Fly the U.S. flag in March 2018?

March 2, 2018

Members of the New York City Fire Department carry 343 U.S. flags honoring the 343 NYFD members killed on 9/11, in the St. Patrick's Day Parade. New York Post caption:

Members of the New York City Fire Department carry 343 U.S. flags honoring the 343 NYFD members killed on 9/11, in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. New York Post caption: “Despite the cold and gray morning, parade-goers turned out for St. Patrick’s Day to celebrate Irish heritage in New York City on March 17, 2014. FDNY members set the pace as they marched down 5th Avenue holding American flags for the annual event. SHANNON STAPLETON/Reuters”

I usually put up a post near the first of the month listing the occasions upon which U.S. laws urge us to fly Old Glory. March sometimes slips by without such a post.

No good reason, other than in most years, March offers no regular national commemorations upon which flag flying is urged. The odd year is when Easter comes early. Easter is one of the holidays the Flag Code says flags should be flown.

But, most years, Easter falls in April, as it does in 2018.

The Flag Code urges residents of states to fly the U.S. flag on the anniversary of their state’s entering the union, on statehood day. Those are the only dates in March, most years. In March, we have four statehood days in the first four days of the month. If I dawdle, we miss most of the dates.

Flag fly dates, for March (some already past, in 2018):

  • March 1, Ohio statehood (1803, 17th state)
  • March 1, Nebraska statehood (1867, 37th state)
  • March 3, Florida (1845, 27th state)
  • March 4, Vermont statehood (1791, 14th state)
  • March 15, Maine statehood (1820, 23rd state)

Many St. Patrick’s Day revelers and parade marchers display the U.S. flag, but it’s not an official U.S. observance.

I keep hoping, but I get little traction for a law urging flying the flag to observe Freedom Day, on the birth anniversary of the Father of the Constitution, James Madison (he was born March 16, 1751).

People gathered on the lawn of James Madison's home in Montpelier, Virginia, to display the U.S. flag in a card display, 2011. AP photo?

People gathered on the lawn of James Madison’s home in Montpelier, Virginia, to display the U.S. flag in a card display, 2011. AP photo?

Much irony, and great history, in the U.S. colors being shown so dramatically on St. Patrick’s Day, a day relatively uncommemorated in Ireland, and commemorated in the U.S. chiefly to help overcome bias against Irish immigrants.

Some irony in the unmarked birthday of the Father of the Constitution.

Sure, you may fly the U.S. flag every day in March. You need not wait for sanction from a Presidential Proclamation or a Congressional Resolution. You may fly the flag every day. (Just follow flag etiquette when you do.)

I’ll try to keep up better, next year. (I said that last year.)

U.S. colors led the St. Patrick's Day parade in Seattle, Washington, in 2014. Photo from IrishClub.org

U.S. colors led the St. Patrick’s Day parade in Seattle, Washington, in 2014. Photo from IrishClub.org

 

U.S. colors stood out in a field of green at the St. Paul, Minnesota, St. Patrick's Day parade, 2015(?). Photo from VisitStPaul.com.

U.S. colors stood out in a field of green at the St. Paul, Minnesota, St. Patrick’s Day parade, 2015(?). Photo from VisitStPaul.com.

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This is an encore post.

Yes, this is a bit of an encore post. Defeating ignorance takes patience and perseverance.

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Fly your flag, a Valentine for Oregon and Arizona

February 14, 2018

From the Sons and Daughters of Oregon Pioneers: A Stamp printed in 1959 for the Oregon Centennial shows a covered Wagon and Mount Hood Oregon

From the Sons and Daughters of Oregon Pioneers: A Stamp printed in 1959 for the Oregon Centennial shows a covered Wagon and Mount Hood Oregon

Flags are flying in Oregon and Arizona on Valentine’s Day 2018?

It’s statehood day in both of those states.

Legally, nothing stops a resident from flying the U.S. flag following protocol on any day.  Yes, you may fly your U.S. flag on Valentine’s Day.

The Flag Code urges flying the flag on the day a state achieved statehood, too.

For Oregon and Arizona, there is an expectation that residents will fly their flags.  Oregon came into the union on February 14, 1859; Arizona joined the Republic as a state in 1912.

Taft signs Arizona statehood papers, February 14, 1912

President William Howard Taft signed the papers accepting Arizona into statehood, on February 14, 1912. He still finished third behind Democrat Woodrow Wilson and Bullmoose Party’s Teddy Roosevelt in that fall’s elections. Photo found at Mrs. Convir’s page, Balboa Magnet School  (Can you identify others in the photo?  Who is the young man?)

