Fly your flag today, another way of giving thanks

November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving is one of the days designated in the Flag Code for Americans to fly their U.S. flags.  I know it’s cold — think of the veterans in the snows of Korea, the snows of Finland, or Valley Forge.  Go fly that flag!

U.S. flag flying at the Post Office in Mooresville, Alabama.  This is the oldest operating post office in the state.  Image from Original Green

U.S. flag flying at the Post Office in Mooresville, Alabama. This is the oldest operating post office in the state. Image from Original Green

Last year I noted some of the history of the holiday — check out that post.

In 1782, the 2nd Continental Congress declared a thanks giving on November 28.  Here’s the notice from a New Hampshire newspaper.

State of New-Hampshire. In Committee of Safety, Exeter, November 1, 1782 : Ordered, that the following proclamation for a general thanksgiving on the twenty-eighth day of November instant, received from the honorable Continental Congress, be forthwith printed ...

State of New-Hampshire. In Committee of Safety, Exeter, November 1, 1782 : Ordered, that the following proclamation for a general thanksgiving on the twenty-eighth day of November instant, received from the honorable Continental Congress, be forthwith printed …  From the American Memories Collection at the Library of Congress.

So let Old Glory free, today.


Flag day June 14? Heck! Fly it all week!

June 11, 2013

“The American Flag”, music by L.S.D. Rees and words by J.B. Dickson, 1862. Music Division, Library of Congress

President Barack Obama proclaimed the week of June 9 through 16 National Flag Week, in anticipation of Flag Day, June 14.

Boy Scouts from Troop 123 stand together during a Flag Day ceremony Thursday, June 14, 2012 at Veterans Memorial Park in Peru, Ill.

Boy Scouts from Troop 123 stand together during a Flag Day ceremony Thursday, June 14, 2012 at Veterans Memorial Park in Peru, Ill. Photo and caption from Reactions

Fly your U.S. flag all week!

Of course, you may fly your state and local flags, too.

June 14 commemorates the day the first resolution was passed designating the stars and stripes as the national flag of the united colonies, June 14, 1777. This is another event occurring even prior to the creation of the United States by the Constitution.

Here’s the proclamation from President Obama:

For Immediate Release

June 07, 2013

Presidential Proclamation — Flag Day and National Flag Week, 2013


– – – – – – –



Each June, our Nation lifts its sights to the flag that has watched over us since the days of our founding. In those broad stripes and bright stars, we see the arc of the American story — from a handful of colonies to 50 States, united and free.

When proud patriots took up the fight for independence, they came together under a standard that showed their common cause. When the wounds of civil war were still fresh and our country walked the long road to reconstruction, our people found hope in a banner that testified to the strength of our Union. Wherever our American journey has taken us, whether on that unending path to the mountaintop or high above into the reaches of space, Old Glory has followed, reminding us of the rights and responsibilities we share as citizens.

This week, we celebrate that legacy, and we honor the brave men and women who have secured it through centuries of service at home and abroad. Let us raise our flags high, from small-town storefronts to duty stations stretched around the globe, and let us look to them once more as we press on in the march toward a more perfect Union.

To commemorate the adoption of our flag, the Congress, by joint resolution approved August 3, 1949, as amended (63 Stat. 492), designated June 14 of each year as “Flag Day” and requested that the President issue an annual proclamation calling for its observance and for the display of the flag of the United States on all Federal Government buildings. The Congress also requested, by joint resolution approved June 9, 1966, as amended (80 Stat. 194), that the President annually issue a proclamation designating the week in which June 14 occurs as “National Flag Week” and call upon citizens of the United States to display the flag during that week.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim June 14, 2013, as Flag Day and the week beginning June 9, 2013, as National Flag Week. I direct the appropriate officials to display the flag on all Federal Government buildings during that week, and I urge all Americans to observe Flag Day and National Flag Week by displaying the flag. I also call upon the people of the United States to observe with pride and all due ceremony those days from Flag Day through Independence Day, also set aside by the Congress (89 Stat. 211), as a time to honor America, to celebrate our heritage in public gatherings and activities, and to publicly recite the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this seventh day of June, in the year of our Lord two thousand thirteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-seventh.


You may want to read further history of Flag Day and the Wisconsin-born dentist who created and promoted the campaign to commemorate it, Bernard J. CiGrand, at the National Flag Day Foundation site.

