Posted on 3 Comments

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.

IMG_0687

 

 

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.

 

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Posted on 2 Comments

Half-staff flags September 11

PATRIOT DAY AND NATIONAL DAY OF SERVICE AND REMEMBRANCE, 2016

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

kitty-hawk-half-staffed-flag On September 11, 2001, America experienced the worst terrorist attack in her history when nearly 3,000 men, women, and children were taken from us, leaving their families and our Nation with a void that can never be filled. But those who brought hate to our shores and smoke to our skies did not expect our country to emerge stronger, and our beacons of hope and freedom to shine brighter as a result.  In the years since, we have stood strong as one people ‑‑ determined to further embolden our country’s character with acts of endurance and strength; rebuilding and resilience; renewal and progress.  In remembrance of the innocent victims who lost their lives and in honor of the families they left behind, let us continue to answer these heinous acts by serving our communities, lifting the lives of our fellow citizens, and spreading the hope that others tried to dim that day.

By a joint resolution approved December 18, 2001 (Public Law 107-89), the Congress has designated September 11 of each year as “Patriot Day,” and by Public Law 111-13, approved April 21, 2009, the Congress has requested the observance of September 11 as an annually recognized “National Day of Service and Remembrance.”

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim September 11, 2016, as Patriot Day and National Day of Service and Remembrance. I call upon all departments, agencies, and instrumentalities of the United States to display the flag of the United States at half-staff on Patriot Day and National Day of Service and Remembrance in honor of the individuals who lost their lives on September 11, 2001

Save

Save

Posted on Leave a comment

Salute during the National Anthem

Yes. We are supposed to salute the flag during the National Anthem, with either a “heart salute” (right hand over the heart) or a military salute if you are active duty. Veterans are also permitted to present a military salute if so desired.

The United States Code (our giant collection of American law—laid out in great detail) contains the National Anthem Code and the Flag Code, but the two documents are not found in the same section of the U.S. Code. Portions of the Flag Code are frequently cited (on Memorial Day, Flag Day, and Independence Day), while the National Anthem Code is rarely mentioned at all.

The National Anthem Code and the Flag Code are laws, but laws predicated on honor and goodwill. No one is compelled to stand at attention and salute, or Pledge allegiance to the flag. Americans have, to borrow a phrase, free will regarding our public display of allegiance and affection for the Anthem and the flag, and indeed, some religious denominations forbid these American rituals.

I will not quote all of the National Anthem Code, but here is the part most people are interested in. Please carefully note Section 2. The National Anthem itself  is the point of honor, so even if we cannot see the flag, we are to turn in the direction of the music, stand at attention and salute.

§301. National anthem

(a) Designation.—The composition consisting of the words and music known as the Star-Spangled Banner is the national anthem.

(b) Conduct During Playing.—During a rendition of the national anthem—

(1) when the flag is displayed—

(A) individuals in uniform should give the military salute at the first note of the anthem and maintain that position until the last note;

(B) members of the Armed Forces and veterans who are present but not in uniform may render the military salute in the manner provided for individuals in uniform; and

(C) all other persons present should face the flag and stand at attention with their right hand over the heart, and men not in uniform, if applicable, should remove their headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart; and

(2) when the flag is not displayed, all present should face toward the music and act in the same manner they would if the flag were displayed.

 

Posted on Leave a comment

U.S. Flag ordered to half-staff

HONORING THE VICTIMS OF THE ATTACK IN NICE, FRANCE

– – – – – – –

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

A PROCLAMATION

As a mark of respect for the victims of the attack perpetrated on July 14, 2016, in Nice, France, by the authority vested in me as President of the United States by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, I hereby order that the flag of the United States shall be flown at half-staff at the White House and upon all public buildings and grounds, at all military posts and naval stations, and on all naval vessels of the Federal Government in the District of Columbia and throughout the United States and its Territories and possessions until sunset, July 19, 2016. I also direct that the flag shall be flown at half-staff for the same length of time at all United States embassies, legations, consular offices, and other facilities abroad, including all military facilities and naval vessels and stations

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this fifteenth day of July, in the year of our Lord two thousand sixteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-first.

BARACK OBAMA

 

Posted on Leave a comment

Half-staffing orders issued for U.S. and Texas flags

The Texas Governor’s office has issued half-staffing orders for the Texas flag, and President Obama has issued half-staffing orders for the U.S. flag, in honor and mourning for the five murdered law enforcement officers in Dallas, Texas.

The half-staffing order for both flags continues through Tuesday, July 12, 2016.

Posted on 2 Comments

What “half-staff” means

United States Code, 2011 Edition
Title 4 – FLAG AND SEAL, SEAT OF GOVERNMENT, AND THE STATES

CHAPTER 1—THE FLAG [ … ]

§7. Position and manner of display  [ … ]

(m) The flag, when flown at half-staff, should be first hoisted to the peak for an instant and then lowered to the half-staff position. The flag should be again raised to the peak before it is lowered for the day. [ … ]

      (1) the term “half-staff” means the position of the flag when it is one-half the distance between the top and bottom of the staff;   (my italics, for emphasis. DH)

Just as the top of the flag goes all the way to the top of the flagpole,  when “half-staffed” the  top of the flag should be placed at the “top” of the half-way point on the flag pole. No more, no less.  For example, on a 50 ft flag pole, the top of the flag would be placed at the 25 ft mark.

