Fly Old Glory, to welcome the New Year

January 1, 2018

Reuters photo captured the Polar Bear Swim at Coney Island on January 1, 2016. New Years Day is one of the Flag Code designated days to fly the flag.

Reuters photo captured the Polar Bear Swim at Coney Island on January 1, 2016. New Years Day is one of the Flag Code designated days to fly the flag.

Fly your flag on January 1, one of the designated dates in the U.S. Flag Code. It’s a new year, a good time to fly the colors to get any new enterprise off to a good start.

Let’s hope for a better 2018 than the past two years have been.

Got a photo of your flag flying on January 1? Let us see it, in comments.

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Fly your flag today – Presidents’ Day

February 16, 2009

A giant U.S. flag was draped from a building in Springfield, Illinois, at Barack Obamas announcement of candidacy for the U.S. presidency, February 24, 2007 -- photo from JeromeProphet

A giant U.S. flag was draped from a building in Springfield, Illinois, at Barack Obama’s announcement of candidacy for the U.S. presidency, February 24, 2007 — photo from JeromeProphet

Fly your flag today for Presidents’ Day, one of the score of dates designated by Congress to fly the flag.

Presidents’ Day consolidated two separate events, George Washington’s Birthday and Abraham Lincoln’s Birthday.  Lincoln and Washington were first and second in a C-SPAN poll of historians, the Second Historians Survey on Presidential Leadership.


New pledge hoax slams Obama, teachers and public schools

January 29, 2009

With this blog’s occasional focus on flag etiquette and my concern for faux patriotism, I’ve been getting barbs all day on a story out of Clark County, Nevada (home of Las Vegas).

It’s a threefer of hatred, slamming President Obama, teachers, and public schools, all at once.  Plus it is rather disrespectful of the U.S. flag.

The Clark County School District calls the story “bogus!!” with the exclamation points clear.  Spokesmen for the district complain they’ve been fielding calls all day, none with details.  Their check of the district’s schools turns up nothing.

The claim is that an elementary school student wants to drop out of school after being “forced” to say the Pledge of Allegiance to a picture of President Barack Obama backed by several U.S. flags.

Bloggers fume.  “The gall!”

Press spokesmen for the district say they encourage parents to call any principal of any school in the district with any complaint.  A survey of principals finds none who knew of such a complaint.

None of the bloggers bothered to check the facts, it appears.  The story so far checks out to be a hoax.  No one can name the school, no one can name the kid, no one can corroborate the story.  

U.S.. Nevada and Clark County flags fly at Moapa Valley High School in the Clark County School District, Nevada. Wikipedia image

U.S.. Nevada and Clark County flags fly at Moapa Valley High School in the Clark County School District, Nevada. Wikipedia image

Students in Clark County schools say the Pledge of Allegiance every morning as a usual practice.  School officials were unsure whether this is done by state law, district ordinance, or tradition.  Through much of the 20th century, it was common for schools to have a picture of the sitting president in every classroom.   That tradition fell to budget cuts years ago.

What motivates people to invent such stories?  What motivates bloggers to spread stories without bothering to make the simplest check to see whether the story is accurate?  One of the things that screams “Hoax!” in this story is the complete inaction of the student and parent.  Were they worked up about it, why didn’t they bother to complain?

Here’s the wall of shame, bloggers who got suckered and repeated the story without bothering to check it out (isn’t it odd that they all seem to know exactly what photo of Obama was used, and they show it on their blogs, but they don’t know where it was used?  Isn’t it odd that they use a color photo while saying it was projected on an overhead projector, which would turn that photo into gray and white mush?):

I’ll wager that’s just the tip of a very mean-spirited iceberg of calumny.

Update, January 30 – More hate-filled spreading of the story:

Still the gullible fall, on February 1:

Nearly responsible skepticism:

I spoke again with David Roddy at the Clark County School District offices.  He confirmed that as of late this afternoon (January 30) no one had stepped forward to identify the school where the event is alleged to have occurred, nor the name of anyone involved, nor any other fact that could be corroborated to vouch for the accuracy of the story.

See “7 Signs of Bogus History.”  Notice any of these characteristics in this story’s allegations?

Update, September 5, 2009: No evidence of this event has ever been produced outside of the original two anonymous blog posts.  My investigation found no such incident in any school in or around Las Vegas, nor anywhere else.  Pure hoax.

Don’t let others be misled; spread the word:

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New Year’s Day – fly your flag today

January 1, 2009

Almost forgot to mention that New Year’s Day is one of the designated “fly your U.S. flag” days.

But you knew that, right?  (See 4 USC 1, sec. 6.)

