October 8, 2018: Fly your flags for Columbus Day, or Indigenous Americans Day

October 8, 2018

It’s another controversy over flying flags, but the flag itself isn’t involved.

U.S. Flag Code specifies that we fly the flag for Columbus Day, but on the rather-new legal day, the second Monday in October. For about a hundred years before that, tradition and law put it on October 12.

So my flag is flying. Many others fly, too. I hope you remembered to post yours.

Parade in Westerly, Rhode Island/Pawcatuck, Connecticut, for Columbus Day 2018.

Parade in Westerly, Rhode Island/Pawcatuck, Connecticut, for Columbus Day 2018. “Several youngsters enjoy the tractors entered in the 71st annual Westerly-Pawcatuck Columbus Day Parade on Sunday. Jackie Turner, Special to The Sun.” Westerly Sun photo.

Columbus Day history tells us the celebration is intended, in part, to offset ugly bias against Italian immigrants in America. Good for that.

But we remember and acknowledge a lot more about history than a century ago. Today, in many quarters Columbus is viewed as a villainous conqueror, an explorer who brought slavery and misery to indigenous Americans.

And there are protests against Columbus in some places. In other places, officials celebrate Indigenous Americans Day, instead of Columbus Day. South Dakota, Columbus, Ohio, and Berkeley and Los Angeles California celebrate indigenous Americans.

There is no doubt that Columbus’s explorations set off several centuries of intense culture clash, resource exploitation and genocide. Probably no one could have foreseen the results. It is also true that in the Americas today modern cultures contribute and lead the world in many fields.

Maybe we should rename it “Celebrate History (and be very sure you know what the history is!) Day.”

Fly your flag, welcome the opportunity to discuss history.

Do you agree?

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  • Navy Day is October 27, the next date listed in the Flag Code to fly the flag.
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Gold Star Mothers Day 2018 – Fly your flags, Sunday, September 30

September 30, 2018

Gold Star Families Memorial in Bronte, Texas, with flag framed in the cutout of a soldier. Photo from KSAN TV

Gold Star Families Memorial in Bronte, Texas, with flag framed in the cutout of a soldier. Photo from KSAN TV and the Concho Valley homepage.

In wars in the 20th century, mothers with children serving in the military put a red-trimmed, white flag with a blue star in the middle, in their windows to show their child was off at war. Blue Star Mothers.

If that child died, the blue star was replaced with a gold star. Blue Star Mothers became Gold Star Mothers.

On the last Sunday of September we fly our U.S. flags in honor of those mothers of fallen soldiers, and the soldiers’ families, for Gold Star Mothers Day. In 2018, that is September 30.

So, everyone should fly a U.S. flag on Sunday, if you can.

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Also see at Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub:


July 21, 2018: Hawaii statehood, fly your flag!

August 20, 2018

It’s been 59 years since the youngest state entered the union — the longest stretch in which the U.S. has not added another state.

“On June 14, 1959, Boy Scout Milton Motooka helped get the word out for Hawaii’s statehood plebiscite to be held 13 days later. A new documentary will focus on Hawaii’s statehood.” Hawaiians voted yes in the plebiscite, and statehood was declared two months later. (Whatever became of Scout Motooka? See comments on last year’s post.)

“On June 14, 1959, Boy Scout Milton Motooka helped get the word out for Hawaii’s statehood plebiscite to be held 13 days later. A new documentary will focus on Hawaii’s statehood.” Hawaiians voted yes in the plebiscite, and statehood was declared two months later. (Whatever became of Scout Motooka? See comments on last year’s post.)

June’s plebiscite smoothed the path for statehood, declared two months later.

13-year-old paperboy Chester Kahapea happily hawks a commemorative edition of the Honolulu Star-Bulletin with the headline showing the state had achieved statehood after the U.S. House of Representatives passed the law authorizing Hawaii as a state. Star-Bulletin photo by Murray Befeler

13-year-old paperboy Chester Kahapea happily hawks a commemorative edition of the Honolulu Star-Bulletin with the headline showing the state had achieved statehood after the U.S. House of Representatives passed the law authorizing Hawaii as a state. Star-Bulletin photo by Murray Befeler

Hawaii’s official statehood day is August 21, commemorating the day in 1959 when Hawaii was recognized as a member of the union of the United States of America.  Hawaiians should fly their flags to day in honor of the date (you may, too).

