Yesterday I received an email through the contact page asking:
Can you tell me if there is a ceremonial procedure for carrying the flag from one end of a room to another for posting prior to the start of a meeting?
I sent an answer to CD, but my response bounced right back to me. There’s a server problem on the other end, and CD may not even know it. I want to answer here, and hope that CD sees it.
We often think that we need people in uniforms (Boy Scouts, ROTC, et cetera) to present the colors, and certainly that is a traditional and customary way to do it, but any of us can present the colors. I’m sure the Daughters of the American Revolution must do their own flag presentations. To my knowledge, there are no specific rules within the U.S. Code on how to present the colors. So this is my suggestion, and it relies heavily on military tradition and instructions for Boy Scout.
The person in charge of the event should ask all there to please stand. "All rise," and when everyone is standing (who are able), then "Color Guard, please present the colors."
The U.S. flag is always carried aloft and free, never flat or horizontally. If the U.S. flag is the only flag carried, it should have an honor guard to its left, or two honor guards, one on each side.
When carried with other flags, as in a straight line abreast, the U.S. flag is carried on its own right side—all the way to the right—of other flags.
Sometimes when a lot of flags (usually five or more) are carried, then the U.S. flag is positioned in the center and in front (one or two steps) of the other flags, or the other flags are carried slightly lower than the U.S. flag so that the U.S. flag is prominent.
If a state flag is presented too, then the state flag is positioned to the immediate left of the U.S. flag, then civic, club, or corporate flag to the left of the state flag (and those are determined by chronological order of their historic or original charter—just like state flags).
As the color guard comes down the approach, the flag stands having been pre-positioned, the party will slow or even come to a stop. The U.S. flag goes first, turning left and crossing in front of the other flags and is placed first into the flag stand, then the other flags go in order after that.
Frequently the U.S. flag will be on the one side (the right side as it faces the audience) of the stage or platform, with the state flag on the other side, but they don’t have to be separated. Just remember that the U.S. flag is always to the right of the arrangement when in final position and facing the audience.
Usually in a group setting, everyone will salute the flag at the beginning and hold it until the flags are returned to the flag stands (and Boy Scouts will be given the order to salute), but if the venue is large, then one salutes the flag as it passes abreast of your position, and holds the salute until the flag has cleared your position.
All the usual and customary rules apply for saluting.
In a Boy Scout flag ceremony, the Scouts will recite the Pledge of Allegiance before "posting" the colors, or putting the flag back into the flag stand. The color guard will be facing the audience and the person in charge of the event will say (for example), "Will you please join me in the Pledge of Allegiance." When finished, the flags will be inserted into the flag stands.
But the flags could be placed first, and then recite the Pledge. Depending on the ceremony, someone might be invited on-stage to lead the Pledge, which would be a lovely way of giving special recognition.
Here is an entry on The Daily Flag from February 5, 2008, that links to a color guard ceremony in Hawaii that is uncomplicated and beautiful.
The image used above comes from www.utahscouts.org.
I lost count of the Memorial Day stories that came into my feed reader, but I “starred” about two dozen that combined the words “Boy Scouts, “flags,” and “Memorial Day.” I thought I’d try to count the numbers of Scouts (Girl Scouts, too), and the number of veterans graves that the Scouts decorated with flags (and flowers in some cases), but when the number of Scouts went over 5000, I stopped counting. And that’s from newspapers and television stations which enable their stories for internet access—and for every news outlet that does, there must be ten that don’t.
In Hawaii, Scouts and others decorated the veterans graves with an American flag, and then placed a lei around each headstone. The Girls Scouts decorated the cemetery chapel with flowers. This is very special, because Memorial Day originated with “Decoration Day, which began when women placed flowers on the graves of the soldiers who died in the War between the States.
Here is a story from television station KHNL in Honolulu, Hawaii, about Memorial Day at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific.
Last week I asked for readers to send photos from flag retirement ceremonies. Our friend Dave Jung sent these photos from B.S.A. Troop 331, in the Gerald R. Ford Council from Grand Rapids, Michigan. The photos were taken during their January “Polar Bear Campout” at Gerber BSA Camp.
Dave reported that as the heat rose from the flames, it had the unintended consequence of melting the snow caught in the tree branches around their fire. The falling clumps of snow added a bit of merriment to the otherwise solemn occasion.
I’m sure the memories of this flag-retirement ceremony will last these Scouts for a lifetime.
