Nashville Scouts demonstrate proper flag folding

July 11, 2014

Of course you know how to fold a flag.  Right?

A group of Nashville Boy Scouts demonstrate for some Cub Scouts and a local news program, the proper methods.

Did they get it right?

Joshua Maxwell is a reporter with Nashville’s NBC affiliate, WSMV Channel 4; Scouts come from Troop 1914.

Published on Jul 2, 2014

My first on Air segment with WSMV Channel4. The Boy Scouts are teaching me and some Cub Scouts how to fold the American Flag.

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Flag at the Madison Building, Library of Congress, September 17, 2013

September 20, 2013

U.S. flag flies at half-staff at the Madison Building of the Library of Congress, September 17, 2013. Photo from  ‏@GayleOsterberg

U.S. flag flies at half-staff at the Madison Building of the Library of Congress, September 17, 2013. Photo from ‏@GayleOsterberg


Just stay quiet: Poster hoax about the Pledge of Allegiance

September 15, 2013

Anybody send this to you on Facebook (100 times, maybe?)

Hoax claims about the Pledge of Allegiance, found on Facebook and innumerable e-mails

Hoax claims about the Pledge of Allegiance, found on Facebook and innumerable e-mails

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.

Consider:

  1. 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?
  2. None of the five states previously required the Pledge, and then stopped.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

Students pledging to the flag, 1899, 8th Division, Washington, D.C. Part of the Frances Benjamin Johnston 1890 - 1900 Washington, D.C., school survey.

Wikipedia image and caption: Students pledging to the flag, 1899, 8th Division, Washington, D.C. Part of the Frances Benjamin Johnston 1890 – 1900 Washington, D.C., school survey.

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.

Students in an unnamed school in 1941, offering the Bellamy Salute for the Pledge of Allegiance.

Students in an unnamed school in 1941, offering the Bellamy Salute for the Pledge of Allegiance. Wikipedia image.

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.

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Best flying of a U.S. flag in a while

September 6, 2013

You’d forgotten there’s another war going on in South Sudan?

Location of South Sudan in Africa.

Location of South Sudan in Africa (darkened area). Wikipedia image

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Best flying of a U.S. flag: A woman carries a bag of food in Gumuruk where @WFP is assisting IDPs uprooted by violence.

Best flying of a U.S. flag: A woman carries a bag of food in Gumuruk where @WFP is assisting IDPs uprooted by violence.


Mt. Timpanogos and the U.S. flag

June 18, 2013

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.

No, I have no idea who Bob Walker is, other than some guy on Facebook, who lives in Orem, Utah (and may be a member of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir).

Mt. Timpanogos and the U.S. flag.  Photo by Bob Walker of Orem

Mt. Timpanogos and the U.S. flag. Photo by Bob Walker of Orem, Utah; from Orem, circa September 2012. That’s Mt. Baldy on the left. This site is about six miles from our old home in Pleasant Grove, Utah.

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.

More:

 


Obama orders flags lowered to honor U.S. diplomats

September 12, 2012

Release from the White House:

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

A PROCLAMATION

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.

BARACK OBAMA


January 3, 1959: Welcome, Alaska, and the 49-star flag

January 3, 2012

Alaska Territorial Gov. Bob Bartlett in center, with the 49-star flag (Bartlett was one of Alaska's first U.S. senators).

Alaska Territorial Gov. Bob Bartlett in center, with the 49-star flag (Bartlett was one of Alaska’s first U.S. senators).

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:

President Eisenhower and Quartermaster General MG Andrew T. McNamara, with 49-star flag - image from QM foundation

“Quartermaster General MG Andrew T. McNamara and President Eisenhower examine new 49 star flag” – image and caption from the Quartermaster Foundation. (Who are the other two people?  The guy on the right looks to me a bit like is Pennsylvania’s Sen. Hugh Scott.)

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?

Benny Benson's award-winning flag design for the State of Alaska

Alaska’s flag was designed by 13-year-old Benny Benson

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.


You’re flying your flag, right?

November 24, 2011

Did I need to remind you to fly your flag today?

U.S. flag at Mt. Vernon, cupola on the house in the background

U.S. flag at George Washington's home, Mt. Vernon, cupola on the house in the background


Red, white and blue: Driving the flag

July 12, 2011

Wish I had more details on this photo — purported to be made of Corvettes:

Corvettes lined up to resemble a U.S. Flag

Would it get more people to salute it this way?

Who dreams up this stuff?

_____________

Who dreams it up?  A conclave called “Corvettes at Carlisle” (Pennsylvania):

Corvette salute to the flag, Corvettes at Carlisle

Edited version, from Corvettes at Carlisle


Fly your flag today: Armed Forces Day 2011, May 21

May 21, 2011

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.

Poster for Armed Forces Day 2011, May 21

2011 Armed Forces Day poster

Previously, in Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub:


Patriotic shame of Corpus Christi, Texas

July 2, 2010

Flag in Corpus Christi, Texas, at corner of Staples and Craig - photo by Ed Darrell - IMGP4383

This flag needs to be retired. Will some patriot step up to the job?

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.”

4 U.S.C. § 8(k).

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?

Thank you.


Palin: Ignore the woman abusing the flag and look at those gams!

November 18, 2009

Newsweek features Sarah Palin on the cover this week, a couple of weeks after featuring Al Gore.  I thought the Gore cover was interesting, but could be interpreted to make him look sinister.

Palin on the cover of Newsweek

Sexist? Or sac-patriotic?

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.

Palin complains that the cover is “sexist.”