Hawaii formally celebrates the day on the third Friday in August, this year on the 19th.  I hope you joined in the festivities (it’s a holiday in Hawaii) — but under the U.S. Flag Code, you may certainly fly your flags on August 21, regardless which day of the week that is.

Specimen copy of the ballot used by Hawaiians in a June 27, 1959, plebiscite to approve conditions of statehood. Image from Hawaii Magazine, 2009

Specimen copy of the ballot used by Hawaiians in a June 27, 1959, plebiscite to approve conditions of statehood. Image from Hawaii Magazine, 2009

After the U.S. annexed Hawaii in 1898 (in action separate from the Spanish-American War) attempts at getting Hawaii admitted as a state got rolling.  After World War II, with the strategic importance of the islands firmly implanted in Americans’ minds, the project picked up some steam.  Still, it was 14 years after the end of the war that agreements were worked out between the people of Hawaii, the Hawaiian royal family, Congress and the executive branch.  The deal passed into law had to be ratified by a plebiscite among Hawaiian citizens.  The proposition won approval with 94% of votes in favor.

Some native Hawaiian opposition to statehood arose later, and deference to those complaints has muted statehood celebrations in the 21st century.

Other than the tiny handful of loudmouth birthers, most Americans today are happy to have Hawaii as a state, the fifth richest in the U.S. by personal income.  The nation has a lot of good and great beaches, but the idea of catching sun and surf in Hawaii on vacation might be considered an idealized part of the American dream.

“Loudmouth birthers?” Yeah, Barack Obama, our 45th President, was born in Hawaii in 1961. Some whiners think that, but for statehood, Obama would not have been a citizen eligible to be president. Hawaii is not good ground for growing sour grapes, though. Birth in a territory would probably be enough to make him eligible. Water under the bridge: Hawaii was a state in 1961. President Obama remains president.

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This is an encore post.


National Aviation Day 2018! Fly those flags and fly those airplanes!

August 19, 2018

NASA’s poster for National Aviation Day 2016. A young girl looks up at some of the experimental ideas for future aviation. NASA said: “It’s an exciting time for aviation, with potential NASA X-planes on the horizon and a lot of new technologies that are making airplanes much more Earth friendly. Use National Aviation Day to excite and inspire the young people you know about exploring aeronautics as a future career. Credits: NASA / Maria C. Werries”

NASA’s poster for National Aviation Day 2016. A young girl looks up at some of the experimental ideas for future aviation. NASA said: “It’s an exciting time for aviation, with potential NASA X-planes on the horizon and a lot of new technologies that are making airplanes much more Earth friendly. Use National Aviation Day to excite and inspire the young people you know about exploring aeronautics as a future career. Credits: NASA / Maria C. Werries”

August 19 is National Aviation Day. In federal law, the day is designated for flying the flag (36 USC 1 § 118).

August 19 is the anniversary of the birth of Orville Wright, usually credited with being on the team with his brother Wilbur who successfully built and flew the first heavier-than-air flying machine.

Celebrate? The White House issued no proclamation for 2018. but you may fly your flag anyway.


July 2018: When do we fly the flag?

July 19, 2018

Caption from NASA: The American flag heralded the launch of Apollo 11, the first Lunar landing mission, on July 16, 1969. The massive Saturn V rocket lifted off from NASA's Kennedy Space Center with astronauts Neil A. Armstrong, Michael Collins, and Edwin

Caption from NASA: The American flag heralded the launch of Apollo 11, the first Lunar landing mission, on July 16, 1969. The massive Saturn V rocket lifted off from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center with astronauts Neil A. Armstrong, Michael Collins, and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin at 9:32 a.m. EDT. Four days later, on July 20, Armstrong and Aldrin landed on the Moon’s surface while Collins orbited overhead in the Command Module. Armstrong and Aldrin gathered samples of lunar material and deployed scientific experiments that transmitted data about the lunar environment. Image Credit: NASA

[Yes, we’re running late with this post for July. Apologies. You can always check the list of all dates, or last year’s post.]

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 most July 4 parades, it appears no one salutes the U.S. flag as it passes, as the Flag Code recommends. MFB’s been fighting flag etiquette ignorance since 2006. It’s taking much, much longer than we wished.

