December’s dates to fly Old Glory, 2018

December 1, 2018

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).

At least one site lists Pan American Aviation Day, December 17, as a date to fly the flag. It’s the anniversary of the Wright Brothers’ first flight at Kittyhawk, North Carolina, and it’s a date U.S. law says should be commemorated — but flag flying is not one of the listed ways. Unless a president calls for flag flying, it’s not an official date. (Always, you can fly the flag any day, or every day.)

Here’s a list of the December 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 (flags fly half-staff)
  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 2018 days for flying the flag

November 1, 2018

A polling place in Glasgow, Kentucky, in 2016. Photo by Kevin Willis, WKU Public Radio.

A U.S. flag flies at a polling place in Glasgow, Kentucky, in 2016. Photo by Kevin Willis, WKU Public Radio.

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 22.

Did I say eight? 2018 is an election year for Congress; 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. (Yes, flags should be flown at all early polling places, on days of early voting, too — do you know of poll where that did not occur? Tell us in comments.)

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 nine events.

In calendar order for 2018, 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 6 (Congress and several states) — Go vote!
  • 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 22 in 2018)

Most Americans will concern themselves only with Veterans Day and Thanksgiving Day. Is flying the U.S. flag for statehood day a dying tradition?

More:

Polling station in South Carolina. SCETV image.

Polling station in South Carolina. SCETV image.

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October 2018 dates to fly Old Glory

October 18, 2018

Solidarity with the United States:

Solidarity with the United States: “Tel Aviv city hall, lit up in the colors of the American flag to honor the victims of the mass shooting in Las Vegas, on October 2, 2017. (AFP Photo/Jack Guez)” – From the Times of Israel

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.

(Yes, I’m getting to this late this year; it’s an election year, you know.)

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.

October 6 is German-American Day, whose history I do not know.

October 27 is also the birth date of Theodore Roosevelt (1858), the Secretary of the Navy who led the dramatic updating of the fleet that preceded the U.S. push to become a major international power. Navy Day was set on October 27 partly to honor Teddy’s work, and Teddy himself — the “birth” date of the U.S. Navy is considered to be October 7. Here’s a brief history of TR before his presidency, at the Miller Center, written by Sidney Milkis.

Fans of Roosevelt may get an little extra kick flying the flag on his birthday.

Other notable stuff:

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Fourth grade students practice U.S. flag etiquette with the help of National Park Service Rangers at Sagamore Hill National Historic Site in New York. Sagamore Hill, at Oyster Bay, was the home of Theodore Roosevelt and his family. National Park Service Photo

Fourth grade students practice U.S. flag etiquette with the help of National Park Service Rangers at Sagamore Hill National Historic Site in New York. Sagamore Hill, at Oyster Bay, was the home of Theodore Roosevelt and his family. National Park Service Photo

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September 2018: When to fly the the U.S. flag

August 31, 2018

ARLINGTON, VA - SEPTEMBER 11: In this U.S. Navy handout, sunrise at the Pentagon prior to a ceremony to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks. The American flag is draped over the site of impact at the Pentagon. Photo by Damon J. Moritz

Caption from Foreign Policy Magazine: ARLINGTON, VA – SEPTEMBER 11: In this U.S. Navy handout, sunrise at the Pentagon prior to a ceremony to commemorate the 2016 anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks. The American flag is draped over the site of impact at the Pentagon. Photo by Damon J. Moritz

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. On September 17, 1787, the convention in Philadelphia signed and formally transmitted the proposed Constitution to the 2nd Continental Congress, with a plan that each state would call a convention of citizens to ratify the document; when citizens of at least 9 states ratified, the document entered into force.

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 2018. In order:

More:

The largest free-flying American flag in the world flew over the George Washington Bridge Monday, Sept. 2, 2013, in Fort Lee, New Jersey, for Labor Day. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey said the flag flew on Labor Day under the upper arch of the bridge’s New Jersey tower, to honor working men and women across the country. The flag is 90 feet long by 60 feet wide, with stripes measuring about five feet wide and stars about four feet in diameter. (AP Photo/Mel Evans) (via Mowry Journal)

The largest free-flying American flag in the world flew over the George Washington Bridge Monday, Sept. 2, 2013, in Fort Lee, New Jersey, for Labor Day. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey said the flag flew on Labor Day under the upper arch of the bridge’s New Jersey tower, to honor working men and women across the country. The flag is 90 feet long by 60 feet wide, with stripes measuring about five feet wide and stars about four feet in diameter. (AP Photo/Mel Evans) (via Mowry Journal)

 

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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.

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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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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.]

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