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)



* 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.


M.A.S.H. quote of the moment: War is worse than hell

May 22, 2017

"Why do you say that, Hawkeye?" Screen capture from video snippet of M.A.S.H.

“How do you figure that, Hawkeye?” Father Mulcahy, screen capture from video snippet of M.A.S.H.

Our correspondents Jameses, Stanley and Kessler, alerted me months ago to this exchange in the old television show, “M.A.S.H.” In a discussion of the First Battle of Bull Run, we discussed war as hell.

War is worse than hell, they said. Still true.

They pointed to a scene from “M.A.S.H.”

Dialogue borrowed from IMDB:

Hawkeye: War isn’t Hell. War is war, and Hell is Hell. And of the two, war is a lot worse.

Father Mulcahy: How do you figure that, Hawkeye?

Hawkeye: Easy, Father. Tell me, who goes to Hell?

Father Mulcahy: Sinners, I believe.

Hawkeye: Exactly. There are no innocent bystanders in Hell. War is chock full of them — little kids, cripples, old ladies. In fact, except for some of the brass, almost everybody involved is an innocent bystander.

Deep thinking, maybe wisdom, from a mobile operating room filtered through sit-com writers.

M.A.S.H., copyright 20th Century Fox





National Korean War Veterans Armistice Day, 2015 – fly your flag if you want to

July 27, 2015

Commemoration in 2013: President Barack Obama delivers remarks to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the signing of the Armistice that ended the Korean War, at the Korean War Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., Saturday, July 27, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)

Commemoration in 2013: President Barack Obama delivers remarks to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the signing of the Armistice that ended the Korean War, at the Korean War Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., Saturday, July 27, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)

President Obama issued a proclamation for National Korean War Veterans Armistice Day in 2015, though the law Congress passed specified it should run only until 2003. There was no proclamation to urge flag flying, however.

Presidential Proclamation — National Korean War Veterans Armistice Day, 2015


– – – – – – –


Throughout history, the United States has stood as a powerful force for freedom and democracy around the world.  In the face of tyranny and oppression, generations of patriots have fought to secure peace and prosperity far from home.  And in 1950, as Communist armies crossed the 38th parallel just 5 years after the end of World War II, courageous Americans deployed overseas once again to stand with a people they had never met in defense of a cause in which they both believed.  On National Korean War Veterans Armistice Day, we honor all those who sacrificed for freedom’s cause throughout 3 long years of war, and we reaffirm our commitment to the security of the Republic of Korea and the values that unite our nations.

Often outnumbered and outgunned, nearly 1.8 million Americans fought through searing heat and piercing cold to roll back the tide of Communism.  The members of our Armed Forces endured some of the most brutal combat in modern history; many experienced unimaginable torment in POW camps, and nearly 37,000 gave their last full measure of devotion.  Their sacrifice pushed invading armies back across the line they had dared to cross and secured a hard-earned victory.

The Korean War reminds us that when we send our troops into battle, they deserve the support and gratitude of the American people — especially once they come home.  We must make it our mission to serve all our veterans as well as they have served us, always giving them the respect, care, and opportunities they have earned.  And we will never stop working to fulfill our obligations to our fallen heroes and their families.  To this day, more than 7,800 Americans are still missing from the Korean War, and the United States will not rest until we give these families a full accounting of their loved ones.

Today, the Republic of Korea enjoys a thriving democracy and a bustling economy, and the legacy of our Korean War veterans continues on in the 50 million South Koreans who live with liberty and opportunity.  The United States is proud to stand with our partner in Asian security and stability, and our commitment to our friend and ally will never waver — a promise embodied by our servicemen and women who fought from the Chosin Reservoir to Heartbreak Ridge and Pork Chop Hill, and by every American since who has stood sentinel on freedom’s frontier.

No war should ever be forgotten, and no veteran should ever be overlooked.  Today, on the anniversary of the Military Armistice Agreement that ended the Korean War, let us remember how liberty held its ground in the face of tyranny and how free peoples refused to yield.  And most of all, let us give thanks to all those whose service and sacrifice helped to secure the blessings of freedom.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, 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, 2015, as National Korean War Veterans Armistice Day.  I call upon all Americans to observe this day with appropriate ceremonies and activities that honor our distinguished Korean War veterans.

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


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.

Why so few streets named after Vietnam veterans?

June 11, 2011

Junior Cruz of Salt Lake City was 15 when his Eagle Scout Project honored a fallen soldier from our war in Iraq, Adam Galvez.  You can read a stirring story from The Deseret News at Adam Galvez.com.

