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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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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)

wallpaperwednesday-8807

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

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Breathing a sigh of relief

Larry and I have have written before about using Google Reader to search for news and stories about flags. Larry has specific search guidelines set up in his reader, and I employ a *different set, but we do overlap in searches for these words: U.S. flag, American flag, Stars and Stripes, Texas flag, and Lone Star flag.

Google screen shot

Screen capture from Deborah’s Google news reader

And as much as I love the Lone Star flag (Larry too!), we are greatly relieved that the Texas primary elections are behind us now, because our Google news readers were swamped with hits for “Texas flag” and “Lone Star flag.” Hundreds of stories every day with Texas flag or Lone Star flag—often both—in the same story, and frequently repeated several times.

From the beginning of Flags Bay, I set up my Google reader to search for every state’s flag, and now as the politicians have traveled around the country on their campaigns, that state’s flag usually shows up in the news stories.

Only Ohio’s primary came anywhere near to producing as many flag stories as the Texas primary. Ohio’s pennant-shaped flag is unique among all the state flags, and was prominently features throughout the campaign process. But Wyoming’s flag was scarcely mentioned in their recent primary election, and Wyoming has a terrific flag!

On the maps below, from the The Washington Post, the states shown in white are states that have NOT held their primary elections. I hope those state flags will be featured if for no other reason than for me to build up my reserve stock of state flag photos!

map of primaries

maps of the Primaries from the Washington Post

*Larry likes to read about fast cars; I like to read about fast boats and fast airplanes—specifically P.T. boats and B-25 bombers. Go figure.

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The Alamo Webcam

Deborah thought readers might like this. The San Antonio Express News and KENS5 sponsor the Alamo Webcam which feeds a still frame shot every thirty-seconds to a webpage.

This is a view of the plaza and the front of the mission, complete with visitors. The Alamo is open every day of the year except Christmas Eve and Christmas.

As I write this, the weather at the Alamo is cool, sunny and with enough wind to display the Lone Star flag quite nicely.

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The Winter Texan Reception (part 2)

Larry wrote yesterday about the Winter Texan Reception, a yearly event hosted by the Canyon Lake Chamber of Commerce.

Canyon Lake, here in the Texas Hill Country, was formed when the Army Corps of Engineers built a massive dam across the beautiful but unpredictable Guadalupe River. The mild winter climate, beautiful lake, and rugged hills make this area a warm haven for our northern cousins.

Winter Texan Reception 2008

from the 2008 Winter Texan Reception, Canyon Lake Chamber of Commerce

The Winter Texan Reception attracted 333 guests, and I visited with people from Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, Missouri, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota (the largest percentage). Also Tennessee, Kentucky, West Virginia, New York, and Maine. And there were folks from British Columbia, and Ontario, Canada. In fact, one of the ladies from Ontario told me that her family hoists the Lone Star flag at their lake cabin, somewhere up there (I guess when the lake is not frozen over!) I know there were more states represented, but can only vouch for these.

Area restaurants served up chili, baby-back ribs, corn chowder, salads, fresh vegetables, sandwiches, and a river of coffee and tea. Volunteers covered the dessert tables in every kind of sweets. It all smelled wonderful and I don’t think anyone went away hungry.

We watched line dancers and cloggers, an exhibition of Tai Chi (I’m sorry I don’t have their group names) and Greg English of The English Brothers, who played for us on the guitar and banjo, and sang traditional Western songs.

There were door prizes and drawings for our Winter Texans, which was a big hit. We donated a 3’x5′ flag kit. Larry and I debated over the flag—should we put in a U.S. Flag, or the state flag—but decided finally that a Winter Texan needed a Texas flag!

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2008 Clear Lake Chamber of Commerce Winter Texan Reception (part 1)

WinterTexanCrowd Yesterday, Deborah and I spent most of the day at a gathering in Canyon Lake hosted by the Canyon Lake Chamber of Commerce. The event was the annual Winter Texan Reception for our northern neighbors who like winter in our warmer climate. The south Texas hill country is a long-time destination for folks seeking less snow and more sunshine. Our shirt-sleeve weather yesterday was a big difference from the freezing temperatures back home.

This year the big winner was Minnesota! From my unofficial count of visitors from Minnesota, there aren’t enough left in the state to keep the grocery stores open. Our visitors came from locations as far away as Canada and as close as Bryan, Texas, which is just up the road a ways, in Texas mileage.

I loved talking with the visitors; it is always an educational and interesting experience. The Chamber put the final visitor headcount at 333. Add in the more than forty Chamber volunteers this year, plus vendors and it was a great crowd.

DeborahatBoothFlags Bay bought a 3′ table space for the event. As you can see from the photo, 3′ isn’t a very big space to display U.S. and Texas flags, since our smallest is 3′ x 5′, but Deborah made the best of it. Our Lone Star flag was a big people stopper—that large white embroidered star really catches the eye when viewed up close.

We set up one of our 20′ telescoping flagpoles and flew a U.S. and Texas flag to add a little color to the event. This theme this year was Stars and Cowboy Hats in a red, white, and blue color scheme, so our table space was decorated by simply displaying our flags!

Deborah will share some more tomorrow about the Winter Texan Reception, and put up more photographs.

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Three flag dilemma: What’s the right way to fly?

Deborah and I made a trip into Austin, Texas this week, and as is our custom, we avidly watched for flag displays along the route of the 70-mile trip. Out of the hundreds of displays we saw, most were absolutely correct. But I do have two ideas to write about, prompted by a particular and common arrangement I see. We didn’t have time to take photographs, but I have included graphics showing how the flags are arranged.

US and TX flagsThis three pole display consists of the taller center flagpole and two adjacent shorter flagpoles of equal height, shown in figure 1. The company has the U.S. flag correctly flying from the taller center flagpole, with Texas flags on both of the shorter poles.

