December 2019 flag-flying days

December 5, 2019

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A “living flag” composed of 10,000 sailors, or “Blue Jackets at Salute,” by the Mayhart Studios, December 1917; image probably at the Great Lakes training facility of the Navy. Gawker media image

November offers several flag flying days, especially in years when there is an election.

But December may be the month with the most flag-flying dates, when we include statehood days.

December 7 is Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.  It’s not in the Flag Code, but public law (P.L. 103-308) urges that the president should issue a proclamation asking Americans to fly flags.

December 25 is Christmas Day, a federal holiday, and one of the score of dates designated in the Flag Code. If you watch your neighborhood closely, you’ll note even some of the most ardent flag wavers miss posting the colors on this day, as they do on Thanksgiving and New Years.

Other dates?

Nine states attained statehood in December, so people in those states should fly their flags (and you may join them).  Included in this group is Delaware, traditionally the “First State,” as it was the first colony to ratify the U.S. Constitution:

  • Illinois, December 3 (1818, 21st state)
  • Delaware, December 7 (1787, 1st state)
  • Mississippi, December 10 (1817, 20th state)
  • Indiana, December 11 (1816, 19th state)
  • Pennsylvania, December 12 (1787, 2nd state)
  • Alabama, December 14 (1819, 22nd state)
  • New Jersey, December 18 (1787, 3rd state)
  • Iowa, December 28 (1846, 29th state)
  • Texas, December 29 (1845, 28th state)

December 15 is Bill of Rights Day, marking the day in 1791 when the Bill of Rights was declared ratified; but though this event generally gets a presidential proclamation, there is no law or executive action that requires flags to fly on that date, for that occasion.

Eleven flag-flying dates in December.  Does any other month have as many flag flying opportunities?

Have I missed any December flag-flying dates?  11 events on 10 days (Delaware’s statehood falls on the anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack).

Here’s a list of the days to fly the flag, under national law, in chronological order:

  1. Illinois, December 3 (1818, 21st state)
  2. Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, December 7
  3. Delaware, December 7 (1787, 1st state) (shared with Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day)
  4. Mississippi, December 10 (1817, 20th state)
  5. Indiana, December 11 (1816, 19th state)
  6. Pennsylvania, December 12 (1787, 2nd state)
  7. Alabama, December 14 (1819, 22nd state)
  8. New Jersey, December 18 (1787, 3rd state)
  9. Christmas Day, December 25
  10. Iowa, December 28 (1846, 29th state)
  11. Texas, December 29 (1845, 28th state)

Fly your flag with respect to the flag, for the republic it represents, and for all those who sacrificed that it may wave on your residence.

Appropriate to a snowy December.

Appropriate to a snowy December. “The Barn on Grayson-New Hope Road. This barn with its old truck and ever-present American flag, is often the subject of photographs and paintings by the locals.” Photo and copyright by Melinda Anderson

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Gold Star Mothers Day 2019 – fly your flag on Sunday, September 29

September 29, 2019

Gold Star Mothers Day, honoring mothers and widows of soldiers killed in service, is the last Sunday of September — September 29 in 2019.

It’s a date designated by law to fly your U.S. flag at home.

President Trump issued a proclamation on flying the flag in 2019:

Every life lost in service to our country is precious and irreplaceable.  Our deepest sympathy, utmost respect, unwavering support, and profound gratitude go to the families who must endure the ongoing pain of such loss.  On Gold Star Mother’s and Family’s Day, we solemnly honor these families and pray for their continued strength and courage.

Since the founding of our Republic, our liberty has been defended by our men and women in uniform.  Their love of country and devotion to duty represent the very best of America.  Our Nation’s military families share in the demands and pressures of this noble calling.  The cost is exceedingly high — with multiple deployments, relocations, and separations — but the sobering price of their sacrifice is most clearly seen in the families who have faced the life-altering loss of a father, mother, son, daughter, sister, or brother who died fighting for our freedom.