Junior Cruz, with Cpl. Adam Galvez's parents Tony and Amy Galvez, at Adam Galvez Street in Salt Lake City

Boy Scout Junior Cruz, with Cpl. Adam Galvez's parents Tony and Amy Galvez, at Adam Galvez Street in Salt Lake City

Marines honor fallen comrade Cpl. Adam Galvez, Salt Lake City, 2007

Marines honor their fallen comrade Cpl. Adam Galvez, at the ceremony naming a street after Galvez.7

Once upon a time I might have wondered about the utility of such a project, not because naming a street after a veterans isn’t a great idea, but because the actions required for naming streets might not measure up to the usual expectations for great service in an Eagle project.  This project and the stories about it quickly dispel such worries — for example, notice that the city required Cruz to raise the $2,000 required to change the street signs, such fundraising itself a major accomplishment.  Our son James’s project at the DFW National Cemetery required similar fundraising, and got at least as much in in-kind contributions — but it was major work.

Marines at the naming of Adam Galvez Street, 2007

Marines salute at the ceremony for the naming of Adam Galvez Street, 2007

Reading the news story, I thought back to a question that has plagued me for years:  Why didn’t we have the good sense to welcome back Vietnam vets with parades, and other welcome home activities?  That was one great lesson of Vietnam I think we, as a nation, learned well.  Today national news programs, like the PBS Newshour, honor each fallen soldier in our nation’s wars.  Here in Dallas, and at other cities I suspect, there is a formal volunteer program to make sure soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan deployments get a flag-waving cheer when they get off the airplane.  Churches, schools, Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts volunteer to go wave the flags and cheer the soldiers.  The volunteers may get more out of it than the soldiers, but the message is clear all the way around:  These soldier men and women served their nation, and they deserve thanks and a cheer.

Ceremony naming Adam Galvez Street, February 2007

Ceremony naming Adam Galvez Street, February 2007

Is it too late to do that for Vietnam veterans?  A chief complaint over the years, especially from the war-hungry right wing, is that the Vietnam peace movement dishonored those veterans, chiefly by not honoring them more when they came home.

My brother, Wes, served four tours in Southeast Asia in that war, returning each time to no great celebration other than his family’s great gratitude at his return.  He’s too great a patriot to complain — as are most of the other Vietnam vets.  Our periodic patriotic celebrations now do better:  Vietnam vets get honored at July 4 and Veterans’ Day celebrations, and the fallen get special honors on Memorial Day, in most towns in America.

Junior Cruz hit on a great idea, though:  Name a street in honor of the fallen.

Why not do that for more Vietnam vets?  My hometown of Pleasant Grove, Utah, had a population of fewer than 10,000 people during the Vietnam conflict, but well I remember in my high school years when the list of fallen passed 11, including a recently-graduated studentbody president and basketball star and the brother of a woman in my French class.   Neither of them has a memorial other than their gravestone, that I’m aware.

Adam Galvez Street, Salt Lake City, Utah

Adam Galvez Street, Salt Lake City, Utah

Street names can tell us a lot about a town or city.  In the great booming times of 1950s through 1990s, a lot of streets in America were named after developers’ kids, wives and ex-wives.  More recently developers have taken to cutesy names on a theme designed to sell homes:  “Whispering Waters Way,” “Mountain View,” etc.   Those cities where history gets some note in street names do well, I think.  Ogden, Utah, named a bunch of streets after presidents, in order of their service, from Washington through the second Harrison (and as a consequence, a lot of people who grew up in Ogden can name the presidents in order from Washington through almost to Teddy Roosevelt).  New York has not suffered from renaming a stretch of road The Avenue of the Americas, Washington, D.C. has done well with both Independence Avenue and Constitution Avenue.

Why not rename some streets in American after Vietnam veterans?  While we’re at it, how about Korean War veterans?  We can’t recapture the time and do what we should have done about 58 years ago for Korea or about 45 years ago for Vietnam.  We can do noble things from now, forward.  Why not create memorials that remind us of the great service these people did for their nation, and name and rename streets in their honor?


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 MedalofHonorNews.com, 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

Veterans Day Video — History.com

November 11, 2010

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama took on the cause of veterans as a special cause of this administration.  In this public service announcement from the History Channel, Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, urge honor to 24.9 million veterans.

November 11 is Veterans Day, a U.S. federal holiday dedicated to honoring veterans who served honorably in war or peacetime.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Veterans Day Video — History.com, posted with vodpod


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