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





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

Korean War history sources

March 26, 2010

So, teachers, students with projects due:  You need sources of information on the Korean War?

Posters, books, CDs, from the U.S. GPO (Government Printing Office); the posters are inexpensive, too.

Alas, some of the stock needs more orders to get reprints . . .

This contributes to why they call it “the forgotten war.”

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