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
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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.
The great service at the New York Times site, the Learning Network, notes the 1959 Dwight Eisenhower proclamation of Alaska as the 49th state, and the unveiling of the 49-star flag:
On Jan. 3, 1959, President Dwight Eisenhower signed a proclamation admitting Alaska to the Union as the 49th state. The New York Times noted that the signing included the unveiling of the new 49-star American flag.
The land that became Alaska came into U.S. possession in 1867, when William Seward, secretary of state under President Andrew Johnson, negotiated a deal to buy the 586,000-square-mile area from Russia for $7.2 million, less than 2 cents per acre. Seward’s decision was ridiculed in the American press, who saw no potential in the vast, inhospitable and sparsely populated area.
For decades after its purchase, Alaska was derided as “Seward’s folly” or “Seward’s icebox.” This opinion changed in 1896 with the discovery of gold in the neighboring Yukon Territory, which spurred tens of thousands of people to head to Alaska in search of gold. The gold rush also brought about a boom in mining, fishing and trapping.
Though the first statehood bill had been presented to Congress in 1916, there was little desire in either Alaska or Washington for Alaskan statehood until after World War II. During the war, the U.S. established multiple military bases to resist Japan’s attacks on Alaska’s Aleutian Islands and prevent a potential invasion of the mainland. The military activity, along with the completion of a major highway from Montana, led to a large population growth.
In 1946, Alaskans voted in favor of statehood in a referendum and Alaskan delegates began to lobby Congress for statehood. After years of debate, Congress voted in June 1958 to admit Alaska.
Eight months after Alaska’s admission, on Aug. 21, 1957 [should be 1959, no?], Hawaii became the 50th state. The 49-star remained in place until the following July 4, when it was replaced by the now-familiar 50-star flag.
49-star flags were produced only until August 1959, so there are few of them around. I love this photo of the unveiling of the flag with President Eisenhower:
It had been about 47 years since the previous state admission (Arizona); people became aware that no law set what the flag should look like. President Eisenhower issued a directive.
How did the nation survive for 170 years without firm, decisive and conclusive orders on what the flag should look like? Isn’t it a great story that we went so long without law setting the requirements?
Alaska’s state flag came from the imagination of a 13-year-old Aleut, Benny Benson, winning a contest to design the state’s flag. Alaska’s flag stands out in any display of U.S. state flags.
Did I need to remind you to fly your flag today?
Wish I had more details on this photo — purported to be made of Corvettes:
Who dreams up this stuff?
Who dreams it up? A conclave called “Corvettes at Carlisle” (Pennsylvania):
Armed Forces Day honors those Americans who are, today, protecting our freedom, under arms, in the U.S. military services.
Veterans Day honors those who protected us in the past. Memorial Day honors those who died in our nation’s service, and those veterans who have passed on. Armed Forces Day honors and celebrates living Americans, to whom we owe immediate thanks.
Fly your flag today in their honor. Today is Armed Forces Day 2011.
The slogan on this year’s poster: Our Troops, and Those Supporting Them Back Home, Are United in Strength.
Previously, in Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub:
Leaving Corpus Christi can be a trial. It’s at least a 15 mile drive from the American Banking Center to Interstate 37, if you go by the Starbucks on Staples to get coffee for the drive back to Dallas. (It’s a 100-yard drive otherwise.)
Tourist that I am I drove Staples all the way back, to see the nitty-gritty of the town.
Must it be this gritty?
The flag above, if it can still be considered a flag, struggles to honor our nation at the corner of Staples and Craig Streets. Clearly this is not a flag that is retired at sundown, as the U.S. flag code urges. It looks as though it has been flying there for at least a year. Perhaps it has flown since September 11, 2001. Perhaps it has flown since the War of 1812.
When a flag becomes tattered, it should be mended, appropriate for a symbol of our nation. When it can no longer be repaired, it should be retired, according to the Congressional Research Service Report for Congress — The United States Flag: Federal Law Related to Display and Associated Questions (pages 11 and 12):
Destruction of Worn Flags
The Flag Code states:
The flag, when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning.* The act is silent on procedures for burning a flag. It would seem that any procedure which is in good taste and shows no disrespect to the flag would be appropriate. The Flag Protection Act of 1989,38 struck down albeit on grounds unrelated to this specific point,39 prohibited inter alia “knowingly” burning of a flag of the United States, but excepted from prohibition “any conduct consisting of disposal of a flag when it has become worn or soiled.”
