Sunday, November 12

Flag Etiquette Lessons With Lenny

I stand and cover my heart for the pledge and the anthem. I think it's stupid to do otherwise. The US Constitution protects the right for a lot of people to do a lot of stupid things. I am a Constitutional Conservative, so I respect the wisdom of our Founders.
Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry said this about flag etiquette, and it got me a bit worried.
I had learned somewhere along the line that it was OK to stand with my hands at my side during the National Anthem. I will admit that I was wrong, and I've read the U.S. Code all the way back to 1931 just to make sure I wasn't remembering something I'd read that was older. Therefore, I will follow the rules next time I rise for the song, and I hope I didn't offend anyone in the years I spent thinking I was right. 

However, I remembered some other rules I'd learned at Badger Boys State back in the day, and I thought I'd share some of those with the rest of Jacksonville. 

§6. Time and occasions for display
It is the universal custom to display the flag only from sunrise to sunset on buildings and on stationary flagstaffs in the open. However, when a patriotic effect is desired, the flag may be displayed twenty-four hours a day if properly illuminated during the hours of darkness.
Light your flag or take it down at night. I have seen this one ignored over the years, even by some of my own relatives.
§7. Position and manner of display
The flag of the United States of America should be at the center and at the highest point of the group when a number of flags of States or localities or pennants of societies are grouped and displayed from staffs.

The following photo appears to be an example of the flags displayed improperly, with the American flag at the same level and at the left (it's own), not centered. I assume Mayor Curry noticed the problem and had it fixed after the photo was taken.

§8. Respect for flag

i. The flag should never be used for advertising purposes in any manner whatsoever. 
j.  No part of the flag should ever be used as a costume or athletic uniform.
I was always told you don't wear the flag or use it for advertising, or slap a big eagle on it. These fans at a soccer game in (not in Jax) don't appear to mind that they are seemingly breaking flag etiquette.

I'm not going to say these are all stupid people or people doing stupid things. I tried once to complain about a tattered flag flying day and night, and the local police told me there was nothing that could be done, so I kind of gave up being the flag policeman at that point. Perhaps the Constitution trumps the other codes on the books, but I'd like to think most of us would follow most of the rules if we knew them, which is why I appreciate Mayor Curry for reminding me.

I'm not sure that there's a hierarchy of sins against the flag or a rating system for what is more stupid than anything else. I guess me putting my hands at my sides instead of my heart for the past two decades might be seen as pretty stupid. My intent was not to offend, just as JaxShines and the American Outlaw soccer fans didn't intend to offend, so I won't call their actions stupid or offensive. Then again, name calling is for people who can't win arguments, so I don't tend to do that at all. I prefer to call them Americans.

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