I have to admit, the display is quite eye-catching, with all the red, white and blue flashing in the wind, but is it correct? 

The Texas Flag Code contains similar language to the U.S. Flag Code, except when conceding honor to the U.S. flag. Like the U.S. flag, the Texas flag flies to its own right, except when the U.S. flag is present. Normally, a flagpole configuration like this one, is adorned with the U.S. flag, Texas flag, and a company flag (of which we saw many on the trip), but this company raised a second Texas flag, displaying the second Texas flag to the left of the first Texas flag. That brought up all kinds of questions in my mind, not only about this display, but others I have seen in the past. By strict interpretation, the second Texas flag can’t be flown at this position.

LineofUSflagsIf that’s true, then what about displays with a lot of U.S. flags flying on flagpoles. Are all subsequent flags flying to the left of the initial U. S. flag in violation of the U.S. Flag Code?

This photograph from Flickr shows a long line of American flags displayed across a grassy area. This type of display is common and can be breath-taking when the wind is just enough to fly the flags.

The question arises with compliance to the Flag Code.

Here are several references in the U.S. Flag Code to the flag positions, which are.

(c) No other flag or pennant should be placed … to the right of the flag of the United States of America,

(f) No such flag or pennant may be placed … to the United States flag’s right.

The question becomes … does the Flag Code actually prohibit displays like the photo?

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Myth Busting and the Texas Flag

Galveston County Courthouse Every month I find another website that quotes a list of facts about Texas. Most of the time they quote the same "facts" about Texas picked up from other websites, because the lists are always similar. This morning, I was rummaging through my news reader and found this article, Texas Facts, with a list of twenty-two facts, including number 14.

14. Texas is the only state to enter the U.S. by TREATY, (known as the Constitution of 1845 by the Republic of Texas to enter the Union) instead of by annexation. This allows the Texas Flag to fly at the same height as the U.S. Flag, and Texas may divide into 5 states.

Having read and heard these two facts quoted for years, I decided to go to the source and see whether they were true or not. The short answer is, one is true and the other is not.

Continue reading Myth Busting and the Texas Flag

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Upside Down Texas Flag Update

P0006810 A few day ago we published a photo of a local elementary school flying the Texas flag upside down. Here’s an update on that story.

As a quick review, the school closed for a two week holiday, leaving the Texas flag flying upside down on their shiny new flag pole. The flagpole has a lock box for the ropes, so there wasn’t a way to correct the problem.

The school opened back up on Monday, January 7, and I assumed the situation would be corrected quickly; I was wrong. Knowing things would be hectic for a few days because of the long holiday break, I decided to wait a little longer for the correction, but nothing changed.

Wednesday morning, the flag was still flying upside down, so I turned into the parking lot and walked into the office to see if I could be of assistance. The lady at the office reception desk warmly greeted me as I walked in. I introduced myself and asked who I could speak with about the U.S. and Texas flags flying on their flagpole. When she asked, I explained I wanted to make them aware their Texas flag was flying upside down. The conversation was something like this.

Me: "Hi, I’m Larry Hendrick with Flags Bay and I wonder who I might talk to about the Texas flag flying upside down?"

Office worker, "What?"

Me: "Sorry, over the holidays I noticed the Texas flag was flying upside down, but with school out, there wasn’t anything that could be done."

OW: The flag is upside down?"

Me: "Yes"

OW: "Huh?"

Me: "Who takes care of the flags on the pole?"

OW: " The maintenance guys."

Me: "Can I speak to one of them?"

OW: "I can take a message, I don’t know where they are."

Me: "OK, will you tell them the Texas flag is upside down, please?"

OW: "The Texas flag?"

Me: "Yes"

OW: "OK"

The conversation went on for another few minutes, but didn’t get much better. Maybe she was not a native Texan. The idea that the flag had a “right side up” seems to confuse her.

A visual check yesterday showed that they have corrected the problem—the Texas flag is now right-side up.

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The State of Flags Today

lg US flag car lot I spent yesterday in the field, talking to people flying flags in front of their businesses. I thought you might be interested in the results of my non-scientific survey of the current state of the flags flying in this area.

  • 50% need repair (normal mending)
  • 15% need replacing (beyond mending)
  • 2% are missing pieces (out of the 15% above)
  • 20% fly corporate flags
  • 80% fly both U.S. and Texas flag
  • 50% have two or more flagpoles
  • 5% fly only Texas flag
  • 15% fly only U.S. flag
  • 5% repair flags when ends start fraying
  • 100% say flags don’t last as long as they would like

I find these statistics very interesting from a business view-point. Sixty-five percent of all the flags flying on the front of buildings or flagpoles needed mending or replacement. Many of the people I talked to weren’t aware of the condition of their flags until I pointed it out.

I don’t know if these numbers represent a national trend, but that would be a very interesting survey to conduct. I picture it going something like this.

Question: "Do you fly the U.S. flag in front of your business?"

Business: "Uh, I’m not sure, let me go out front and look."

Business: "Yes, we have a large flag pole and there’s a flag on it."

Question: "Is it the American flag or your state flag?"

Business: "Uh, I’m not sure, let me go back out and look."

Business: "It’s a U.S. flag."

Question: "What condition is it in?"

Business: "Uh, I’m not sure, let me check."

Business: "It looks pretty bad."

Question: "How will you replace your flag?"

Business: "You can replace them?"

Well, enough of that … but you get the point. That’s close to several conversations I had in person. I think it would get frustrating and take a long time to do it via telephone.

What does that say about our respect for the American flag? (not good, I think)

What are your thoughts?  Do you have a different opinion? Let us know. We’re listening …