Do we have any readers in Corpus Christi? Could you drop by the shop where this flag is flown sometime through the week, and ask them to retire the flag, as an act of honor for our nation?
Palin, on the other hand, is featured in a full photo she posed for Runners World last year. A flattering photo, it also features a U.S. flag, which we’ll get back to in a moment.
“The choice of photo for the cover of this week’s Newsweek is unfortunate. When it comes to Sarah Palin, this “news” magazine has relished focusing on the irrelevant rather than the relevant. The Runner’s World magazine one-page profile for which this photo was taken was all about health and fitness — a subject to which I am devoted and which is critically important to this nation. The out-of-context Newsweek approach is sexist and oh-so-expected by now. If anyone can learn anything from it: it shows why you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, gender, or color of skin. The media will do anything to draw attention — even if out of context.
But look at the cover. Newsweek brands Palin as a problem — for Republicans. Is the sexism charge designed to divert attention from what Newsweek is saying, editorially?
Look at the display of the flag. Clearly out of flag code on all scores, it appears as if she’s using the flag much as an athletic towel. Now think of the rage the right worked up to when candidate Obama didn’t wear a flag lapel pin. Can you imagine the rage had any Democrat posed for a picture, leaning on the flag like that?
The photo reveals Palin and her handlers as ill-informed on the flag code, and willing to do almost anything to get a camera. I find it interesting that now, more than a year after she posed for the picture, she’s concerned about her showing of leg and not about the political issues raised by Newsweek.
Almost no one worries about the disrespect for the U.S. flag.
Update: Good commentary at Obsidian Wings — and note the first five or so comments. Smart readers there! Much the same at Majikthise.
President Obama issued a directive ordering all federal facilities to fly the national flag at half-staff from now until Veterans Day (November 11), to honor the soldiers and civilians felled at Fort Hood, Texas.
“It is an act of violence that would have been heartbreaking had it occurred anyplace in America,” Obama said. “It is a crime that would have horrified us had its victims been Americans of any background. But it’s all the more heartbreaking and all the more despicable because of the place where it occurred and the patriots who were its victims.”
The president said he met Friday with FBI Director Robert Mueller, Defense Secretary Robert Gates and others to discuss their continuing investigation into the attack, which also injured at least 30.
Obama also expressed his condolences to the victims’ families and recognized those who helped the wounded after the shooting at the base’s Soldier Readiness Processing Center. The center is where soldiers go to have their teeth checked and medical records updated before deploying overseas.
“These are the men and women we honor today. These are the men and women we’ll honor on Veterans Day,” Obama said. “And these are the men and women we shall honor every day, in times of war and times of peace, so long as our nation endures.” (from the Virginian-Pilot, in Norfolk, Virginia)
Obama’s directive follows Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s order for flags in Texas to be flown half-staff until Monday.
Flag etiquette reminder: When flown at half-staff, the U.S. flag should be raised quickly to full staff, then lowered slowly to half-staff.
So far I’ve been able to learn that Joe Bruni is a firefighter. Beyond that, I don’t know much other than his YouTube series on flag etiquette is very good — not perfect, but very, very good.
In this episode he talks about carrying a flag. I wish he’d discussed it in terms of a flag ceremony, but he gets the basics right.
Younger Scouts, Cub Scouts, Brownies and Bluebirds will have difficulty holding a large flag and pole vertical — get a flag harness to help them out (usually less than $25.00 at Scout supply shops).
He’s got a bunch of these. I’ll pass them along as I get a chance to view them.
(Joe Bruni — who are you?)
Oh, it’s important in retrospect, no?
On June 10, 1898, U.S. Marines landed at Guantánamo Bay. For the next month, American troops fought a land war in Cuba that resulted in the end of Spanish colonial rule in the Western Hemisphere. Cuban rebels had gained the sympathy of the American public while the explosion and sinking of the U.S.S. Maine, widely blamed on the Spanish despite the absence of conclusive evidence, further boosted American nationalistic fervor.
On June 12, the area was secured and the flag posted.
Cartoon from Lisa Benson at the Washington Post Writers Group, via the Orange County Register:
Wouldn’t that same caption work for Rush Limbaugh? How about for Newt Gingrich? Mitch McConnell?
I also note that, for a display in the U.S., the U.S. flag is on the wrong side.