From TripSavvy: On February 14, 1912, Taft signed the proclamation making Arizona the 48th state, and the last of the contiguous states to be admitted to the union. It was the last of the 48 contiguous states to be admitted to the union.

Arizona’s state flag waves in the blue – From TripSavvy: On February 14, 1912, Taft signed the proclamation making Arizona the 48th state, and the last of the contiguous states to be admitted to the union. It was the last of the 48 contiguous states to be admitted to the union.

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Some of this material was borrowed, with express permission, from last year’s post at Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub.


Proper etiquette for flying the Texas flag

January 26, 2018

Texas flag, the Lone Star. Texas Monthly image

Texas flag, the Lone Star. Texas Monthly image

Texas Monthly noted that the Texas Lone Star flag was adopted on January 25, 1839 — six years before Texas statehood.

Texas lore often claims the Texas flag has special rules that make it the best of all state flags. Mostly, that’s not true. But Texas Monthly collected the rules in one place, and it’s worth a look if you deal with the Texas flag at all. Boy Scouts and others may want to make note that there are now rules on how to fold the Texas flag (essentially the same as folding the U.S. flag, but take a look to be sure you have it right).

Tip of the old scrub brush to Texas Monthly’s Twitter feed.


Iowans, fly your flags today for statehood, December 28, 1846

December 28, 2017

The 2004 commemorative Iowa quarter-dollar pays homage to Iowa's great artist son, Grant Wood, and the prairie school house, with a motto for Iowa,

The 2004 commemorative Iowa quarter-dollar pays homage to Iowa’s great artist son, Grant Wood, and the prairie school house, with a motto for Iowa, “Foundation in Education.” Wood’s painting is “Arbor Day,” showing students and a teacher planting a tree outside a one-room schoolhouse. Image from the Littleton Coin Company.

Iowans fly their flags today in celebration of the anniversary of Iowa statehood.  Iowa’s admission to the Union came on December 28, 1846; Iowa is the 29th state admitted.

The Flag Code, 4 USC §6 (d), notes that the U.S. flag may be flown on “the birthdays of States (date of admission),” in addition to the other score of dates specifically written into law.

American Flag, Spencer, Iowa, 1996 – caption from the National Geographic Society: A man rolls up U.S. flags at the end of the Clay County Fair in Spencer, Iowa. “Although the population of Spencer is only about 12,000, the fair draws some 300,000 visitors. Once a year, rising from the endless flatness of the Iowa countryside, a crowd forms—to stroll, to hear big country music acts like the Statler Brothers, to sell a grand champion boar, to buy a new silo.” (Photographed on assignment for, but not published in, “County Fairs,” October 1997, National Geographic magazine) Photograph by Randy Olson; copyright National Geographic Society

American Flag, Spencer, Iowa, 1996 – caption from the National Geographic Society: A man rolls up U.S. flags at the end of the Clay County Fair in Spencer, Iowa. “Although the population of Spencer is only about 12,000, the fair draws some 300,000 visitors. Once a year, rising from the endless flatness of the Iowa countryside, a crowd forms—to stroll, to hear big country music acts like the Statler Brothers, to sell a grand champion boar, to buy a new silo.” (Photographed on assignment for, but not published in, “County Fairs,” October 1997, National Geographic magazine) Photograph by Randy Olson; copyright National Geographic Society. Just a great photo.

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December 7, 2018: Fly flags for Pearl Harbor Remembrance, and for Delaware statehood — and at half staff

December 7, 2017

From Dayton Daily News: Jeff Duford, curator for the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, with a flag that flew on the U.S.S. St. Louis in Hawaii during the attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. The same flag flew aboard the U.S.S. Iowa in Tokyo Bay on September 16, 1944, as Japan signed instruments of surrender aboard the U.S.S. Missouri.

From Dayton Daily News: Jeff Duford, curator for the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, with a flag that flew on the U.S.S. St. Louis in Hawaii during the attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. The same flag flew aboard the U.S.S. Iowa in Tokyo Bay on September 16, 1944, as Japan signed instruments of surrender aboard the U.S.S. Missouri. [This flag was displayed for one day at the museum, on Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day 2016.]

December 7 is a two-fer flag-flying day.