Because of tragedies that forever change the course of their lives, these families receive the designation of the Gold Star.  Each story is unique; each death is profoundly personal.  The fallen leave behind families who must learn to carve out a new future while coping with their loved one’s absence on holidays, at celebrations, and during everyday activities.  Their pain permeates every facet of life, never fully fading.

Yet, in spite of their challenges and heartbreak, Gold Star families exemplify amazing grace and resilience.  From the depths of grief, they emerge to find hope, purpose, and joy, serving as an example and a source of inspiration for others.  These patriots know the true cost of freedom, and it is the responsibility of all Americans to stand alongside them and share in shouldering this profound burden.

The Congress, by Senate Joint Resolution 115 of June 23, 1936 (49 Stat. 1895 as amended), has designated the last Sunday in September as “Gold Star Mother’s Day.”

NOW, THEREFORE, I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim Sunday, September 29, 2019, as Gold Star Mother’s and Family’s Day.  I call upon all Government officials to display the flag of the United States over Government buildings on this special day.  I also encourage the American people to display the flag and hold appropriate ceremonies as a public expression of our Nation’s gratitude and respect for our Gold Star Mothers and Families.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-seventh day of September, in the year of our Lord two thousand nineteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-fourth.

DONALD J. TRUMP

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Colorado statehood day, August 1, 2018

July 31, 2019

From the Walking Tourists, a photograph of a U.S. flag near Colorado Springs, with Pikes Peak in the background. A view from the top of Pikes Peak inspired Kathryn Lee Bates to write a poem, “America the Beautiful.”

Colorado officially joined the Union on August 1, 1876.

Coloradans should fly U.S. flags today in honor of statehood. Colorado was the 38th state admitted to the union.


August 2019: Unfurl Old Glory on these days

July 31, 2019

Maybe a more appropriate flag picture for July? One of my favorites from the collection of the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. – Neil Alden Armstrong  / By Louis S. Glanzman / Acrylic and casein on Masonite, 1969 / National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution

August in the U.S. is a lazy, often hot, summer month. It’s a month for vacation, picnicking, local baseball games, camping, cookouts and beach vacations. It’s not a big month for events to fly the U.S. flag.

Except, perhaps, in Olympics years, when the U.S. flag is often flown a lot, in distant locations. About 50 percent of photographs of the U.S. flag flying in August features an American Olympic athlete. 2019 is not an Olympics year.

Only one event calls for nation-wide flag-flying in August, National Aviation Day on August 19. This event is not specified in the Flag Code, but in a separate provision in the same chapter U.S. Code. Will the president issue a proclamation to fly the flag for National Aviation Day?

Three states celebrate statehood, Colorado, Hawaii and Missouri.

Put these dates on your calendar to fly the flag in August:

  • August 1, Colorado statehood (1876, 38th state)
  • August 10, Missouri statehood (1821, 24th state)
  • August 19, National Aviation Day, 36 USC 1 § 118
  • August 21, Hawaii statehood (1959, 50th state)

If Texans want to fly their flags for the children’s returning to school on August 18, no one will complain. The Flag Code says all public schools should be flying the U.S. flag every school day — check to be sure your child’s schools do that.

You may fly your U.S. flag any day. These are just the days suggested in law.

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Did you fly your flag for Easter?

April 21, 2019

We didn’t post a reminder, but we did mention it in the post for flag-flying in April: Did you fly your flag for Easter?

Did you notice whether anyone else on your block did?

Caption from U.S. Navy: Arlington, Va. (Mar. 27, 2005) – A member of the Navy Honor Guard stands under a large American Flag during the Joint Force Headquarters-National Capital Region’s Easter Sunrise Service at Arlington National Cemetery’s Memorial Amphitheater. Chaplain of the Marine Corps/Deputy Chief of Chaplains for the Navy, Rear Adm. Robert F. Burt, delivered the free, nondenominational sermon. Members of the military community, general public, and media attended the joint-service event. U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Mark A. Suban

April 2019: When do we fly our flags?

