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Offline Higher Caliber

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Our flag
« on: February 13, 2018, 10:38:19 PM »
The Flag of the United States of America is simultaneously the most reverent of symbols and the most disrespected of symbols. If you want to poke the bear, burn the flag, turn it upside down, or have a picture taken of you wiping your ass with it. Even FedEx guys won’t have any of that!

This being said there are many other ways to unintentionally disrespect the flag of our great nation which are often misunderstood, overlooked, or down right ignored. I would encourage any individual who intends to handle the flag of our nation to study its history and to consider the following.

Our flag is a living breathing entity of Americanism. As our nation grew, the field of stars grew with it. In 1777 our first flag was resolved, “That the flag of the United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field representing a new constellation.” Arguably however, it wasn’t until roughly five years later in 1782, Charles Thomson, secretary of the Continental Congress first epitomized the meaning of the colors in the construction of our nation’s seal. Thomson said, “White signifies purity and innocence. Red, hardiness & valour, and Blue… signifies vigilance, perseverance & justice.” Our flag lives and breathes with our nation.

The flag code was adopted in 1923 but was not made public law until 1942. Although it is considered “law”, it is not enforceable by punishment. The flag code is merely the guidelines by which our flag should be treated. By its very definition within the code our flag lives as we live and we are instructed as a matter of respect to handle it as such, guided by the code, in our endeavor to revere it for what it symbolizes.

There is, within the code, room for differing interpretations on the use of the flag as a symbol or depiction in print, however the definition of a proper flag is pretty consistent within the code-

- “That a flag must be capable of being displayed either horizontally or vertically against a wall.” The flag is always displayed with the union in the upper left corner (per code) whether horizontally or vertically. This defines the flag must be a two sided object because in order for the flag to be displayed correctly in both positions, it would have to be flipped over when changing from horizontal to vertical.

- “That a flag must be capable of being hoisted upon flagstaff” A billboard or the back glass of a pickup truck is not capable of being hoisted upon a flagstaff, therefore these items are merely representations, or depictions of the flag. You could hoist a t-shirt or a pair of boxers up a flag, but chances are they are not printed on both sides and therefore are not a flag.

Yesterday and again this morning I found myself in debate with another individual on the United States Olympic team’s use of the flag as a drape or shawl around their shoulders after a victory. The jest of the argument was the individual would rather see it proudly draped around the shoulders than printed on a pair of underwear. I realize there is no intent to disrespect our flag in this manner (draped upon the shoulders). It is still my feeling we should not detract from the flag code as it is written and individuals representing the United States should be trained in proper flag etiquette, if they intend to display it. There are many arguments to be made for using the flag as a garment in the spirit of Americanism and Patriotism. I realize the pride in country people bearing witness to this may feel and how that feeling could be in a sense, contagious. At which point do we hold transgressions against the flag code, in the name of patriotism as going too far. Is every trespass of the flag code ok, so long as it is in the name of patriotism? Do we allow drunks to drive the last block home? Is it ok to hit your wife, just a little bit? I argue the only time our flag should be displayed as a cover, is when it drapes the casket of an individual who swore upon his life to defend it.

Is an individual less patriotic for adhering to the flag code, or more patriotic for adorning the flag? There is a story attributed to George Bernard Shaw, in which a man and woman are discussing what people would do for money. Paraphrasing here; the man asks the woman if she would sleep with him for a million dollars. The woman agrees she would. Then the man asks if she would sleep with him for five dollars. The woman becomes irate and inquires if the man thinks she is a prostitute. The man responds by saying, “That has already been established and at this point they are simply haggling a price.”

The point here is all of our actions have a price. The flag should remain priceless and its display to standard. I would hazard a hypothesis if the athletes waved the flag on a pole after a win, the same contagious effect of American badassery could be realized and the code of our flag would remain unsullied.

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« Last Edit: February 14, 2018, 05:47:24 PM by Higher Caliber »
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Offline Wilbur

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Re: Our flag
« Reply #1 on: February 14, 2018, 09:56:35 AM »
Thanks for posting this HC. I always hate it when I see someone with a flagpole without a light or a tattered flag.

Offline EL TATE

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Re: Our flag
« Reply #2 on: February 14, 2018, 11:26:52 AM »
YES! Like the guys raising the flag on that one hill after that one battle... don't think there were any soldiers on Iwo Jima wearing the flag like a blanket! Waive it proudly and I bet you get an even greater response that using it for a coat.
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