Mark your September calendar, fly the flag on these dates

September 3, 2015

Business Insider photo of a giant flag suspended at the George Washington Bridge between New York City and New Jersey, on September 2, 2013

Business Insider photo of a giant flag suspended at the George Washington Bridge between New York City and New Jersey, on September 2, 2013, to celebrate Labor Day; Collins Flags said: “This flag isn’t just any flag, it is the largest free-flying American flag in the entire world. It measures a total of 90 feet (27 meters) long and 60 feet (18 meters) wide. In order to preserve the quality of the flag, the Port Authority took the flag down Monday evening after letting it fly all day.”

Five days designated by law to fly the U.S. flag in September — only one statehood day, though, for California. In chronological order:

  • Labor Day, the first Monday in September — September 8, in 2015
  • California Statehood, September 9 (1850, the 31st state)
  • Patriot Day, September 11
  • Constitution Day and Citizenship Day, September 17; September 17-23 is also designated Constitution Week, though flag flying is not mentioned as a recommended activity (you may feel free to fly your flag anyway)
  • Gold Star Mothers Day, last Sunday in September — September 27 in 2015

An American battle flag flew for the first time in battle on September 3, 1777, but this date is usually not commemorated.

This occurred during a Revolutionary War skirmish at Cooch’s Bridge, Delaware. Gen. William Maxwell, commanding a Patriot force of infantry and cavalry, ordered the new flag raised in a clash with an advance guard of British and Hessian troops.

The rebels were defeated and forced to retreat to the encampment housing Gen. George Washington’s main force near Brandywine Creek in Pennsylvania.

Three months beforehand, on June 14, the Continental Congress resolved that “the flag of the United States be 13 alternate stripes red and white” and that “the Union be 13 stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation.”

The new national flag, which quickly became known as the “Stars and Stripes,” was based on the “Grand Union” flag – a banner carried by the Continental Army in 1776 that consisted of 13 red and white stripes.

September features several other commemorations that usually involve no flag flying:

More:


Flags in Missouri: Displayed backwards?

August 10, 2015

It’s interesting trying to find photographs of the U.S. flag displayed with a state flag, as I do for posts on each state’s statehood day celebration.  Today is Missouri’s anniversary of admission to the union in 1821, and I looked high and low for a good photo.

Along the way I found a photo of three flags displayed at the Missouri Capitol Building. They flew half-staff to honor a recently deceased state official, so I didn’t think it illustrated a statehood celebration well.

When flown on flagpoles in a row, of even height, the U.S. flag always flies on it’s own right, or to the left of a viewing audience (see paragraph f of this part of the U.S. Flag Code).

That’s not where it’s flown at the Missouri Capitol.

U.S. flag always flies on the viewer's left. What's going on in this photo of the Missouri Capitol? Caption from the New York Daily News: Flags around the Missouri Capitol complex in Jefferson City were lowered to half staff after the suicide of state Auditor Tom Schweich on Feb. 26. On March 30, a spokesman for the office, Robert Jackson, committed suicide. Photo: AP

U.S. flag always flies on the viewer’s left. What’s going on in this AP photo of the Missouri Capitol? Caption from the New York Daily News: “Flags around the Missouri Capitol complex in Jefferson City were lowered to half staff after the suicide of state Auditor Tom Schweich on Feb. 26. On March 30, a spokesman for the office, Robert Jackson, committed suicide. Photo: AP”

Anybody know what’s up? Do these three flagpoles “face” the Capitol?

While we’re at it: The black flag is the POW-MIA flag. The flag in the center is the state flag of Missouri. What is the flag on the photo’s left?


Why is the US flag displayed on the wrong side of basketball backboards?

March 16, 2014

Odd.

Watching the Big 10 Men’s Basketball tournament (Michigan vs. Michigan State) — it was the game that was on, my best chance short of internet to get news of PAC-12 and Mountain West conference results — and I looked at the backboard.

Someone thought college basketball needed to make a patriotic display beyond the usual hoo-haw, I suppose.  “Let’s put U.S. flag decals on the glass backboards.”  Nice little touch.  Every photograph of a ball going through the hoop, every shot of a fight for a rebound or to block a shot at the hoop, and there’s that little U.S. flag, reminding us of something.

In displaying the U.S. flag, the U.S. Flag Code notes that the flag should always be on its own right, or to the left of the audience facing it (See 4 U.S. Code § 7 (k)).

In that arena in Indianapolis, the flag is on the right.  Here’s a still photo from USA Today from an earlier game.

  Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports  Mar 14, 2014; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Michigan Wolverines react as the Illinois Fighting Illini miss the potential winning shot at the buzzer in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten college basketball tournament at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Michigan defeats Illinois 65-64. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Caption of AP photo: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports Mar 14, 2014; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Michigan Wolverines react as the Illinois Fighting Illini miss the potential winning shot at the buzzer in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten college basketball tournament at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Michigan defeats Illinois 65-64. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Looking for an image of the Indianapolis backboard, I came across this image from the 2012 NBA finals.

Ball stuck in Game 5 of NBA finals between Miami and Oklahoma City; note flag decal on right. AP photo

AP caption: A ball is stuck between the backboard and basket during the first half of Game 5 of the NBA finals basketball series between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Miami Heat, Thursday, June 21, 2012, in Miami (AP Photo by Lynne Sladky) [Note flag decal on right.]

This error of flag display has been around for at least two years.  What’s up with that?

Those who advocate amending the Constitution to make it a crime to desecrate the flag probably don’t anticipate jailing the entire NCAA or NBA.  Maybe we should revise the flag code, to be more reasonable.

More:


Unthinking flag desecration

August 1, 2013

Patriot Depot shirt desecrating the U.S. flag.

You can purchase a shirt that displays the flag in violation of the Flag Code. All the outlaws are wearing them these days.

Don’t worry; once we get the Amendment to the Constitution to make flag desecration a crime, these people will go to jail.

But they’ll whine all the while that they didn’t know they were violating the flag code.  That’s the problem:  They don’t know.  They don’t know much about anything.  Calling Dr. Dunning and Dr. Kruger . . .

"Pledge shirt" from the so-called Patriot Depot; putting the flag on shirts like this is a violation of the U.S. Flag Code.

“Pledge shirt” from the so-called Patriot Depot; putting the flag on shirts like this is a violation of the U.S. Flag Code.

Yes, putting the flag on apparel violates the Flag Code, 4 USC Sec. 8, “Respect for the Flag”:

(d) The flag should never be used as wearing apparel, bedding, or drapery. It should never be festooned, drawn back, nor up, in folds, but always allowed to fall free. Bunting of blue, white, and red, always arranged with the blue above, the white in the middle, and the red below, should be used for covering a speaker’s desk, draping the front of the platform, and for decoration in general.

And:

(i) The flag should never be used for advertising purposes in any manner whatsoever. It should not be embroidered on such articles as cushions or handkerchiefs and the like, printed or otherwise impressed on paper napkins or boxes or anything that is designed for temporary use and discard. Advertising signs should not be fastened to a staff or halyard from which the flag is flown.

(j) No part of the flag should ever be used as a costume or athletic uniform. However, a flag patch may be affixed to the uniform of military personnel, firemen, policemen, and members of patriotic organizations. The flag represents a living country and is itself considered a living thing. Therefore, the lapel flag pin being a replica, should be worn on the left lapel near the heart.

God will forgive them, but we owe thanks to God for answering our prayer to make such idiots show themselves by their ignorance, right?

No, I don’t think these people intend to disrespect the flag, and we don’t really need to jail them.  The creation of this shirt is one more indication that those who cloak themselves in the flag generally are not the patriots they claim to be, however, and their respect for the flag and patriotism generally runs no deeper than the thickness of the t-shirt.  A t-shirt patriot is impossible for me to distinguish from a sunshine patriot.  Thomas Paine warned us against them some time ago.

U.S. flag patch displayed legally, and correctly, on the shoulder of a U.S. soldier at Fort Carson.  U.S. Army photo

U.S. flag patch displayed legally, and correctly, on the shoulder of a U.S. soldier at Fort Carson. This display is reversed from those worn on other uniforms, including police, firefighters, and Boy Scouts. U.S. Army photo

More:

Update:

Tea Partiers wear flags in violation of the U.S. Flag Code, AP photo, June 2013

Just stumbled into this photo; it’s an AP photo, but this is fair use. Surely none of these Tea Party functionaries intended to desecrate the flag, did they? AP caption on August 4, 2013: “Associated Press/J. Scott Applewhite, File – FILE – In this June 19, 2013, file photo, Tea Party activists rallying in front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington. The movement’s top strategists concede the tea party is quieter today, by design. It has matured, they said, from a protest movement to a political movement. Large-scale rallies have given way to strategic letter-writing and phone-banking campaigns to push or oppose legislative agendas in Washington and state capitals. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)”


Fly your flag today: Merry Christmas!

December 25, 2012

You forgot?

December 25 is one of the law-designated U.S. flag-flying dates!

National Christmas Tree with White House and U.S. flag in the background - WETA image

Flag flying at the White House in the background, the National Christmas Tree in the foreground. Image via WETA.

It’s been raining here in Dallas (now changing to heavy, wet snow).  One may fly the flag in inclement weather.  Remember to dry the flag before putting it away.


