August 2017: When should you fly your U.S. flag?

August 11, 2017

U.S. and Wyoming flags fly at the Buffalo Bill Dam, near Cody, Wyoming. That corner of Wyoming will experience a total eclipse of the sun on August 21, 2017. (Not necessarily at the dam site, of course) Trip Savvy image.

U.S. and Wyoming flags fly at the Buffalo Bill Dam, near Cody, Wyoming. That corner of Wyoming will experience a total eclipse of the sun on August 21, 2017. (Not necessarily at the dam site, of course) Trip Savvy image

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.

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.  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 you want to fly your flag for the eclipse of the Sun on August 21, 2017, you may do so.

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

The American Flag, as it is known today, flies over Fort Stanwix National Monument. It is flown following the U.S. flag code regulations. At all times of the year it is a quite a site to see. National Park Service VIP Mike Hucko

US flag at site of a bitter siege in August, 1777; National Parks Service Caption: The American Flag, as it is known today, flies over [Fort Stanwix] National Monument. It is flown following the U.S. flag code regulations. At all times of the year it is a quite a site to see. National Park Service VIP Mike Hucko

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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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July 27, 2017: National Korean War Veterans Armistice Day, go ahead, fly your flag

July 27, 2017

U.S. soldiers and a tank come ashore at Inchon, in the invasion that led to the liberation of Seoul. Though an armistice in the war was achieved, a final resolution has never been negotiated. Image from Pinterest.

U.S. soldiers and a tank come ashore at Inchon, in the invasion that led to the liberation of Seoul. Though an armistice in the war was achieved, a final resolution has never been negotiated. Image from Pinterest.

President Donald Trump issued a proclamation for National Korean War Veterans Armistice Day, though the law Congress passed specified it should run only until 2003. There was no proclamation to urge flag flying, however.

You may fly your flag on any day. Many Americans continue to fly flags to honor Korean War veterans on July 27.

The White House
Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release
July 26, 2017

President Donald J. Trump Proclaims July 27, 2017, as National Korean War Veterans Armistice Day

NATIONAL KOREAN WAR VETERANS ARMISTICE DAY, 2017

– – – – – – –

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

A PROCLAMATION

On National Korean War Veterans Armistice Day, we honor the patriots who defended the Korean Peninsula against the spread of Communism in what became the first major conflict of the Cold War.  We remember those who laid down their lives in defense of liberty, in a land far from home, and we vow to preserve their legacy.

Situated between World War II and the Vietnam War, the Korean War has often been labeled as the “Forgotten War,” despite its having claimed the lives of more than 36,000 Americans.  The Korean War began on June 25, 1950, when North Korean forces, backed by the Soviet Union, invaded South Korea.  Shortly thereafter, American troops arrived and pushed back the North Koreans.  For 3 years, alongside fifteen allies and partners, we fought an unrelenting war of attrition.  Through diplomatic engagements led by President Eisenhower, Americans secured peace on the Korean Peninsula.  On July 27, 1953, North Korea, China, and the United Nations signed an armistice suspending all hostilities.

While the armistice stopped the active fighting in the region, North Korea’s ballistic and nuclear weapons programs continue to pose grave threats to the United States and our allies and partners.  At this moment, more than 28,000 American troops maintain a strong allied presence along the 38th parallel, which separates North and South Korea.  These troops, and the rest of our Armed Forces, help me fulfill my unwavering commitment as President to protecting Americans at home and to steadfastly defending our allies abroad.

As we reflect upon our values and pause to remember all those who fight and sacrifice to uphold them, we will never forget our Korean War veterans whose valiant efforts halted the spread of Communism and advanced the cause of freedom.

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 July 27, 2017, as National Korean War Veterans Armistice Day.  I call upon all Americans to observe this day with appropriate ceremonies and activities that honor and give thanks to our distinguished Korean War veterans.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-sixth day of July, in the year of our Lord two thousand seventeen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-second.

DONALD J. TRUMP

At this blog, we urge you to remember what is often called “the forgotten war,” and the veterans of the war, and the sacrifices of those veterans and those who did not return. You may fly your flag if you wish.

January 2016 snowfall added another layer of realism to the Korean Veterans War Memorial on the National Mall. Much of the Korean War was fought in bitter cold and snow. National Park Service photo

January 2016 snowfall added another layer of realism to the Korean Veterans War Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Much of the Korean War was fought in bitter cold and snow. National Park Service photo

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July 26, 2017, New York flies U.S. flags for statehood

July 26, 2017

Flags fly in July at Rockefeller Center, New York City. Photo by Ed Darrell; please use, with attribution.

