April 2018: When do we fly our flags?

April 3, 2018

Schooner on Chesapeake Bay flies the 15-stripe/15-star flag that flew over Fort McHenry. Image from the Maryland Secretary of State's Office

Schooner on Chesapeake Bay flies the 15-stripe/15-star flag that flew over Fort McHenry. Image from the Maryland Secretary of State’s Office

Is April the cruelest month?

It’s cruel to people who want to fly U.S. flags often, but only on designated flag-flying dates. (April is also National Poetry Month, so it’s a good time to look up poetry references we should have committed to heart).

For 2018, these are the three dates for flying the U.S. flag; Easter is a national date, the other two are dates suggested for residents of the states involved.

One date, nationally, to fly the flag. That beats March, which has none (in a year with Easter in April and not March). But March has five statehood days, to April’s two.

Take heart! You may fly your U.S. flag any day you choose, or everyday as many people do in Texas (though, too many do not retire their flags every evening . . .).

Three dates to fly Old Glory in April, by the Flag Code and other laws on memorials and commemorations.

  • Easter, April 1
  • Maryland, April 28, 1788, 7th state
  • Louisiana, April 30, 1812, 18th state
April usually sees the opening of Major League Baseball's season -- some teams jumped into March in 2018. In this photo, U.S. Navy sailors assigned to the USS Bonhomme Richard practice for the San Diego Padres' opening day flag ceremony in San Diego on April 5, 2011. The ship sent nearly 300 volunteers to unfurl an 800-pound U.S. flag that covered the entire field. The Bonhomme Richard is in dry-dock for maintenance and upgrades. Defense Department photo via Wikimedia.

April usually sees the opening of Major League Baseball’s season — some teams jumped into March in 2018. In this photo, U.S. Navy sailors assigned to the USS Bonhomme Richard practice for the San Diego Padres’ opening day flag ceremony in San Diego on April 5, 2011. The ship sent nearly 300 volunteers to unfurl an 800-pound U.S. flag that covered the entire field. The Bonhomme Richard was in dry-dock for maintenance and upgrades. Defense Department photo via Wikimedia.

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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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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.


Happy birthday, Abe and Charles!

February 12, 2018

From Smithsonian Magazine's 2009 article,

From Smithsonian Magazine’s 2009 article, “How Lincoln and Darwin Shaped the World.” Illustration by Joe Ciardiello.

On this day in 1809, just a few hours apart, Charles Darwin and Abraham Lincoln were born.

What are the odds of historic coincidences like that?

Lincoln’s birthday is still listed in law as a date to fly the U.S. flag, though we’ve changed the celebration to the following week and the generic President’s Day, closer to George Washington’s real birthday, February 22. President’s Day is celebrated on the third Monday in February.

So, you may certainly fly your flag today. (You may fly your flag any day, but you get the idea.)

News will feature more celebrations of Darwin than Lincoln, today, I predict — Darwin Day is a worldwide celebration by science nerds.

Both Lincoln and Darwin worked to end slavery. Darwin probably had more of an idea that racial discrimination had no science basis. Lincoln had more political sway. After Lincoln and Darwin, science and human rights advanced greatly, because of their work.

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February 2018, dates to fly the U.S. flag

February 7, 2018

Todd Lodwick carries the flag of the United States of America, which flies directly over the head of former U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program bobsledder Steven Holcomb, reigning Olympic champion four-man bobsled driver, as Team USA marches into Fisht Olympic Stadium during the Opening Ceremony of the 2014 Olympic Winter Games, Feb. 7, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. Army WCAP luger Sgt. Preston Griffall (right behind lady in white) and WCAP bobsledders Sgt. Justin Olsen, Capt. Chris Fogt and Sgt. Dallas Robinson also are among the lead group of Americans (Photo Credit: Tim Hipps, IMCOM Public Affairs)

Lots of flag waving in February of Winter Olympics years, like 2018. Caption from the U.S. Army: Todd Lodwick carries the flag of the United States of America, which flies directly over the head of former U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program bobsledder Steven Holcomb, reigning Olympic champion four-man bobsled driver, as Team USA marches into Fisht Olympic Stadium during the Opening Ceremony of the 2014 Olympic Winter Games, Feb. 7, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. Army WCAP luger Sgt. Preston Griffall (right behind lady in white) and WCAP bobsledders Sgt. Justin Olsen, Capt. Chris Fogt and Sgt. Dallas Robinson also are among the lead group of Americans (Photo Credit: Tim Hipps, IMCOM Public Affairs)

You want to mark your calendar so you remember to put your U.S. flag up on those dates designated by law and tradition, right?

Which dates in February?

  • Massachusetts statehood, February 6 (6th state, 1788)
  • Lincoln’s birthday, February 12 (yes, it’s still designated in law as a date to fly the flag)
  • Oregon statehood, February 14 (33rd state, 1859)
  • Arizona statehood, February 14 (48th state, 1913)
  • Washington’s birthday, now designated President’s Day, the third Monday in February, February 19 in 2018

You may fly your flag on state holidays, too — which of those dates do we see in February?  Is there a good list?