September 11 – fly your flag today, half-staff if you can

September 11, 2011

Americans are urged to fly flags today, at half-staff, in honor of patriots and those who died in the attacks on the U.S. on September 11, 2001.

According to Cornell University’s Legal Information Institute, the law says:

TITLE 36 > Subtitle I > Part A > CHAPTER 1> § 144

§ 144. Patriot Day

How Current is This?

(a) Designation.— September 11 is Patriot Day.

(b) Proclamation.— The President is requested to issue each year a proclamation calling on—
(1) State and local governments and the people of the United States to observe Patriot Day with appropriate programs and activities;

(2) all departments, agencies, and instrumentalities of the United States and interested organizations and individuals to display the flag of the United States at halfstaff on Patriot Day in honor of the individuals who lost their lives as a result of the terrorist attacks against the United States that occurred on September 11, 2001; and

(3) the people of the United States to observe a moment of silence on Patriot Day in honor of the individuals who lost their lives as a result of the terrorist attacks against the United States that occurred on September 11, 2001.

Patriot Day formerly occurred earlier in the year; information on flag flying has not been added to the Flag Code portions of U.S. law, and consequently this news gets missed.

Fly your flag today, at half-staff. Remember when flying a flag at half-staff, it is first raised to full staff, then slowly lowered to the half-staff position. When the flag is retired at the end of the day, it should again be crisply raised to the full-staff position before being lowered.

A flag attached to a pole that does not allow a half-staff position should be posted as usual.

A National Day of Service

Also, September 11 is also designated as a national day of service, under the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act, Public Law 111-13 (April 21, 2009). The Corporation for National and Community Service is charged with encouraging appropriate service in honor of the day and in honor of those who died.

National Day of Service and Remembrance

Date(s): September 11, 2010

Location: National

Event URL: http://911day.org/

Description
On April 21, 2009, President Barack Obama signed legislation that for the first time officially established September 11 as a federally recognized National Day of Service and Remembrance.

By pledging to volunteer, perform good deeds, or engage in other forms of charitable service during the week of 9/11, you and your organization will help rekindle the remarkable spirit of unity, service and compassion shared by so many in the immediate aftermath of the attacks. And you’ll help create a fitting, enduring and historic legacy in the name of those lost and injured on 9/11, and in tribute to the 9/11 first responders, rescue and recovery workers, and volunteers, and our brave military personnel who continue to serve to this day.

Check in your own community to find opportunities for service projects.


September 11, Patriot Day — Fly Your Flag Today

September 11, 2010

Americans are urged to fly flags today, at half-staff, in honor of patriots and those who died in the attacks on the U.S. on September 11, 2001.

According to Cornell University’s Legal Information Institute, the law says:

§ 144. Patriot Day

(a) Designation.— September 11 is Patriot Day.

(b) Proclamation.— The President is requested to issue each year a proclamation calling on—

(1) State and local governments and the people of the United States to observe Patriot Day with appropriate programs and activities;
(2) all departments, agencies, and instrumentalities of the United States and interested organizations and individuals to display the flag of the United States at halfstaff on Patriot Day in honor of the individuals who lost their lives as a result of the terrorist attacks against the United States that occurred on September 11, 2001; and
(3) the people of the United States to observe a moment of silence on Patriot Day in honor of the individuals who lost their lives as a result of the terrorist attacks against the United States that occurred on September 11, 2001.

Patriot Day formerly occurred earlier in the year; information on flag flying has not been added to the Flag Code portions of U.S. law, and consequently this news gets missed.

Fly your flag today, at half-staff. Remember when flying a flag at half-staff, it is first raised to full staff, then slowly lowered to the half-staff position. When the flag is retired at the end of the day, it should again be crisply raised to the full-staff position before being lowered.

A flag attached to a pole that does not allow a half-staff position should be posted as usual.

A National Day of Service

September 11 is also designated as a national day of service, under the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act, Public Law 111-13 (April 21, 2009). The Corporation for National and Community Service is charged with encouraging appropriate service in honor of the day and in honor of those who died.

National Day of Service and Remembrance

Date(s): September 11, 2010
Location: National

Description
On April 21, 2009, President Barack Obama signed legislation that for the first time officially established September 11 as a federally recognized National Day of Service and Remembrance.

By pledging to volunteer, perform good deeds, or engage in other forms of charitable service during the week of 9/11, you and your organization will help rekindle the remarkable spirit of unity, service and compassion shared by so many in the immediate aftermath of the attacks. And you’ll help create a fitting, enduring and historic legacy in the name of those lost and injured on 9/11, and in tribute to the 9/11 first responders, rescue and recovery workers, and volunteers, and our brave military personnel who continue to serve to this day.

Check in your own community to find opportunities for service projects.


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