Flag Day cartoon  by Joel Mielke in the North Coast Journal, Humboldt, California

Joel Mielke cartoon in the North Coast Journal, Humboldt, California. Each of these flag uses is, technically, a violation of the flag code. Fly your flag on Flag Day; it’s a non-violative, non-offensive way to honor the flag, and our nation.


Fly your flag today – Happy New Year, 2013!

January 1, 2013

Flag in Times Square, New Years Eve - Pakistan Daily Times

Revelers wave the U.S. flag in Times Square to welcome in the new year. Photo from the Pakistan Daily Times.

New Years is one of the “fly your flag” dates set in law.  Please feel free.

Of course, I mean “feel free” in every possible way.


Still U.S. flags on the Moon?

July 7, 2011

One of the most dramatic categories of evidence that the U.S. landed men on the Moon is the detritus and other stuff they left behind.  Now we have satellites orbiting the Moon that can send back images of the landing sites with an amazing amount of detail.

Around the 4th of July somebody usually wonders how those flags left behind, are doing.

CBS News reporter Jim Axelrod asked around; you can see his report at YouTube (CBS disallows embedding of these reports, so you’ll need to click the image a couple of times to go to the YouTube site for CBS):

(720 views of this report when I posted this; come on, news hounds, flag fliers and Moon and history buffs, you can boost that total.)

That flag you flew yesterday — want to burn it today?

July 5, 2011

Some of the more astute students in our high school classes ask questions about everything.  For example, they ask:  “What does the Pledge of Allegiance mean, when it says, ‘ . . . and to the Republic for which it stands?'”

Is the Pledge all that important?  Is the flag all that important?

Maybe.  How would you answer that question, really?

Penn and Teller offer a demonstration:

What do you think?  Did they burn a flag?  Should that sort of performance be legal?

What if Penn and Teller burned a flag in the White House?

An exercise in ambiguity:  A fictional drama about a sleight of hand, illusionary performance.  (Best line:  The answer to the question, “Did you go to law school?”  For the record, yes, I did go to law school.  I’m an amateur clown.)

Did you fly your  flag yesterday?

Michigan governor’s office continues practice honoring fallen soldiers

June 23, 2011

Michigan’s Gov. Rick Snyder chose to continue the practice of his predecessor, Gov. Jennifer Granholm, in ordering flags to be flown at half-staff throughout the state to honor a Michigan soldiers killed in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Good on him.

Description: Description: Description: cid:image001.png@01CC318F.8A7F61B0

Flags to be lowered Monday, June 27
for Private First Class Brian J. Backus

LANSING, Mich. – Gov. Rick Snyder ordered U.S. flags throughout the state to be lowered to half-staff in honor of Private First Class Brian J. Backus on Monday, June 27. Flags should be returned to full-staff on Tuesday, June 28.

Backus, 21, of Harbor Beach, died June 18 in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit with small arms fire.

“Pfc. Backus served our country with bravery and courage.  My thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends at this time of great sorrow,” Snyder said.

Backus was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division of Fort Drum, New York. His awards include the National Defense Service Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Army Service Ribbon and the Combat Medical Badge. Backus deployed with his unit in March 2011 to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

The funeral service and arrangements are pending.

When flown at half-staff or half-mast, the U.S. flag should be hoisted first to the peak for an instant and then lowered to the half-staff or half-mast position. The flag should again be raised to the peak before it is lowered for the day.

This message was sent on Thursday, June 23, 2011 at 12:28 p.m.


A salute to Medal of Honor winner Rodolfo Hernandez

April 1, 2011

No television cameras.  No professional photographers.  An employee of American Airlines, Andres Otero, standing by, caught the event, probably with his phone camera.

Here’s the picture, published in the obscure Queens Gazette:

Congressional Medal of Honor Winner Rodolfo Hernandez March 25, 2011.  Photo by Andres Otero, American Airlines

Congressional Medal of Honor Winner Rodolfo Hernandez received a salute from active duty military, as he boarded an American Airlines flight to Washington, D.C., for Medal of Honor Day, March 25. Photo by Andres Otero, American Airlines

[Click through to the Queens Gazette for a larger image.]

The rest of the story?