By public law, December 7 is Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, and Americans fly the U.S. flag in memory of those who lost their lives at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. U.S. flags should be flown at half-staff.

As for Delaware, under the U.S. Flag Code, residents of the relevant state should fly their U.S. flag on the date the state joined the union.

In 1787 Delaware quickly and promptly elected delegates to the former colony’s convention to ratify the Constitution proposed at the Philadelphia convention just over three months earlier. The ratification of the Constitution won opposition from strong factions in almost every state. Pols anticipated tough fights in New York, Virginia, and other states with large populations. They also expected other states would wait to see what the bigger states did.

Delaware didn’t wait.  On December 7 Delaware became the first of the former British colonies to ratify the Constitution. Perhaps by doing so, it guaranteed other states would act more favorably on ratification.

Because Delaware was first, it is traditionally granted first position in certain ceremonies, such as the parades honoring newly-inaugurated presidents. Delaware’s nickname is “The First State.”

In Delaware and the rest of the nation, fly your flags on December 7, 2016. If you can, fly your flag at half-staff to honor the dead at Pearl Harbor; if you have a flag on a pole that cannot be adjusted, just fly the flag normally.

The most famous portrayal of a U.S. flag flying in Delaware is in the painting by Emanuel Leutze (American, 1816–1868).

The most famous portrayal of a U.S. flag flying in Delaware is in the painting by Emanuel Leutze (American, 1816–1868). “Washington Crossing the Delaware,” 1851. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Gift of John Stewart Kennedy, 1897 (97.34) Among other problems with this portrayal: The flag depicted had not been designated on the date of the crossing, Christmas 1776.

Yes, this is mostly an encore post. Fighting ignorance requires patience.

Yes, this is mostly an encore post. Fighting ignorance requires patience.


December’s dates to fly Old Glory, 2017

November 28, 2017

U.S. flag flies at the U.S. Capitol in a snow storm. Photo by Victoria Pickering, Creative Commons license, from Flickr

U.S. flag flies at the U.S. Capitol in a snow storm. Photo by Victoria Pickering, Creative Commons license, from Flickr. (This photo was actually taken in March.) 

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.

And if you travel for the holidays? You’re away from home?

Astronauts Eugene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt took a flag with them when they visited the Moon in December 1972. Maybe you could carry a small travel flag, too.

NASA caption: Apollo 17 commander Eugene A. Cernan is holding the lower corner of the American flag during the mission's first EVA, December 12, 1972. Photograph by Harrison J.

NASA caption: Apollo 17 commander Eugene A. Cernan is holding the lower corner of the American flag during the mission’s first EVA, December 12, 1972. Photograph by Harrison J. “Jack” Schmitt. Image Credit: NASA

 


Oklahoma statehood, November 16, 1907; Oklahomans fly your flags today

November 16, 2017

U.S. Flag Code urges citizens of states to fly the U.S. flag on the anniversary of statehood.

We almost let the whole day slip away without reminding you: President Theodore Roosevelt signed the Oklahoma statehood proclamation on November 16, 1907. Oklahoma became the 46th state, with New Mexico and Arizona to come later to fill out the contiguous 48 states.

Mike Wimmer's 2003 painting of President Theodore Roosevelt's signing of the proclamation that made Oklahoma a member of the union. Oklahoma Arts Council image.

Mike Wimmer’s 2003 painting of President Theodore Roosevelt’s signing of the proclamation that made Oklahoma a member of the union. Oklahoma Arts Council image.

Oklahoma’s pre-history is long, complex and fascinating; the road to statehood is similarly complex and winding, lined with broken promises to Native Americans, tragedy and other drama. Does the state require Oklahoma history be taught in public schools?

And so we hope, you flew your flags today, Sooners!

Did anyone actually fly their flag? Does anyone other than Oklahoma newspapers even care any more?

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Front page of the Daily Oklahoman on November 16, 1907, anticipating President Roosevelt's proclamation to come that morning. Daily Oklahoman image.

Front page of the Daily Oklahoman on November 16, 1907, anticipating President Roosevelt’s proclamation to come that morning. Daily Oklahoman image.

46-star flag used after Oklahoma became the 46th state in 1907. This flag remained in use for four years. RareFlags.com image

46-star flag used after Oklahoma became the 46th state in 1907. This flag remained in use for four years. RareFlags.com image

Yes, this is mostly an encore post. Fighting ignorance requires patience.

Yes, this is mostly an encore post. Fighting ignorance requires patience.

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