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Misreading the Flag Code

IMG_20150401_125846587Misreading the Flag Code is a common problem, as these photos show. Two of the photos were taken at housing subdivisions here in San Antonio, and the third was taken at an area bank just outside of the city.  All three photos (which I took) indicate a failure to read and understand subsection 7 of the Flag Code.

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It is perfectly  acceptable to fly other flags at the same height as the U.S. flag, provided that the other flags are flown to the left—not to the right—of the U.S. flag. But the people in charge of these flags are convinced that other flags cannot be flown as high as the U.S. flag. The result is a display of terrible disrespect to the Texas flag, and the third flag in the second photo is a regional school flag, which is also improperly displayed. The Texas flag and the school flag both are entitled to the full height of their flagpole under ordinary flying conditions.

IMG_20150401_130047225_HDRIn all three photos, the flags are on the proper poles, with the U.S. flag in the right-most configuration. The flag poles are erected facing outward and in such a way as to represent that which is behind them: a bank, the highway entrance to a subdivision, and the sales office in a new housing subdivision.

 

What does the U.S. Flag Code actually say?

United States Code, 2011 Edition
Title 4 – FLAG AND SEAL, SEAT OF GOVERNMENT, AND THE STATES
CHAPTER 1 – THE FLAG
From the U.S. Government Printing Office

§7. Position and manner of display

(c) No other flag or pennant should be placed above or, if on the same level, to the right of the flag of the United States of America, except during church services conducted by naval chaplains at sea, when the church pennant may be flown above the flag during church services for the personnel of the Navy. No person shall display the flag of the United Nations or any other national or international flag equal, above, or in a position of superior prominence or honor to, or in place of, the flag of the United States at any place within the United States or any Territory or possession thereof: Provided, That nothing in this section shall make unlawful the continuance of the practice heretofore followed of displaying the flag of the United Nations in a position of superior prominence or honor, and other national flags in positions of equal prominence or honor, with that of the flag of the United States at the headquarters of the United Nations. (I added the bold print.)

I see this problem far too often, and not only on private property, but at city and county buildings, too.

Photos by Deborah Hendrick for The Daily Flag.

 

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National POW/MIA Recognition Day

Today, September 16,  is National POW/MIA Recognition Day. Observances of National POW/MIA Recognition Day are held across the country on military installations, ships at sea, state capitols, schools, and veterans’ facilities. It is traditionally observed on the third Friday in September each year. This observance is one of six days throughout the year that Congress has mandated the flying of the National League of Families’ POW/MIA flag. The others are Armed Forces Day, Memorial Day, Flag Day, Independence Day, and Veterans Day.

United_States_POW-MIA_flag.svgThe flag will be flown at major military installations, national cemeteries, all post offices, VA medical facilities, the World War II Memorial, Korean War Veterans Memorial, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, the official offices of the secretaries of state, defense and veterans affairs, the director of the selective service system, and the White House.

This annual event honors our missing service members and their families, and highlights the government’s commitment to account for them.  Across the country, local POW/MIA ceremonies are encouraged throughout POW/MIA Recognition Week, culminating with countless events and the national ceremony in Washington, DC, on Recognition Day.  Support for these missing Americans and their families is deeply felt.  America’s POW/MIAs should be honored and recognized, rather than memorialized, with the focus on continuing commitment to account as fully as possible for those still missing.  Strong, united support by the American people is crucial to achieving concrete answers.

For updates on POW/MIA news see the National League of POW/MIA Families.

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (Department of Defense) has posted news and updates.

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Antique American flags link our history

A thirteen star flag from the Bridgman collection.
A thirteen star flag from the Bridgman collection.

Antique American flags link our history to the present. Antique American flags and other textile memorabilia were featured this summer in Town & Country magazine. Antiquities dealer Jeff Bridgman showcased some of his rarest pieces and provided commentary on them in this Town & Country article.