Yahoo! News has the story, featuring Palin’s Facebook complaint.

“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.


All U.S. flags at half-staff until Veterans Day, Obama orders

November 7, 2009

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.

President Obama addressed the tragedy in his weekly radio and television message:

(More about “Weekly Address: Tragedy at Fort Hood …“, posted with vodpod)
Obama’s statement and proclamation can be found at the White House website.

Don’t “dip” the American flag

August 14, 2009

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?)


Star-spangled voodoo history

July 16, 2009

Star-spangled Banner and the War of 1812 - The original Star-Spangled Banner, the flag that inspired Francis Scott Key to write the song that would become our national anthem, is among the most treasured artifacts in the collections of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C.

Star-spangled Banner and the War of 1812 – The original Star-Spangled Banner, the flag that inspired Francis Scott Key to write the song that would become our national anthem, is among the most treasured artifacts in the collections of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C.

Every school kid learns the story of the “Star-Spangled Banner,” or should.

During the War of 1812, Georgetown lawyer Francis Scott Key, stood aboard a British ship in Baltimore Harbor to negotiate the release of his friend, Dr. William Beanes, who had been taken prisoner while the British stormed through Bladensburg, Maryland, after burning Washington, D.C.  Key witnessed the British shelling of Fort McHenry, the guardian of Baltimore’s harbor.  Inspired when he saw the U.S. flag still waving at dawn after a night of constant shelling, Key wrote a poem.

Key published the poem, suggested it might be put to the tune of “Anachreon in Heaven” (a tavern tune popular at the time) — and the popularity of the song grew until Congress designated it the national anthem in 1931.  In telling the story of the latest restoration of that garrison flag now housed at the Smithsonian Museum of American History, Smithsonian Magazine repeated the story in the July 2000 issue:  “Our Flag Was Still There.”

It’s a wonderful history with lots of splendid, interesting details (Dolley Madison fleeing the Executive Mansion clutching the Gilbert Stuart portrait of George Washington, the guy who had introduced Dolley to James Madison and then snubbed them after they were married; the British troops eating the White House dinner the Madisons left in their haste; the gigantic, 42 by 30 foot flag sewn by Mary Pickersgill, a Baltimore widow trying to support her family; the rag-tag Baltimore militia stopping cold “Wellington’s Invicibles;” the British massing of 50 boats and gunships; and much more).

It’s a grand and glorious history that stirs the patriotic embers of the most cynical Americans.

And it’s all true.

So it doesn’t deserve the voodoo history version, the bogus history created by some person preaching in a church (I gather from the “amens”) that is making the rounds of the internet, stripped of attribution so we can hunt down the fool who is at fault.

We got this in an e-mail yesterday; patriots save us, there must be a hundred repetitions that turn up on Google, not one correcting this horrible distortion of American history.

Horrible distortion of American history

(The full version is a mind-numbing 11 minutes plus.  Some people have put it on other sites. )

Why do I complain?

  1. It was the War of 1812, not the Revolutionary War — there were 15 states, not 13 colonies.
  2. There was no ultimatum to to Baltimore, nor to the U.S., as this fellow describes it.
  3. Key negotiated for the release of one man, Dr. Beanes.  There was no brig full of U.S. prisoners.
  4. It’s Fort McHenry, not “Henry.”  The fort was named after James McHenry, a physician who was one of the foreign-born signers of the Constitution, who had assisted Generals Washington and Lafayette during the American Revolution, and who had served as Secretary of War to Presidents Washington and Adams.
  5. Fort McHenry was a military institution, a fort defending Baltimore Harbor.  It was not a refuge for women and children.
  6. The nation would not have reverted to British rule had Fort McHenry fallen.
  7. There were 50 ships, not hundreds.  Most of them were rafts with guns on them.  Baltimore Harbor is an arm of Chesapeake Bay; Fort McHenry is not on the ocean.
  8. The battle started in daylight.
  9. Bogus quote:  George Washington never said “What sets the American Christian apart from all other people in this world is he will die on his feet before he will live on his knees.”  Tough words.  Spanish Civil War.  Not George Washington.  I particularly hate it when people make up stuff to put in the mouths of great men.  Washington left his diaries and considerably more — we don’t have to make up inspiring stuff, and when we do, we get it wrong.
  10. The battle was not over the flag; the British were trying to take Baltimore, one of America’s great ports.  At this point, they rather needed to since the Baltimore militia had stunned and stopped the ground troops east of the city.  There’s enough American bravery and pluck in this part of the story to merit no exaggerations.
  11. To the best of our knowledge, the British did not specifically target the flag.
  12. There were about 25 American casualties.  Bodies of the dead were not used to hold up the flag pole — a 42 by 30 foot flag has to be on a well-anchored pole, not held up by a few dead bodies stacked around it.

You can probably find even more inaccuracies (please note them in comments if you do).

The entire enterprise is voodoo history.  The name of Key is right; the flag is right; almost everything else is wrong.

Please help:  Can you find who wrote this piece of crap?  Can you learn who the narrator is, and where it was recorded?

I keep finding troubling notes with this on the internet: ‘My school kids are going to see this to get the real story.’  ‘Why are the libs suppressing the truth?’  ‘I didn’t know this true story before, and now I wonder why my teachers wouldn’t tell it.’

It’s voodoo history, folks.  It’s a hoax.  The real story is much better.

If Peter Marshall and David Barton gave a gosh darn about American history, they would muster their mighty “ministries” to correct the inaccuracies in this piece.  But they are silent.

Clearly, it’s not the glorious history of this nation they love.

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Please share that voodoo, as you do so well:

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