Today is a good day to check your flag, or flags, and see if they need cleaning and mending, because an important flag-flying day is coming this week (Patriot Day, on Thursday, September 11). A spool of stout white upholstery thread and a big needle can help you add months of life to your flag.
I live in a huge flag-flying area, in-between Austin—the capital city of Texas, and San Antonio—home of the Alamo. Add in the numerous military installations, and the natural inclination of Texans to fly their flags all the time anyway—let’s just say that we are decorated in red, white, and blue all the time.
At *Buzzards Roost—the rugged little estate where I live in the hill country—we have a 20-foot tall flagpole. We could easily light the pole, and fly the flags 24/7. Yet I am reluctant to do so, because I see so many 24/7 flags in disrepair, and I don’t want to fall into that mistake myself.
I am dismayed by the public schools, that now uniformly fly their flags 24/7. Why? Why would any school pass up the splendid opportunity to have a small teaching moment each day with a few of its students? It doesn’t have to be big deal, only a small deal: where one adult and a few kids raise and lower the flag each day. Just a few moments where the adult can instruct the kids on flag etiquette, and a bit of history.
When I was in high school, the various school clubs took turns (Spanish Club, French Club, FHA, FFA, et cetera), in weekly rotation, to raise and lower the flags each school day. The oldest middle schoolers are old enough (generally) to do this without adult supervision. What grade are the oldest of elementary-aged kids? Fifth graders? Sixth graders? They would need supervision, and that’s where the teaching opportunity would come in.
Maybe adult civic organizations could step up and create an opportunity. The American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars do much in their communities regarding flag education. But perhaps other groups would participate—Lions Club, Altrusa, Rotary Club, adult Scouters, Optimists, and the list goes on. Would you be willing to meet one morning or two mornings and afternoons each school year with some kids, to show them the right way to handle the flag? Just a thought …
*Our "buzzards" are actually turkey vultures, but our English ancestors, having no familiarity with vultures, incorrectly dubbed them buzzards.