While there are variations on the Stars and Stripes, which changed in number throughout the 19th Century as new states joined the union, the mix also includes a rare colorful militia flag designed by Tiffany & Co. valued at $350,000, and the Declaration of Independence woven into a kerchief, circa 1826.

Want to see more flags? Here is a video from Vimeo that features Bridgman talking about antique American flags and other textiles.

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U.S. Flag displayed backwards

US flag backward with Texas flag US and Texas flags in store

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Photos by Deborah Hendrick for The Daily Flag News)

These U.S. flag and Texas flag displays are inside the same store. The irony is that for more than a year, the two flags in the left photo were messed up the other way. Previously the U.S. flag was hung correctly, but the Texas flag was flipped, so the white stripe was on the right. Then someone “fixed” them. A good rule to remember is that the stars in our American flag (or the Lone Star) always point up, or to their own right—or to the left as we face the flags.

I especially like hoist displays of the flag, and I think it is under-utilized. The flag display shown on the right is gorgeous, and it’s the first thing you see when you come into the store. The store air-conditioning was just enough to make the flags gently flutter.

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Is it ok to fly a company flag on the same pole with the U.S. flag?

U.S. flag with corporate flagIs is ok to fly a company flag on the same flagpole with the U.S. flag? That’s a recurring question here at The Daily Flag, and the answer never changes:  No.

A prime example

The developers of this subdivision made two poor business decisions. They spent a lot of money on a towering flagpole so they could fly a huge, eye-catching American flag. It certainly caught my eye. If the American flag were the only flag flying on the pole, I wouldn’t bother writing this post. However, with their corporate flag flying underneath the American flag on the same halyard, they get their photograph and a dishonorable mention on my website instead.

Why is it wrong?

Title 4, Chapter 1, Section 8, paragraph (i) of the U.S. Code clearly states:

§8. Respect for flag
(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. (Italics mine)

Advertising signs should not be fastened to a staff or halyard from which the flag is flown. Please don’t tell me a corporate flag isn’t an advertising sign. It is. For the same amount of money, the property developers probably could have erected two smaller flagpoles—one for the U.S. flag, and one for the corporate flag of the developer. But the smaller flagpoles wouldn’t have been as highly visible from the busy elevated thoroughfare running alongside the subdivision.

It gets worse

The second bad business decision made by the developer of this subdivision is that the American flag is too large for the pole it is flying on, making it impossible to fly the flag at half-staff. It would brush against the model home, and landscaping. Businesses that like to attract attention with these big flags invariably make the same mistake: they put up a flag that is way out of proportion for the flag pole, and it is too big to be half-staffed.

Those who wrote and codified the Flag Code assumed that Americans of honor and goodwill would follow the statutes. What a shame that a business would choose their advertising over truly honoring the flag, when an appropriate display would have been so easy to achieve.

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Texas legislature passes protocol for folding the Lone Star flag

horse and ride with Texas flag Last October on The Daily Flag, I wrote an article titled Texas Fold ‘Em, about folding the Texas flag. The gist of the article was that there was not an official way to fold the flag, although state offices have traditionally folded it the same way the U.S. flag is folded.

Early this summer, the Texas legislature passed a bill that codifies a protocol for folding the flag, and now Texans have an official method for folding the Lone Star Flag.

Authored by Sen. Judith Zaffirini of Laredo, and Sen. Leticia Van de Putte of San Antonio, the legislation goes into effect September 1, 2009.

SECTION 1.  Requires that this Act be known as the Rod Welsh Act, in honor of Rod Welsh, Sergeant-at-Arms of the Texas House of Representatives, who is primarily responsible for developing the method of folding the state flag of Texas established by this Act.

SECTION 2.  Amends Subchapter B, Chapter 3100, Government Code, by adding Section 3100.073, as follows:

Sec. 3100.073.  FOLDED STATE FLAG.  (a)  Provides that the state flag should be folded as follows: fold the flag in half lengthwise with the red stripe facing upward, fold the flag in half lengthwise once more, concealing the red stripe on the inside of the fold,  position the flag with the white star facing downward and the blue stripe facing upward,  fold the corner with the white stripe to the opposite side of the flag to form a triangle, continue folding the corners over in triangles until the resulting fold produces a blue triangle with a portion of the white star visible, and  secure all edges into the folds.