Flag retirement ceremonies are most often conducted by veterans organizations such as the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion, or the Boy Scouts. But of course, any group or individual can retire a flag. The whole point of retiring a flag is a proper and honorable disposal.
I wonder if any of The Daily Flag readers ever witnessed or participated in a military retirement ceremony? I am sure that each of the services would have well-documented procedures for flag retirement. However, I can’t help thinking that there would be a long list of names of military personnel who would want a flag from the base, post, or ship where they served, even if the flags were no longer suitable for flying.
(Hold that thought while I telephone my favorite veteran to ask … He said “yes,” and in hindsight he perhaps would have liked a keepsake flag that flew where he served, but replacing a tattered flag was never a part of his job so the flags did not pass through his hands, and he simply never thought about it at the time.)
Where I am going with this: I would like for readers of The Daily Flag to send us notes and photos from flag retirement ceremonies they have observed or participated in. My idea is to create a reference tool with ideas and suggestions for others. I would especially like to see how fire pits or free standing fire stands were constructed.
Along with the good ideas, there logically must be a list of bad ideas. For example: If there were a lot of flags to dispose of, in a too small a receptacle (or under-fueled), it would take a long time. Or maybe events when too much “accelerant” was used. These occasions need to be shared, too, if we are to learn. But I promise to be diplomatic, discreet, and circumspect if it was a disaster.
Send your information or photos to Deborah “at” flagsbay.com.
How do you quantify the well-being of a community? Here’s one way.
The Canyon Lake Times Guardian
What do you call a large group of birds sighted near Canyon Lake? A Flock of Eagles!!!!
That is exactly what was witnessed on Saturday, March 3, 2008, at a special rare event of an Eight Eagles Scout Court of Honor for Varsity Scouts Troop 441. Held at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints chapel located off of 3159 FM towards Statzville. This spectacle event kicked off around 6pm.
Eight Eagles and their projects:
The following Eight Young Men achieved the rank of Eagle Scout, the highest rank offered by the Boy Scouts of America. Listed are descriptions of their community service projects, a major requirement to demonstrate their leadership and service skills.
Flying the U.S. flag in a remote location brings a particular set of challenges. The city of Hampton, Pennsylvania discovered that lighting a large flag where no electricity exists is costly. The engineering department is considering alternate methods to replace the diesel-powered electric generator that powers the floodlight.
Trying to keep the flag lit before dawn’s early light — dailypress.com
HAMPTON – — Keeping a giant flag lit at Fort Wool requires a city Parks & Recreation employee to drive a boat to the rocky spit of an island twice each week.
Once at the island, the employee pours diesel fuel into a portable generator, similar to those on a trailer that you might see at a work site.
The flag is a giant beacon standing tall above the island, a welcome symbol to both ships entering Hampton Roads and the 108,000 drivers who pass over the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel each day. It took politicians and citizens three years to raise money and sort through the proper permits to erect the flag. It flew for the first time July 9. Keeping the flag lit, however, is a continuing saga.
The Bonnie Blue flag has a long and storied history across many states. Along with a history lesson, this article includes the words to a Confederate song about the flag.
Dixie Historical Society: Brief history of the Bonnie Blue Flag
1836-1839 – The Bonnie Blue Flag was adopted by Texicans during the Texas War for Independence against Mexico. According to some reports, the Bonnie Blue Flag was brought to Texas in 1835 by Louisiana volunteers, and many Louisianans claim that “We hung the Star over Texas!” There were several variations of the Bonnie Blue Flag during the fight for Texas’ Independence, the “Burnet Flag” being the most common variant. The Burnet Flag used a yellow star, as opposed to a white one. In 1839 the Bonnie Blue served as a basis for the official flag of the Republic of Texas, and it came to be known as the Lone Star Flag.
California Troop 249 embodies classic Scouting: adventure, exploring, self-discipline, and fun. Some of my fondest memories as a Scoutmaster include mountain hiking the Pecos Wilderness of northern New Mexico.
Troop 249 Day Hike to Point Mugu Peak summit : Camarillo : Ventura County Star
On a recent Sunday afternoon, members of Camarillo Boy Scout Troop 249, along with several parents, hiked up to the summit of Point Mugu peak. They began their half-day trek at the La Jolla Canyon trailhead just of the Pacific Coast Highway. The approximate 5-mile round trip made for a pleasant yet challenging day hike. On the ascent, the trail consisted of sections of gradual to steep slopes interspersed with fairly level or slightly down-hill stretches.
This 13-star flag is still in good shape. As mentioned before, old flags always catches my eye. Historic flags give a great view of our past and remind us of the path to the future. I can’t believe how good of shape this one is in.