This mostly an encore post. A reader sent an e-mail with a question: Does U.S. law suggest the flying of the U.S. flag on the anniversary of D-Day?
Today is the 65th anniversary of the Invasion of Normandy in World War II, a date generally called D-Day. No, you don’t have to fly your flag. This is not one of the days designated by Congress for flag-flying.
But you may, and probably, you should fly your flag. If you have any D-Day veterans in your town, they will be grateful, as will their spouses, children, widows and survivors. A 22-year-old soldier on the beach in 1944 would be 87 today, if alive. These men and their memories of history fade increasingly fast. Put your flag up. You may be surprised at the reaction.
If you do run into a D-Day veteran, ask him about it. Keep a record of what he says.
Every kid should learn this stuff by third grade, but it’s clear from what we see that they don’t.
So here’s a quick review of dos and don’ts for display and behavior toward the U.S. flag on this most flag-worthy of days, the 4th of July. With a few comments.
1. Fly your flag, from sunup to sundown. If you’re lucky enough to have a flagpole, run the flag up quickly. Retire it slowly at sunset. Then go see fireworks.
2. Display flags appropriately, if not flown from a staff. If suspended from a building or a wall, remember the blue field of stars should always be on the right — the “northwest corner” as you look at it. Do not display a flag flat.
3. Salute the flag as it opens the 4th of July parade. In a better world, there would be just one U.S. flag at the opening of the parade, and the entire crowd would rise as it passes them in a great patriotic, emotional wave — civilians with their hands over their hearts, hats off; people in uniform saluting appropriately with hats on. It’s likely that your local parade will not be so crisp. Other entries in the parade will have flags, and many will be displayed inappropriately. A true patriot might rise and salute each one — but that would look silly, perhaps even sillier than those sunshine patriots who display the flag inappropriately. Send them a nice letter this year, correcting their behavior. But don’t be obnoxious about it.
4. Do not display the flag from a car antenna, attached to a window of a car, or attached in the back of a truck. That’s against the Flag Code, which says a flag can only be displayed attached to the right front fender of a car, usually with a special attachment. This means that a lot of the National Guard entries in local parades will be wrongly done, according to the flag code. They defend the flag, and we should not make pests of ourselves about it. Write them a letter commending their patriotism. Enclose the Flag Code, and ask them to stick to it next time. Innocent children are watching.
5. Do not dishonor the flag by abusing it or throwing it on the ground. It’s become popular for a local merchant to buy a lot of little plastic flags and pass them out to parade goers. If there is an advertisement on the flag, that is another violation of the Flag Code. The flag should not be used for such commercial purposes. I have, several times, found piles of these flags on the ground, dumped by tired people who were passing them out, or dumped by parade goers who didn’t want to carry the things home. It doesn’t matter if it’s printed on cheap plastic, and made in China — it is our nation’s flag anyway. Honor it. If it is worn, dispose of it soberly, solemnly, and properly.
That’s probably enough for today. When the Flag Desecration Amendment passes — if it ever does — those parade float makers, National Guard soldiers, and merchants, can all be jailed, perhaps. Or punished in other ways.
Until that time, our best hope is to review the rules, obey them, and set examples for others.
Have a wonderful 4th of July! Fly the flag. Read the Declaration of Independence out loud. Love your family, hug them, and feed them well. That’s part of the Pursuit of Happiness that this day honors. It is your right, your unalienable right. Use it wisely, often and well.
- Image: Flag flying in front of the U.S. Capitol. If from a photo, this flag is probably one on one of the buildings of the Library of Congress. It is a Library of Congress photo.
Yes, the flag amendment is dead, again. Yes, the Fourth of July is past. False history continues to plague the U.S. flag, however. When my wife forwarded to me the post below, it was the fourth time I had gotten it, recently. Bad history travels fast and far. Let’s see if we can steer people in a better direction with real facts.
Here is the post as it came to me each time — I’ve stripped it of the sappy photos that are occasionally added; note that this is mostly whole cloth invention:
Did You Know This About Our Flag
Meaning of Flag Draped Coffin.
All Americans should be given this lesson. Those who think that America is an arrogant nation should really reconsider that thought. Our founding fathers used God’s word and teachings to establish our Great Nation and I think it’s high time Americans get re-educated about this Nation’s history. Pass it along and be proud of the country we live in and even more proud of those who serve to protect our “GOD GIVEN” rights and freedoms.
To understand what the flag draped coffin really means……