(b)  Provides that a folded state flag should be presented or displayed with all folded edges secured and with the blue stripe and a portion of the white star visible.

(c)  Provides that a folded state flag should be stored or displayed in a manner that prevents tearing or soiling of the flag.

SECTION 3.  Effective date: September 1, 2009.

Photo Credit: from the musical “Texas” in Palo Duro Canyon, Canyon Tx

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Folding up “The Daily Flag”

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Happy New Year! And goodbye.

It’s time for me to fold up The Daily Flag. I’ve had a great time for the past two years, and made wonderful friends. TDF readers are the best.

But I’m not very good at multi-tasking. As it turns out, my best attribute is also my worst attribute. That means I can focus exclusively on one project, to the exclusion of all others. Now it is time for me to put The Daily Flag aside and pursue another project.

Finally, for The Daily Flag readers, one last flag photo. Isn’t this perfect! It was taken by White House photographer Tina Hager, on the south lawn of the White House, July 4, 2002. It’s how my heart feels on the inside. Best Wishes to you all.

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Fly your flag on Christmas Day

PSdvetsday84 Christmas, December 25, is an official flag flying day. Christmas is on Thursday this year which is great, because for most of this month, I thought Christmas was on Wednesday. So I was overjoyed to discover I had an extra day for preparations!

To give you a jump start on 2009, here is the list of flag-flying days.

 

 

 

 

 

  • New Year’s Day, January 1
  • Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, third Monday in January (January 19, 2009)
  • Inauguration Day, January 20
  • Lincoln’s Birthday, February 12
  • Washington’s Birthday, third Monday in February
  • Easter Sunday (variable)
  • Mother’s Day, second Sunday in May
  • Peace Officers Memorial Day, May 15 (half-staff all day)
  • Armed Forces Day, third Saturday in May
  • Memorial Day (half-staff until noon), the last Monday in May
  • Flag Day, June 14
  • Independence Day, July 4
  • Labor Day, first Monday in September
  • Patriot Day, September 11 (half-staff all day)
  • Constitution Day, September 17
  • National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Day, October 4 (half-staff all day) (established in 2001)
  • Columbus Day, second Monday in October
  • Navy Day, October 27 
  • Veterans Day, November 11
  • Thanksgiving Day, fourth Thursday in November
  • National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, December 7 (half-staff all day)
  • Christmas Day, December 25
  • and such other days as may be proclaimed by the President of the United States; the birthdays of States (date of admission); and on State holidays.
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Displaying the Texas flag

A reminder to those who want to display the Texas flag in the vertical position: The white stripe is on the left and the red stripe is on the right.

From the Texas State Library and Archives Commission: General provisions regarding the Texas state flag, and information on the display of the flag, the flag pledge, and the retirement of the state flag are included in Chapter 3100 of the Texas Government Code, available from the Texas Constitution and Statutes site.

800px-Flag_of_Texas.svg See Sec. 3100.059.  HORIZONTAL AND VERTICAL DISPLAY. 

(a)  If the state flag is displayed horizontally, the white stripe should be above the red stripe and, from the perspective of an observer, to the right of the blue stripe.

(b)  If the state flag is displayed vertically:

(1)  the blue stripe should be above the white and red stripes; and

(2)  the white stripe should be, from the perspective of an observer, to the left of the red stripe. (my italics)

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This perfect photograph of the Lone Star flag was taken by Matt Pippen at the Texas Capitol in Austin.

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Sunday, Dec. 7, is National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day

DKH_05Kitty Hawk half-staffed flag

The Congress, by Public Law 103 308 (as amended) has designated December 7 of each year as “National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.”

The flag is flown in the half-staff position all day.

Poles that are too short to fly the flag at half-staff may be adorned with black ribbon, to signify honor, remembrance, and mourning.