Though we don’t mark it usually, February 14 is the anniversary of the first recognition of the Stars and Stripes by a foreign government, in 1778.  The French fleet recognized the ensign carried by Capt. John Paul Jones, at Quiberon Bay — painting of the event is at the top of this post.

February 23 is the anniversary of the raising of the U.S. flag on Iwo Jima, in 1945 — 72 years ago.  We should probably watch for proclamations to fly the flag on that date, an anniversary made more important simply because so few survivors of from among the veterans of that war and that fight can be expected to live to see the 80th anniversary. Regardless any official, formal proclamation to fly the flag for the Iwo Jima events, you may always fly your flag.

Please visit earlier posts at Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub, on the death of Joe Rosenthal, the photographer who took the widely-released iconic photo; on the death of Charles Lindberg, pictured in the first flag-raising on Mt. Suribachi; on the death of Raymond Jacobs, the last-surviving veteran from the flag raisings; and on my visit to the Sunset Parade at the Iwo Jima-themed U.S. Marine Memorial overlooking Washington, D.C.

A Youtube poster edited a part of the Army’s documentary, “To the Shores of Iwo Jima,” showing the flag raising on film, and added in some other images for a less-than-three-minute look. (Alas, that edited version is gone — here’s the full 20-minute movie; propaganda at its best, for noble purposes.)

Winter Olympics kick off in South Korea in early February — there will be much U.S. flag waving, especially if the U.S. athletes perform as well as many expect and win medals. Olympics events, both summer and winter, often provide large public forums for improper flag display, too — but we ignore that, since no disrespect is intended, usually.

Wave your flag!

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Photo #: 80-G-K-21225 (color)

Caption from the U.S. Navy, via Wikipedia: Photo #: 80-G-K-21225 (color) “First Recognition of the American Flag by a Foreign Government,” 14 February 1778. Painting in oils by Edward Moran, 1898. It depicts the Continental Navy Ship Ranger, commanded by Captain John Paul Jones, receiving the salute of the French fleet at Quiberon Bay, France, 14 February 1778. Earlier in the month, after receipt of news of the victory at Saratoga, France recognized the independence of the American colonies and signed a treaty of alliance with them. The original painting is in the U.S. Naval Academy Museum, Annapolis, Maryland. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives. [A larger version is available for download at Wikipedia.]

This is an encore post.

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

 


Fly your flag today for the 2018 holiday honoring Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

January 15, 2018

As on every federal holiday, citizens and residents of the U.S. should fly their U.S. flags today, on the holiday marking the birth of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Rev. King, and the U.S. flag

Rev. King, and the U.S. flag. (No information on place or time of photo; please feel free to lend light and facts.)

Fly the U.S. flag today for the holiday for the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.  The holiday is celebrated on the third Monday in January.

King’s actual birthday is January 15. In 2018, the legal holiday and King’s actual birthday are the same day. It’s becoming common for Americans to fly their flags all weekend for a holiday on Friday or Monday.

Many Americans will celebrate with a day of service. Perhaps you will, too.

In 2017, days before the inauguration of a new president, remembering and honoring the life and struggles of Martin Luther King, Jr., and serving others in real and symbolic ways, is more important than ever.

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The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in Washington, D.C. Credit: architecture.about.com, via Saporta Report

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in Washington, D.C. Credit: architecture.about.com, via Saporta Report

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January 4 is Utah Statehood Day – Utahns fly their U.S. flags

January 4, 2018

I don’t think I ever knew anyone in Utah who had a Utah state flag.

But on Utah Statehood Day, the Flag Code says to fly the U.S. flag, so it’s okay.

Giant U.S. flag flies over Grovecreek Canyon, near Pleasant Grove, Utah (July 4, 2016). KSL News photo by Devan Dewey

Giant U.S. flag flies over Grovecreek Canyon, near Pleasant Grove, Utah (July 4, 2016). KSL News photo by Devan Dewey

Utah’s statehood came on January 4, 1896, after 49 years of attempts to join the union.

Utah is also one of those states that actually celebrates statehood day. The government calendar starts on January 4, the day new officials are sworn into office.

I chose the photo above partly because it demonstrates Utahns unusual love for the U.S. flag, and partly because it’s from my Utah hometown of Pleasant Grove. Not sure why they chose Grovecreek Canyon for this display — I think it would have been more spectacular a few miles south, at the mouth of Battlecreek Canyon, with a better view of Mt. Timpanogos in the background.

Happy 122nd birthday, Utah.

Utah Highways magazine caption for the video:

Utah Valley is very patriotic – sort of like Texas except that Texas doesn’t have mountains large enough to fly the largest flag ever flown in the U.S.! (According to http://followtheflag.org/) This flag is over 1/4 acre in size – that’s bigger than the lot my house sits on. See this flag for yourself until July 10 in the mouth of Grove Creek Canyon (http://utahhighways.com/utah-hiking/g…) above Pleasant Grove, Utah.


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