The U.S. flag on Mars - No manned missions to Mars occurred, yet, so there is no flag planted on Mars. But the Mars Rover, Curiosity, has a U.S. flag medallion affixed to a rocker arm.  From NASA: This view of the American flag medallion on NASA's Mars rover Curiosity was taken by the rover's Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) during the 44th Martian day, or sol, of Curiosity's work on Mars (Sept. 19, 2012). The flag is one of four

The U.S. flag on Mars – No manned missions to Mars occurred, yet, so there is no flag planted on Mars. But the Mars Rover, Curiosity, has a U.S. flag medallion affixed to a rocker arm. From NASA: This view of the American flag medallion on NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity was taken by the rover’s Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) during the 44th Martian day, or sol, of Curiosity’s work on Mars (Sept. 19, 2012). The flag is one of four “mobility logos” placed on the rover’s mobility rocker arms.

This is an encore post.

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

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Flag Day 2017! (Fly your flag all week)

June 14, 2018

Of course you know to fly your flag on June 14 for Flag Day — but did you know that the week containing Flag Day is Flag Week, and we are encouraged to fly the flag every day?

Clifford Berryman's 1901 Flag Day cartoon, found at the National Archives:

Clifford Berryman’s 1901 Flag Day cartoon, found at the National Archives: “In this June 14, 1904, cartoon, Uncle Sam gives a lesson to schoolchildren on the meaning of Flag Day. Holding the American flag in one hand, Uncle Sam explains that the flag has great importance, unlike the Vice Presidency, which he ridicules in a kindly manner. (National Archives Identifier 6010464)”

Our National Archives has a blogged history of Flag Day pointing out it was a teacher who started Flag Day celebrations.

On June 14, 1885, Bernard J. Cigrand placed a 10-inch, 38-star flag in a bottle on his desk at the Stony Hill School in Ozaukee County, Wisconsin. The 19-year-old teacher then asked his students to write essays on the flag and its significance to them. This small observance marked the beginning of a long and devoted campaign by Cigrand to bring about national recognition for Flag Day.

And so we do, today, still.

This is an encore post.

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


June 2018: On what dates should we fly the flag?

June 11, 2018

“Flag Day, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.” 1942 photo by John Vachon (1914-1975) for the U.S. Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information. Image from the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA)

June holds only two days designated for flying the U.S. flag out of the specific days mentioned in the U.S. Flag Code, and six statehood days, when residents of those states should fly their flags.  Plus, there is National Flag Week.

Two Flag Code-designated days:

  • Flag Day, June 14
  • Fathers Day, third Sunday in June (June 17 in 2018)

Several states celebrate statehood. New Hampshire, Virginia, Arkansas, Kentucky, Tennessee and West Virginia celebrate statehood; Kentucky and Tennessee share the same date.

  • Kentucky, June 1 (1792, 15th state)
  • Tennessee, June 1 (1796, 16th state)
  • Arkansas, June 15 (1836, 25th state)
  • West Virginia, June 20 (1863, 35th state)
  • New Hampshire, June 21 (1788, 9th state), and
  • Virginia, June 25 (1788, 10th state)

Additionally, Congress passed a resolution designating the week in which June 14th falls as National Flag Week, and urging that citizens fly the flag each day of that week.  In 2018 that would be the week of June 10, which falls on Sunday, through June 16.

Flag-flying days for June, listed chronologically:

  1. Kentucky and Tennessee statehood, June 1
  2. Flag Day, June 14; National Flag week, June 10 to 16
  3. Arkansas statehood, June 15 (duplicating a day in National Flag Week)
  4. Fathers Day, June 17
  5. West Virginia statehood, June 20
  6. New Hampshire statehood, June 21
  7. Virginia statehood, June 25

As you know, any resident may fly the flag any day of the year, under the etiquette provided in the Flag Code.

Tip of the old scrub brush to Mike’s Blog Rounds at Crooks and Liars — thanks for the plug!

National Archives caption: This illustration entitled, “Flag Day - 1900”, by cartoonist Clifford Berryman, which appeared in the Washington Post on June 14, 1900, depicts the growth of American influence in the world as the European powers watch in the background as new century is ushered in.

National Archives caption: This illustration entitled, “Flag Day – 1900”, by cartoonist Clifford Berryman, which appeared in the Washington Post on June 14, 1900, depicts the growth of American influence in the world as the European powers watch in the background as new century is ushered in.

Flag Day, 1918, at Fort Sam Houston, Texas. Photo by Miles F. Weaver (1879-1932), from the collection of the National Archives (NARA)

Flag Day, 1918, at Fort Sam Houston, Texas. Photo by Miles F. Weaver (1879-1932), from the collection of the National Archives (NARA)

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