Flags fly in July 2016 at Rockefeller Center, New York City. Photo by Ed Darrell; please use, with attribution.

New York became a state, historians say, on July 26, 1788, when the Constitution Ratification Convention for the colony approved the U.S. Constitution. Technically the nation did not yet exist, but in flag circles, we use the ratification date as the statehood day for the 18 original states.

Following the guide of the U.S. Flag Code, New Yorkers fly their U.S. flags today in honor of New York’s statehood.

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  • Next date to fly Old Glory: July 27 (tomorrow!) for Korean War Veterans Armistice Day.

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July 2017: What dates do we fly the flag?

July 13, 2017

Caption from the Kansas Historical Society:

Caption from the Kansas Historical Society: “This is an illustration showing President Abraham Lincoln hoisting the American flag with thirty-four stars upon Independence Hall, Philadelphia, February 22, 1861. Copied from Harper’s Weekly, March 9, 1861.” Engraving by Frederick De Bourg Richards

July 4. Surely everyone knows to fly the flag on Independence Day, the anniversary of the Declaration of Independence.*

In the month of the grand patriotic celebration, what other dates do we fly the U.S. flag? July 4 is the only date designated in the Flag Code for all Americans to fly the flag.  Three states joined the union in July, days on which citizens of those states should show the colors, New York, Idaho and Wyoming.

Plus, there is one date many veterans think we should still fly the flag, Korean War Veterans Armistice Day on July 27.  Oddly, the law designating that date urges flying the flag only until 2003, the 50th anniversary of the still-standing truce in that war.  But the law still exists.  What’s a patriot to do?

Patriots may watch to see whether the president issues a proclamation for the date.

From Pinterest:

From Pinterest: “Riders in the patriotic horse group Americanas from Rexburg, Idaho, participate in the 163rd annual Days of ‘47 KSL 5 Parade Tuesday July 24, 2012 [in Salt Lake City, Utah]. (Chris Detrick | The Salt Lake Tribune)”

Generally we don’t note state holidays or state-designated flag-flying events, such as Utah’s Pioneer Day, July 24, which marks the day in 1847 that the Mormon pioneers in the party of Brigham Young exited what is now Emigration Canyon into the Salt Lake Valley. But it’s a big day in Utah, where I spent a number of years and still have family. And I still have memories, not all pleasant, of that five-mile march for the Days of ’47 Parade, in that wool, long-sleeved uniform and hat, carrying the Sousaphone. Pardon my partisan exception. Utahns will fly their flags on July 24.

  • Idaho statehood, July 3 (1890, 43rd state)
  • Independence Day, July 4
  • Wyoming statehood, July 10 (1890, 44th state)
  • New York statehood, July 26 (1788, 11th state)
  • National Korean War Veterans Armistice Day, July 27 (flags fly at half-staff, if you are continuing the commemoration which was designated in law only until 2003)

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* July 4? But didn’t John Adams say it should be July 2?  And, yes, the staff at Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub sadly noted that, at the Georgetown, Texas, July 4 parade in 2011 pictured at top, it appears no one saluted the U.S. flag as it passed, as the Flag Code recommends. MFB’s been fighting flag etiquette ignorance since 2006. It’s taking much, much longer than we wished.

Image of the entire cover of the March 9, 1861, Harper's Magazine,

Image of the entire cover of the March 9, 1861, Harper’s Weekly, “A Journal of Civilization.” From a sale at Amazon.com

Yes, this post is a bit late this year.

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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July 4, 2017: Fly your flag! 241st anniversary of public reading of the Declaration of Independence

July 3, 2017

At Four Mile Historic Park in Glendale, Colorado, Abraham Lincoln actor John Voehl pauses before delivering the Gettysburg Address at a 4th of July celebration (yes, Lincoln delivered the address on November 16; it's a great statement of the meaning and history of the Declaration of Independence, and probably appropriate for July 4, remembering that the actual independence resolution passed on July 2, 1776 . . .) Denver Post file photo

At Four Mile Historic Park in Glendale, Colorado, Abraham Lincoln actor John Voehl pauses before delivering the Gettysburg Address at a 4th of July celebration (yes, Lincoln delivered the address on November 16; it’s a great statement of the meaning and history of the Declaration of Independence, and probably appropriate for July 4, remembering that the actual independence resolution passed on July 2, 1776 . . .) Denver Post file photo

It’s a day of tradition — oddly enough, since we are in reality a very new nation, and Lee’s resolution to declare independence from Britain came on July 2.

A soak in Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub is nothing if not a steeping in tradition.  Fly your flag today, to celebrate the independence of the American colonies of Britain.