Worcester Telegram & Gazette News
NEW LONDON, Conn.— It’s not that the New London County Historical Society didn’t appreciate the antique 13-star American flag — made of faded white and red silk ribbons hand-stitched together — that’s long been part of its collection.
In fact, a few years ago, after being prompted by a visiting scholar who worried about the precarious way the flag was hung sandwiched between two pieces of old glass, the society had it restored at the textile lab at the University of Rhode Island and reframed.
In 2006 the society gave the flag an important place in an exhibit marking the 225th anniversary of the burning of New London, and it still hangs prominently over the mantle in a front parlor of the Shaw Mansion in downtown New London.
Burning a Norwegian flag in Norway has been legal, but now you can burn an American flag without penalty, as well. The long-standing law against burning flags from other countries has been struck down. I just thought you should know.
Flag-burning no longer illegal – Aftenposten.no
The Norwegian parliament has decided to completely decriminalize the burning of flags in Norway, to promote freedom of expression.
It’s long been allowed to burn the Norwegian flag in Norway. Now the parliament’s justice committee has unanimously agreed to decriminalize the burning of other country’s flags in Norway.
“For us, freedom of expression is the most important,” said deputy leader of the justic committee Jan Arild Ellingsen of the Progress Party, Norway’s most conservative political party. Ellingsen nonetheless said he understands that many Norwegians still see flag-burning as unacceptable.
More than 3,000 Texas state Boy Scouts converged on the State Capitol and grounds in Austin on February 2 for their annual meeting with the Governor. The fifty-eighth annual event’s theme was Community Service and their meeting with Eagle Scout Rick Perry (also known as the Governor) went very well. The Austin American-Statesman has some great video of the event, showing all the boys and the fun they had Saturday.
John L. Kovach, Jr. is the major influence in Pittsburgh setting up a public flag retirement facility in a local park allowing civic groups and local residents the ability to retire their flags from service. Kovach tells his story at the website War, Peace, Tolerance and Our Soldiers. The article can serve as a blueprint for other cities looking to provide a unique service for it’s citizens. The best part … it’s right next to the Boy Scout meeting facility.
More and more cities are trying to get a handle on run-away signs and Brunswick, Georgia is no different. The city recently passed a new sign ordinance and within a few weeks gave tickets to two local businessmen because they were flying the U.S. flag at their car lots. There is more to the story available from the local newspaper.
The Brunswick News
Gary Hudgins never thought his love of the American flag would land him in Glynn County Magistrate Court.
Since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Hudgins, owner of the Carl Gregory car dealership at 5400 Altama Ave., Glynn County, has decorated every car at his dealership with an American flag. Not anymore.
On Friday, a Glynn County code enforcement officer told Hudgins the flags were in violation of a county sign ordinance adopted this past November and handed him a citation. Two weeks before, Hudgins was sent a letter from Glynn County Code Enforcement informing him of the new ordinance, which prohibits the display of banners, flags and portable signs.
Rayond Jacobs, the last living Marine in the Iwo Jima photograph, has died at the age of 82 on January 29, 2008. Honorable discharged in 1946, Jacobs spent many years proving he was the radioman in the famous raising of the American flag, and negatives from the roll of film clearly show his participation. Jacobs retired in 1992 as a reporter for the television station, KTVU-TV in Oakland, California.
We’ve mentioned before how much we like Scouts. Take a look at these guys, who are learning how to handle the flag properly. It’s a great video.
Sometimes it’s all in the motivation and for Kenny Standridge, it adds up to $28,000+. I never realized all the benefits to participating at the top level in the national Boy Scout popcorn sales, but they are substantial. Doing a little math tells me that at $30,000 in sales, Kenny will earn $9,000 for college, $12,000 for him and Troop 58, and a Hummer limousine for the day courtesy of Mom.
That’s something special!
If you see 11-year-old Kenny Standridge cruising around Spring Branch in a Hummer limousine, you’ll know Texas holds the record for the most popcorn sold by a boy scout.
Kenny, a member of the Alamo Area Council, Troop 58, has sold $28,000 worth of popcorn for the Boy Scouts of America’s nationwide fundraiser and is the top seller in the region, which encompasses 11 states.
But to capture the national title, Kenny needs to edge out his competition — a Californian scout who has raised $30,000 — by Jan. 31.
“We’re hoping to get Texas excited about how the state can win the national ranking,” said Kenny’s mom, Debbie Honeycutt.