March 30, 2019

Schooner on Chesapeake Bay flies the 15-stripe/15-star flag that flew over Fort McHenry. Image from the Maryland Secretary of State's Office

Schooner on Chesapeake Bay flies the 15-stripe/15-star flag that flew over Fort McHenry. Image from the Maryland Secretary of State’s Office

Is April the cruelest month?

It’s cruel to people who want to fly U.S. flags often, but only on designated flag-flying dates. (April is also National Poetry Month, so it’s a good time to look up poetry references we should have committed to heart).

For 2019, these are the three dates for flying the U.S. flag; Easter is a national date, the other two are dates suggested for residents of the states involved.

One date, nationally, to fly the flag. That beats March, which has none (in a year with Easter in April and not March). But March has five statehood days, to April’s two.

Take heart! You may fly your U.S. flag any day you choose, or everyday as many people do in Texas (though, too many do not retire their flags every evening . . .).

Three dates to fly Old Glory in April, by the Flag Code and other laws on memorials and commemorations.

  • Easter, April 21 in 2019
  • Maryland, April 28, 1788, 7th state
  • Louisiana, April 30, 1812, 18th state
April usually sees the opening of Major League Baseball's season -- some teams jumped into March in 2018. In this photo, U.S. Navy sailors assigned to the USS Bonhomme Richard practice for the San Diego Padres' opening day flag ceremony in San Diego on April 5, 2011. The ship sent nearly 300 volunteers to unfurl an 800-pound U.S. flag that covered the entire field. The Bonhomme Richard is in dry-dock for maintenance and upgrades. Defense Department photo via Wikimedia.

April usually sees the opening of Major League Baseball’s season — some teams jumped into March in 2018. In this photo, U.S. Navy sailors assigned to the USS Bonhomme Richard practice for the San Diego Padres’ opening day flag ceremony in San Diego on April 5, 2011. The ship sent nearly 300 volunteers to unfurl an 800-pound U.S. flag that covered the entire field. The Bonhomme Richard was in dry-dock for maintenance and upgrades. Defense Department photo via Wikimedia.

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Maine’s flags flying today, for statehood

March 15, 2019

U.S. flag flutters from the back of a boat on the Atlantic Ocean, in Maine. Photo from Peter Jon Lindberg.

Maine joined the union on March 15, 1820, the 23rd state. It was created out of what had been lands of the colony of Massachusetts.

Maine gave us a Vice President, Hannibal Hamlin, under Abraham Lincoln. In Hamlin’s term he disappeared from Washington, D.C. At some length, a story goes, Hamlin was tracked back to Maine where he had enlisted in the Civil War effort, cooking for the troops.

James G. Blaine, a newspaper editor, got the Republican nomination for the presidency in 1884. He lost the election to Grover Cleveland, but gave us that memorable phrase from the college U.S. history survey courses: “Blaine, Blaine, James G. Blaine! The Son of a Bitch from the State of Maine.”

Blaine was no slouch. He served 13 years in the U.S. House of Representatives, rising to the position of Speaker, served a term in the U.S. Senate and was twice U.S. Secretary of State, under three different presidents.

Despite its many natural wonders, Maine is one of four U.S. states I have not visited. (Where’s the invitation, Greg Marley?)

Lobster trap floats and Old, in Bar Harbor, Maine. Photo copyright by Greg A. Hartford, AcadiaMagic.com.

Maine has a lot of people flying U.S. colors, judging from photographs. Good on them all. I wonder whether Mainers celebrate statehood, or just let it pass?

Maine manufactures U.S. flags. Bangor Daily News: “Sherry Jewel, a production supervisor for Maine Stitching Specialties, stitches together an American flag at the former Dirigo Stitching factory that was restarted two years ago.” 2016 story, photo by Bill Swain.

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