Literally flying the flag -- Lt. Col. Chris Ashby sits in an F-16 Fighting Falcon and displays the U.S. flag before departing on a combat mission over Iraq, Jan. 29 from Balad Air Base, Iraq. Colonel Ashby is the 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing chief of Safety deployed from the 20th Fighter Wing, Shaw Air Force Base, S.C. (U. S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Michael R. Holzworth)

Literally flying the flag -- Lt. Col. Chris Ashby sits in an F-16 Fighting Falcon and displays the U.S. flag before departing on a combat mission over Iraq, Jan. 29 from Balad Air Base, Iraq. Colonel Ashby is the 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing chief of Safety deployed from the 20th Fighter Wing, Shaw Air Force Base, S.C. (U. S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Michael R. Holzworth)


Proof Bush has America backwards

August 13, 2008

Photographic proof that George Bush has America backwards. (Avert your Cub Scout’s eyes — he shouldn’t see his president doing that to the U.S. flag. Your Cub Scout knows that the union should always be displayed to its own right — to Bush’s right, the opposite of how he’s holding it here.)

President Bush displays U.S. flag backwards, at Beijing Olympics.  Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

President Bush displays U.S. flag backwards, at Beijing Olympics. Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Worse, there’s more:

But, by God! He’s wearing his lapel pin! Wearing the pin makes one immune to the rules of respectful flag display, one would assume, from the complaints of Sen. Barack Obama’s not wearing the lapel pin, and the remarkable silence from those same people about Bush’s many insults to the flag.

George Bush makes the case: We don’t need a Constitutional Amendment to make flag desecration illegal. We need Americans who pay attention to flag etiquette, instead.

Tip of the old scrub brush to Larry Perez, and to BuzzFlash, “The Diplomatic Decathlon: Bush’s Marathon of Olympic Blunders”


Obama leads the Pledge of Allegiance

August 8, 2008

Got another e-mail today, alleging that Illinois Sen. Barack Obama refuses to salute the U.S. flag or say the Pledge of Allegiance.

I was surprised to discover that the U.S. Senate has added the pledge to their opening exercises — new from when I staffed the Senate. But, what that means, with C-SPAN televising the proceedings, is that there is video evidence of Sen. Obama leading the pledge, if he does, when he substitutes for the presiding officer (the Vice President) in the Senate.

On June 21, 2007, for example, Obama presided over the Senate. See for yourself.


Oops! How many stripes on the U.S. flag?

August 7, 2008

School kids and people seeking naturalization as citizens of the U.S. should be able to tell you there are 13 stripes on the U.S. flag, one for each of the original 13 colonies. The top stripe is red, and the bottom stripe is red.

Oops. The U.S. Postal Service printed a stamp that features what looks like a flag with a 14th stripe.

Representations of the general usage, first class postal stamps issued by the U.S. Postal Service in April 2008 -- and, is that a 14th stripe on the flag in the lower right?

Representations of the general usage, first class postal stamps issued by the U.S. Postal Service in April 2008 -- and, is that a 14th stripe on the flag in the lower right? The four original, correct paintings were done by Laura Stutzman of Mountain Lake Park, Maryland.

A philatelist blogger, Stamps of Distinction, noted the error in a post earlier this week. The Postal Service acknowledged a problem with the stamp, but said what looks like a seventh white stripe at the bottom of the flag is really just a light patch added to the stamp to give contrast with the last red stripe.

The error appears on the fourth of a four-stamp plate known as the “Flags 24/7 stamps.” The flag is portrayed flying at four different times of the day, sunrise, noon, sunset, and night. The night portrayal carries the last-minute art revision that looks like a 14th stripe, on the bottom of the flag.

Errors in stamps drive up collectors’ prices — USPS says it has no plans to change the stamp now, so it won’t become a rarity.

Stamps of Distinction explains the intricacies of U.S. flag design, stamp traditions, and more specifics. You would do well to visit that site and check the full post.

Please note that flags flown after sunset should be specially lighted to be flown; the U.S. flag code suggests flags should be retired at sunset, otherwise, except at a few locations where the flag may be flown 24 hours a day, by law. USPS said:

For more than 200 years, the American flag has been the symbol of our nation’s source of pride and inspiration for millions of citizens. In May of 1776, Betsy Ross reported that she sewed the first American flag.

Federal law stipulates many aspects of flag etiquette. In 1942, a code of flag etiquette was established. The code states in part that the American flag should be displayed from sunrise to sunset every day, weather permitting, but especially on days of national importance like Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, and Veterans Day. Also, federal law requires that “when a patriotic effect is desired,” the flag can be flown through the night if properly lit. Although compliance is voluntary, public observation of the code’s measures is widespread throughout the nation.

Teachers, can you use this for a warm-up/bell ringer exercise on flag history?

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