapel flag pin being a replica, should be worn on the left lapel near the heart.
God will forgive them, but we owe thanks to God for answering our prayer to make such idiots show themselves by their ignorance, right?
No, I don’t think these people intend to disrespect the flag, and we don’t really need to jail them. The creation of this shirt is one more indication that those who cloak themselves in the flag generally are not the patriots they claim to be, however, and their respect for the flag and patriotism generally runs no deeper than the thickness of the t-shirt. A t-shirt patriot is impossible for me to distinguish from a sunshine patriot. Thomas Paine warned us against them some time ago.
- Red, white and blue fashion: Patriotic or out-of-bounds? (poll) (al.com)
- Americanism-The Religion of Peace (bothwell.typepad.com)
- On Flag Day, Defend the U.S. Flag By Punishing Those Who Desecrate It! (gawker.com)
- The Flag and the Law (naplesnews.com)
- Flag found in trash honored in Plover (wsaw.com)
Found just the perfect photo of Mt. Timpanogos and the U.S. flag. I may use it a lot, unless Bob Walker, the guy who took it, complains.
And, again, yes, you may fly your flag today, any day. According to the flag code, flags can be flown any day, appropriately, in addition to the score of dates recommended in the Flag Code.
- Marion man showcases flag collection with “Parade of Flags” (thegazette.com)
- Pendleton man flies U.S. flag upside down as a protest (oregonlive.com)
- STARNES: HGTV: Use American flag as table cloth (radio.foxnews.com)
- Should Lil Wayne Face Jail Time for Desecrating the American Flag? [VIDEO] (myhoustonmajic.com)
- The View From our Living Room Window in the South Salt Lake Valley May 20 2013 (dmblood.typepad.com)
- Honoring Old Glory: How to properly handle the American flag (stripes.com)
Holly Munson at the Constitution Center wrote up a piece about Utah’s perhaps odd path to statehood, certainly complementary to my reminder that you could fly your flags on January 4, to honor Utah’s statehood, under the U.S. Flag Code. Munson’s piece was distributed on Yahoo! News.
Her report is very solid, even though brief. Utah history is nothing if not a convoluted path to statehood through what amounted to a civil war, the Mexican War, the discovery of gold in California, the transcontinental railroads, mining and immigration, Indian wars, old west shootouts, rampant environmental destruction with sheep grazing and mineral extraction and smelting, union strife, astonishing agricultural applications, and a lot of books written from tens of thousands of Mormon pioneer journals — Mormonism appears to be impossible without ink and paper and time to write.
Go read her story.
What caught my eye was the George W. Reed photograph of the Salt Lake City Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — the LDS, or Mormon church. The Temple and the Tabernacle, also in the photo, both have their own unique architectural histories, and quirks that make them noteworthy purely from architecture. (This George W. Reed should not be confused with the Civil War Medal of Honor winner, George W. Reed)
Reed was an early photographer for newspapers in Salt Lake City, and he took some wonderful photos for posterity. He was also a founder of the leading non-Mormon paper in the state, The Salt Lake Tribune. At points in its history, it’s been known as an anti-Mormon paper. The University of Utah’s library holds about five dozen of his photos in their collection, indexed electronically if not quite available yet; there Reed is described:
A pioneer in the development of Utah newspapers, George Reed was originally employed by the Deseret News and in 1871 helped in establishing the Salt Lake Tribune. His photographs include nineteenth century views of Salt Lake City, individuals at Reed’s Avenue home, Wasatch Resort in Little Cottonwood Canyon, and a photograph of the American flag hung on the Salt Lake Temple in 1896 to commemorate Utah’s statehood.
In the collection of Utah State University, in Logan, Reed has yet more papers. There we get a bit more of his history:
A pioneer in Utah journalism, George W. Reed was born in London, England, on April 7, 1833. He emigrated to Utah in 1862 and became manager of the Deseret News, a position he held until 1871 when he founded the Salt Lake Tribune. In 1882, after a decade at the Tribune, Reed sold his interest in the paper to P. H. Lannan. He married Elizabeth Tuddenham in 1866 and passed away December 1, 1909.
Yes, you’re right! That flag is backwards. Well, it’s backwards according to the modern U.S. Flag Code, which specifies that when hung from a building, the flag’s union should always be in the viewer’s upper left corner (“northwest” corner were it a standard map). In the photograph, the union is in the opposite corner. No, we know the photo is not reversed, because it accurately portrays the location of the Tabernacle, to the west and slightly south of the Temple.
But we hear the protests: The U.S. Flag Code did not exist in 1896! How can that be a violation of a code that did not exist?
That’s right, too.
That is an indication that the traditions of flag display that some people get riled up about, that many people think we should amend the Constitution to protect, are new inventions more than old traditions. Flag code violations are legion by well-meaning citizens celebrating the flag and patriotism, and rare by anyone with any malignant motives.
After a 49-year fight for statehood, through wars with the U.S., fighting with the U.S. forces in Mexico, the administrations of several presidents and 25 different U.S. Congresses, and pledges to change the rules of the church to ban polygamy and put that ban in the state constitution, the people of Utah, especially the Mormon officials, were not trying to insult America by displaying the flag incorrectly. Somebody said ‘fly the flag from the Temple,’ and some engineer or custodian got it done. By 1896, most of the First Amendment litigation done in the U.S. had involved whether Mormons could keep their marriage policies (Mormons lost). There was no intent to violate any rule of separation of church and state — nor would that be considered a violation today. Churches may fly the nation’s flag with all the approval that suggests; it’s the government which may not fly a church’s flag.
Finally, there is no grand story in the flag’s being flown backwards. It’s just one of those historical footnotes that mark the changing mores of the times, in this case, for standards of how to fly the U.S. flag.
Perhaps Utah history textbooks should make note of the day the U.S. flag was flown, backwards, to honor statehood.
More, and related resources:
- January 4 – Fly your flag for Utah statehood (timpanogos.wordpress.com)
- Flag etiquette: Cowboys Wal-Mart fail on flag flying (timpanogos.wordpress.com)
- Texas Statehood, December 29, 1845 – 167 years ago (timpanogos.wordpress.com)
- Fly your flag today: Merry Christmas! (timpanogos.wordpress.com)
- A Flag Day History of the Stars and Stripes (history.com)
- Iowa Statehood, December 28, 1846 – Iowans, fly your flags today (timpanogos.wordpress.com)
It’s been raining here in Dallas (now changing to heavy, wet snow). One may fly the flag in inclement weather. Remember to dry the flag before putting it away.
For Immediate Release
September 12, 2012
Presidential Proclamation — Honoring the Victims of the Attack in Benghazi, Libya
HONORING THE VICTIMS OF THE ATTACK IN BENGHAZI, LIBYA
- – - – - – -
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
As a mark of respect for the memory of John Christopher Stevens, United States Ambassador to Libya, and American personnel killed in the senseless attack on our diplomatic facility in Benghazi, by the authority vested in me as President of the United States by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, I hereby order that the flag of the United States shall be flown at half-staff at the White House and upon all public buildings and grounds, at all military posts and naval stations, and on all naval vessels of the Federal Government in the District of Columbia and throughout the United States and its Territories and possessions until sunset, September 16, 2012. I also direct that the flag shall be flown at half-staff for the same length of time at all United States embassies, legations, consular offices, and other facilities abroad, including all military facilities and naval vessels and stations.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twelfth day of September, in the year of our Lord two thousand twelve, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-seventh.