Fourth of July: NPR has already read the Declaration of Independence (or will soon, if you’re up early), PBS is ready to broadcast the Capitol Fourth concert  (maybe a rebroadcast is available, if you’re off at your own town’s fireworks — check your local listings), your town has a parade somewhere this weekend, or a neighboring community does, and fireworks are everywhere.

At the White House, traditionally, new citizens are sworn in — often people who joined our armed forces and fought for our nation, before even getting the privileges of citizenship.  Fireworks on the Capital Mall will be grand. President Obama’s White House would host a few thousand military people and their families from some of the best views.  Traditionally, five photographers, chosen by lottery, get to shoot photos of the fireworks from the windows of the Washington Monument; will that occur, with the Monument open again after repair from the earthquake?

There will be great fireworks also in Baltimore Harbor over Fort McHenry, the fort whose siege inspired Francis Scott Key to write the “Star-spangled Banner” from his boat in the harbor, in 1814. Fireworks will frighten the bluebirds nesting at Yorktown National Battlefield.  I suspect there will be a grand display at Gettysburg, on the 154th anniversary of the end of that battle. July 4, 1863, also marked the end of the Siege of Vicksburg; tradition holds that Vicksburg did not celebrate the 4th of July for 83 years after that. I’ll wager there will be fireworks there tonight.

In Provo, Utah, the city poobahs will have done all they can to try to live up to their self-proclaimed reputation as having the biggest Independence Day celebration in the nation.  Will the celebration in Prescott, Arizona, still be muted by the tragic deaths of 19 Hot Shot firefighters a few years ago; will drought halt the fireworks, too?  There will be fireworks around the Golden Gate Bridge, in Anchorage, Alaska, reflecting on the waters of Pearl Harbor, and probably in Guam, American Samoa, and the Northern Marianas Islands.

Fireworks on the Fourth is a long tradition — a tradition that kept John Adams and Thomas Jefferson alive, until they both died on the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, in 1826, the sounds of the fireworks letting Adams know the celebration had begun (Adams erroneously celebrated that Jefferson, the Declaration’s author, still lived, unable to know Jefferson had passed just hours earlier).

Remember to put your flag up today.

Astronaut Eugene Cernan and the U.S. Flag -- Apollo 17 on the Moon (NASA photo)

Last flag on the Moon: Astronaut Eugene Cernan and the U.S. Flag — Apollo 17 on the Moon (NASA photo)

If you’re not on the Moon, here are some tips on flag etiquette, how to appropriately fly our national standard.

Also:

Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter photo of the Apollo 17 landing site.

Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter photo of the Apollo 17 landing site. NASA caption: Apollo 17 Lunar Module Challenger descent stage comes into focus from the new lower 50 km mapping orbit, image width 102 meters. Credit: NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University

This is mostly an encore post, but I so love that photo of the flag with the Earth in the distance.

Happy birthday, Kathryn!

Fireworks in Duncanville, Texas, for July 4

Fireworks in Duncanville, Texas, for July 4 — Kathryn Knowles’s birthday. We’re always happy the town chimes in with the celebratory spirit.

Tip of the old scrub brush to Thomas Jefferson, Richard Henry Lee, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman, Robert Livingston, and the cast of thousands of patriots including George Washington.

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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Celebrating Flag Day

June 14, 2017

NASA History office (@NASAHistory) Tweeted this out: Happy #FlagDay! Apollo 15 Commander Dave Scott salutes the American flag at the Hadley-Apennine landing site on the Moon, 1971.

You’ve got your flag flying for Flag Day, right?

Flag Day is one of the least holiday-ish commemorative days on the U.S. calendar.  I doubt anyone gets the day off. There are a few scheduled events, maybe a flag-raising, or a fly over.

Most of us go to work, we note a few more flags flying. That’s it.

Some newspapers and other news outlets take the opportunity to tell us flag history, or flag etiquette. Mostly Flag Day is a day for people say hurray for the flag!

That’s not bad.

What are other people doing and saying (beyond the other tragedies of the day)?

One of my favorite pictures from Mount Vernon, George Washington’s home. The flag is on a temporary pole — the view from the cupola is fantastic, but few ever get to see it.

How do you provide real, courtroom-worthy evidence that the Moon landings by Apollo really happened, that they were not hoaxes? You show the prints on the Moon. You show the flag that is still there:

Oh, that NASA History post:

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Flag Day 2017 – Fly your flag June 14!

June 14, 2017

Flag Day cartoon by Clifford Berryman (Washington Post?); June 14, 1918

Flag Day cartoon by Clifford Berryman (Washington Post?); June 14, 1918

Our traditional Flag Day post.

