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

 

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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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October 2017 dates to fly Old Glory

October 1, 2017

The American flag blows in the wind as the moon rises over Joint Base Charleston – Air Base, S.C. Joint Base Charleston Public Affairs Office Photo by Senior Airman Dennis Sloan, October 2, 2012, Read more: dvidshub.net/r/zsbl6g

The American flag blows in the wind as the moon rises over Joint Base Charleston – Air Base, S.C. Joint Base Charleston Public Affairs Office Photo by Senior Airman Dennis Sloan, October 2, 2012, Read more: dvidshub.net/r/zsbl6g, and https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Flickr_-_DVIDSHUB_-_American_flag_lit_by_a_full_moon_(Image_2_of_5)_Read_more,_http-www.dvidshub.net-image-675376-american-flag-lit-full-moon.UGyISa5jcdU%5Eixzz28GOdWQR5.jpg

October is not a big month for dates to fly the U.S. flag.  Only one state joined the union in October, and only two other dates received Congress’s designation for flag-flying.

Here are October’s three flag-flying days, in chronological order:

  • Columbus Day, October 8 —  tradition puts Columbus Day on October 12, but in law it is designated as the second Monday in October (to make a three-day weekend for workers who get a holiday); in 2017, October 8 is the second Monday of the month.
  • Navy Day, October 27
  • Nevada Statehood Day, October 31; Nevada joined the union during the Civil War, in 1864, the 36th state.

Federal law also designates October 9 as Leif Erickson Day, a concession to Scandanavian-descended Americans who argue Erickson beat Columbus to the Americas by a few hundred years. Congress’s recognition does not include an urging to fly the flag, though the President may issue such a proclamation.

The photograph by Senior Airman Dennis Sloan, above, may suggest a suitably spooky theme for flying Old Glory on Halloween. While you are free to fly your flag on any day, Halloween, a religious or holy day for Christians, Celts and perhaps a few others, is not designated by Congress as a day to fly the flag. If you fly it at night, it must be lighted, as is the flag in the photograph.

Other notable stuff:

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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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September 2017: When to fly the the U.S. flag

September 3, 2017

Flag patched up with pieces from many flags, including the flag from Ft. McHenry; displayed at the National 9-11 Memorial Museum in New York City. Photo by Ed Darrel, use with attribution encouraged.

A new flag for September: Flag patched up with pieces from many flags, including the flag from Ft. McHenry; displayed at the National 9-11 Memorial Museum in New York City. Photo by Ed Darrell, please use with attribution.

September features few dates to fly the U.S. flag in an average year. Labor Day is the only national holiday. Only California joined the union in a past September, so that’s the only statehood date. Gold Star Mothers Day had fallen out of regular honors, until our two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

School reform efforts after 2000 turned to adding patriotism to the curriculum. Most states now require something be said about the Constitution in social studies classes, and that has increased focus on Constitution Day on September 17.

Attacks on the U.S. on September 11, 2001, led to a new day honoring patriots, on that day of the month every year.

The dates are few, but the sobriety and somberness are great.

Here are the dates to fly the U.S. flag in September 2017. In order:

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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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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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