Posted on Leave a comment

President orders national flag to half-staff

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release

June 12, 2016

Presidential Proclamation — Honoring the Victims of the Attack in Orlando, Florida

HONORING THE VICTIMS OF THE ATTACK IN ORLANDO, FLORIDA 

– – – – – – – 

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
A PROCLAMATION 

As a mark of respect for the victims of the act of hatred and terror perpetrated on Sunday, June 12, 2016, in Orlando, Florida, by the authority vested in me as President of the United States by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, I hereby order that the flag of the United States shall be flown at half-staff at the White House and upon all public buildings and grounds, at all military posts and naval stations, and on all naval vessels of the Federal Government in the District of Columbia and throughout the United States and its Territories and possessions until sunset, June 16, 2016. I also direct that the flag shall be flown at half-staff for the same length of time at all United States embassies, legations, consular offices, and other facilities abroad, including all military facilities and naval vessels and stations. 

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this 

twelfth day of June, in the year of our Lord two thousand sixteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and fortieth. 

BARACK OBAMA

Posted on Leave a comment

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.

Posted on Leave a comment

OK to fly sheriff’s flag on halyard with U.S. flag?

Alan wrote to ask, “Is it appropriate to display a local county sheriff’s dept. flag beneath the American flag? And, would it be appropriate to display the American flag and the county sheriffs dept. flag without displaying the state’s flag. Thank you for your time.”

Alan—thank you for writing. Yes, it’s ok—to both questions. But it would be preferable to include the state flag too, since the county is a unit of the state (just as the state is a unit of the country).

In a follow up question, Alan asked, “Could you direct me to a common law or rule that I could reference to, that would support your comments of “YES” being okay to display the flags this way in case I am questioned by anyone?”

Alan, the answer is found in the U.S. Code, in Title 4—the section we commonly call The Flag Code.  The county sheriff’s department flag represents a “locality” and is the law enforcement branch of the county (and a part of the state, too). There is no problem flying it on the same halyard, and below the U.S. flag.   Best wishes, Deborah

Title 4 – FLAG AND SEAL, SEAT OF GOVERNMENT, AND THE STATES
CHAPTER 1 – THE FLAG
§7. Position and manner of display
(f) When flags of States, cities, or localities, or pennants of societies are flown on the same halyard with the flag of the United States, the latter should always be at the peak. When the flags are flown from adjacent staffs, the flag of the United States should be hoisted first and lowered last. No such flag or pennant may be placed above the flag of the United States or to the United States flag’s right.

Posted on 6 Comments

Condo association and The Freedom to Display the American Flag Act of 2005

American flag on white house

Betty has some questions about flying the American flag at condos.

I am in a new condo development, where we are developing rules. Each building is a duplex of 2 patio homes. Can we restrict the display to one flag per duplex mounted on a specific wall shared by both units? Given the design, there is no room to display a flag near the front door or patio.  Also, can the association require, at the homeowners expense, that a specific bracket be used and installed by an approved contractor? Surface is brick, placement is crucial and proper drill bits are needed to preserve the integrity if the brick.

American flag on white house
U.S. flag on white house with tree

Hi Betty. The condo development is very smart to consider these ideas in a pro-active way. The goal of the Freedom to Display the American Flag Act of 2005  was protect both the homeowners and property management, but there are still problems in execution.

The law protects each homeowner, so limiting a duplex to one (shared) flag would be a violation of the law. And I think there would be problems with ownership, responsibility, maintenance, et cetera with a shared flag. The owner in Side A might be willing to buy the best flag available, and the owner in Side B might be satisfied with buying a flag from a road-side vendor.

Certainly the condo association can enact specific rules regarding installing a flag mount, but if the rules are onerous, they will be challenged. As you are doubtless aware, there have been numerous stories this summer about homeowners running afoul of their HOA over flying the American flag. The negative publicity to the HOAs and management companies has been terrible, even when they were in compliance with the law, and the homeowner was not.

A necessary tension exists between the homeowner and the HOA or condo association. The homeowner’s right to display an American flag is absolute, but the “management” has a fiduciary responsibility to the entire development, and does have the right to set reasonable standards.

What if the condo development association bought top-quality flag mounts and installed them at each condo, precisely where they wanted them, as a courtesy to each homeowner. If the homeowner doesn’t want to display a flag—no problem (just ignore the flag mount), and for those who want to fly a flag, the flag mount is already there. The condo standards are maintained, and the homeowner has a choice in his flag purchase.

For what it’s worth, the facings on garage doors are a popular area for flag mounts. I see it quite often in condo and townhouse locations.

The text of the Freedom to Display the American Flag Act of 2005 can be found in Section 5 of the U.S. Flag Code.