Of course, you’re ready to fly your Stars and Stripes on Tuesday, June 14, right?

You may fly your flag the entire week, Sunday through Saturday, designated Flag Week by law. But please remember to get the flag out on June 14 at least.

Flag Day 2014 celebrates the U.S. flag, now over 200 years since the night (in September) the British invaded Baltimore — the Battle of Baltimore, and the Battle of Baltimore Harbor, during the War of 1812.  On that night, Georgetown, D.C., lawyer Francis Scott Key negotiated the release of a physician the British captured during their raid on Washington, D.C.  But British officers didn’t want Key to be able to reveal what he might have learned about their next target, Baltimore.  So they put Key on a boat to watch as they invaded Baltimore, trying to capture the fort that guarded the harbor, Fort McHenry.

Yes, THAT battle.  Key saw the flag at the fort flying, under extreme bombardment, at sunset.  The bombardment continued through night.  At dawn, on September 14, 1814, Key saw that the massive flag at Fort McHenry still flew, meaning the British invasion failed.

He was inspired to write poem, “The Defense of Fort McHenry.”  You know the opening line:

“O! Say can you see by the dawn’s early light, what so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming?”

History by Zim has a more detailed account — and this photo, noted as probably the first photograph of that same flag.

From History by Zim:

From History by Zim: “This is the first known photograph of the American flag taken on June 21, 1873 by George Henry Preble. The flag was flown over Fort McHenry in Baltimore, Maryland during an infamous battle between the British and the United States during the War of 1812. Photo Credit: National Star-Spangled Banner Centennial, Baltimore, Maryland, September 6 to 13, 1914.”

Flag Day, June 14th, marks the anniversary of the resolution passed by the Second Continental Congress in 1777, adopting the Stars and Stripes as the national flag.

Fly your flag today. This is one of the score of dates upon which Congress suggests we fly our U.S. flags.

The first presidential declaration of Flag Day was 1916, by President Woodrow Wilson. Wilson won re-election the following November with his pledge to keep America out of World War I, but by April of 1917 he would ask for a declaration of war after Germany resumed torpedoing of U.S. ships. The photo shows an America dedicated to peace but closer to war than anyone imagined. Because the suffragettes supported Wilson so strongly, he returned the favor, supporting an amendment to the Constitution to grant women a Constitutional right to vote. The amendment passed Congress with Wilson’s support and was ratified by the states.

The flags of 1916 should have carried 48 stars. New Mexico and Arizona were the 47th and 48th states, Arizona joining the union in 1913. No new states would be added until Alaska and Hawaii in 1959. That 46-year period marked the longest time the U.S. had gone without adding states, until today. No new states have been added since Hawaii, more than 57 years ago. (U.S. history students: Have ever heard of an essay, “Manifest destiny fulfilled?”)

150 employees of the National Geographic Society marched in that parade in 1916, and as the proud CEO of any organization, Society founder Gilbert H. Grosvenor wanted a photo of his organization’s contribution to the parade. Notice that Grosvenor himself is the photographer.

I wonder if Woodrow Wilson took any photos that day, and where they might be hidden.

History of Flag Day from a larger perspective, from the Library of Congress:

Since 1916, when President Woodrow Wilson issued a presidential proclamation establishing a national Flag Day on June 14, Americans have commemorated the adoption of the Stars and Stripes by celebrating June 14 as Flag Day. Prior to 1916, many localities and a few states had been celebrating the day for years. Congressional legislation designating that date as the national Flag Day was signed into law by President Harry Truman in 1949; the legislation also called upon the president to issue a flag day proclamation every year.

According to legend, in 1776, George Washington commissioned Philadelphia seamstress Betsy Ross to create a flag for the new nation. Scholars debate this legend, but agree that Mrs. Ross most likely knew Washington and sewed flags. To date, there have been twenty-seven official versions of the flag, but the arrangement of the stars varied according to the flag-makers’ preferences until 1912 when President Taft standardized the then-new flag’s forty-eight stars into six rows of eight. The forty-nine-star flag (1959-60), as well as the fifty-star flag, also have standardized star patterns. The current version of the flag dates to July 4, 1960, after Hawaii became the fiftieth state on August 21, 1959.

Fly your flag with pride today.

Elmhurst Flag Day 1939, DuPage County Centennial - Posters From the WPA

Elmhurst flag day, June 18, 1939, Du Page County centennial / Beauparlant.
Chicago, Ill.: WPA Federal Art Project, 1939.
By the People, For the People: Posters from the WPA, 1936-1943

This is an encore post, from June 14, 2009, and other previous Flag Days.

More, and Other Voices:

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