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.

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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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2017 North Dakota and South Dakota statehood days – fly your flags

November 2, 2017

North Dakota's commemorative quarter depicts the American bison, perhaps the quintessential prairie symbol.

North Dakota’s commemorative quarter depicts the American bison, perhaps the quintessential prairie symbol.

South Dakota's commemorative quarter interestingly focuses on human alterations to the area -- the carved presidential busts on Mt. Rushmore, wheat introduced by immigrant farmers, and the Chinese pheasant, an exotic species introduced for hunting.

South Dakota’s commemorative quarter interestingly focuses on human alterations to the area — the carved presidential busts on Mt. Rushmore, wheat introduced by immigrant farmers, and the Chinese pheasant, an exotic species introduced for hunting.

Residents of North Dakota and South Dakota should fly their U.S. flags today in honor of their states’ being admitted to the union, on November 2, 1889.

Most sites note simply that both states were admitted on the same day; some sites, especially those that lean toward North Dakota, claim that state is Number 39, because President Harrison signed their papers first, after shuffling to avoid playing favorites.

Does anyone really care?

How much do you really know about the Dakotas?

Dakotans, fly your flags today in honor of statehood.

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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. And, confess: Do you remember this post from last year?

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November 2017 flag-flying dates

October 28, 2017

A giant American flag is unfurled at Wrigley Field before World Series Game 3, October 28, 2016 (Cubs won the Series, remember?) Will 2017's World Series push into November for the first time? Wikimedia Commons image

A giant American flag is unfurled at Wrigley Field before World Series Game 3, October 28, 2016 (Cubs won the Series, remember?) Will 2017’s World Series push into November for the first time? Wikimedia Commons image

Nine events spread over seven different days come with urgings to fly the U.S. flag in November: Six states celebrate statehood, Veterans Day falls as always on November 11, and Thanksgiving Day on November 23.

Did I say eight? 2017 is an election year in many states, like Texas; we fly flags at polling places on election day, so that makes nine events. You may fly your flag at home on election day, too.

Two states, North Dakota and South Dakota, celebrate their statehood on the same date. Washington’s statehood day falls on Veterans Day, November 11 — so there are only seven days covering eight events.

In calendar order for 2017, these are the seven days:

  • North Dakota statehood day, November 2 (1889, 39th or 40th state)
  • South Dakota statehood day, November 2 (1889, 39th or 40th state) (shared with North Dakota)
  • Election day, November 7 (several states)
  • Montana statehood day, November 8 (1889, 41st state)
  • Veterans Day, November 11
  • Washington statehood day, November 11 (1889, 42nd state) (shared with Veterans Day)
  • Oklahoma statehood day, November 16 (1907, 46th state)
  • North Carolina statehood day, November 21 (1789, 12th state)
  • Thanksgiving Day, fourth Thursday in November (November 24 in 2016)

Most Americans will concern themselves only with Veterans Day and Thanksgiving Day. Is flying the U.S. flag for statehood day a dying tradition?

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This is an encore post.

Yes, this is an encore post. Fighting ignorance takes longer than we hoped.


9/11/2017 – Fly your flag today, honor the victims and heroes

September 11, 2017

Rose honoring a victim at the 9/11 Memorial, Manhattan, New York City. (Photo by Ed Darrell)

Rose honoring a victim at the 9/11 Memorial, Manhattan, New York City. (Photo by Ed Darrell)

Fly your U.S. flag today to honor the victims and heroes of the September 11, 2001, attacks on the U.S. The day is designated in U.S. law as National Patriot Day (36 USC § 144).

U.S. flag flies in front of construction restoring the sites of the World Trade Center in New York City (bus station opened a few weeks later).

U.S. flag flies in front of construction restoring the sites of the World Trade Center in New York City (bus station opened a few weeks later).

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Labor Day 2017: Fly the flag to honor American labor

September 4, 2017

Small U.S. flag flies at the grave of John Morris, the first worker killed in the battle outside of the Homestead Works Steel Mill in 1892. Photo by Alex Popichak / 90.5 WESA

Small U.S. flag flies at the grave of John Morris, the first worker killed in the battle outside of the Homestead Works Steel Mill in 1892. Photo by Alex Popichak / 90.5 WESA

Fly your U.S. flags today in honor of Labor Day, to honor American labor.

In Lawrence, Massachusetts, in 1912, flag-waving union organizers are confronted by armed state troops trying to quell union protests. Library of Congress photo.

In Lawrence, Massachusetts, in 1912, flag-waving union organizers and textile workers confronted by armed state troops trying to quell union protests. Library of Congress photo.

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