California-native Corporal Rodolfo P. Hernandez served in the U.S. Army, and saw action in the Korean conflict.  He and his unit came under attack near Wontong-ni, Korea, on May 31, 1951.  Here’s the citation, from the Congressional Medal of Honor Society:

Cpl. Hernandez, a member of Company G, distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty in action against the enemy. His platoon, in defensive positions on Hill 420, came under ruthless attack by a numerically superior and fanatical hostile force, accompanied by heavy artillery, mortar, and machine gun fire which inflicted numerous casualties on the platoon. His comrades were forced to withdraw due to lack of ammunition but Cpl. Hernandez, although wounded in an exchange of grenades, continued to deliver deadly fire into the ranks of the onrushing assailants until a ruptured cartridge rendered his rifle inoperative. Immediately leaving his position, Cpl. Hernandez rushed the enemy armed only with rifle and bayonet. Fearlessly engaging the foe, he killed 6 of the enemy before falling unconscious from grenade, bayonet, and bullet wounds but his heroic action momentarily halted the enemy advance and enabled his unit to counterattack and retake the lost ground. The indomitable fighting spirit, outstanding courage, and tenacious devotion to duty clearly demonstrated by Cpl. Hernandez reflect the highest credit upon himself, the infantry, and the U.S. Army.

Congressional Medal of Honor awardee Cpl. Rodolfo P. Hernandez - CMOHS image

Congressional Medal of Honor awardee Cpl. Rodolfo P. Hernandez - Congressional Medal of Honor Society image

Cpl. Hernandez received the Congressional Medal of Honor on April 21, 1962.

No, I had not heard of Medal of Honor Day, either.

Here are some details from, so you can get a head start on next year’s observation:

Sunday, March 13, 2011

National Medal of Honor Day: Let’s not forget our heroes on March 25th, 2011

National Medal of Honor Day is officially observed on March 25th. The Medal of Honor is the highest distinction that can be awarded by the President, in the name of the Congress, to members of the Armed Forces who have distinguished themselves conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of their lives above and beyond the call of duty.

“This holiday should be one of our most revered. Unfortunately all too many Americans are not even aware of its existence.” Home of Heroes

The date of March 25th was chosen because the first Medals of Honor were awarded to members of Andrew’s Raiders on March 25, 1863, for their actions during the “Great Locomotive Chase.”

Col. Robert Howard (USA Ret.) president of the Congressional Medal of Honor Society on National Medal of Honor Day states:

“Hard times ask us to put a greater good before our own interests. It is sometimes physically or emotionally painful. Yet throughout history, you will find common men and women who fought selflessly in a variety of ways for something so much larger than just their own benefit.

Today, we’re fighting terrorism and the spread of tyranny. We’re challenged by market upheaval, joblessness and perhaps hunger. But the human spirit is resilient and can withstand more than sometimes we are able to immediately comprehend.

It’s up to each of us to not lay and wait for better days, but instead look for opportunities to make the lives of those around us better. National Medal of Honor Day is not a celebration. It is a solemn time to reflect on the freedom we enjoy, its price, and how our own bravery can improve the world around us.”

Home of Heroes, a premier resource of Medal of Honor information on the internet suggests:

“National Medal of Honor day is celebrated in some communities, however for the most part the occasion comes and goes with little notice. As a patriotic American there are a few things you can do to commemorate this day:

  • Fly your flag with pride and patriotism on this day.
  • Remember our heroes. As a gesture of your appreciation, why not take just a few moments in the week prior to National Medal of Honor Day to mail a “Thank You” card to one of our living Medal of Honor recipients. You can find a list of the living as well as information on writing to them among the pages of the Home of Heroes website or contact the Congressional Medal of Honor Society who will forward the letter to the Medal of Honor Recipient.
  • Inform your local media. Most newspapers aren’t even aware that this special day exists. Why not tip your local media to the occasion. Before you do, check out the Home of Heroes database for Medal of Honor recipients from your city and state as well as any who might be buried in your city. This information can give your media a “local angle” that can increase the probability that they will consider doing a story to remind Americans of our heroes.
  • If there is a Medal of Honor recipient buried in your home town, get a school class, scout troop, or other youth organization to “adopt a grave site”.

Please visit the Home of Heroes website and the Educational Resources section of Medal of Honor News.

Also read our upcoming article: Lesson plans for History and Social Studies teachers on National Medal of Honor Day, March 25th, 2011

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