16 thoughts on “The Flag in Winter

  1. The flag should be situated so that it never touches anything beneath or to the side of it. Especially not the fence which will eventually fray the edges and request destruction.

    If it’s on a porch, it’s reasonable to take it in the evening and put it out at day break. You can have a very short ceremony twice a day. Post pictures from time to time!

    I lost a leg in combat fighting under that flag. Can you please treat it right?

  2. dpmaine, ken.C: looks like a perspective trick re: the fence. As for lowering and raising, so long as it is an all-weather flag and is lighted at night, OGH may fly the flag for 24 hours a day “for a patriotic effect” per the US Flag Code.

  3. I concur, the drape of the flag would change if it was actually touching the fence. it’s just John’s fancy artistic tricks with a camera!

  4. dpmaine:

    [First rather annoyed response deleted because I realize you're not trying to be an asshole, you're just trying to show respect for the flag -- JS]

    Shorter version: It’s not a fence (it’s a Christmas decoration) and the flag is in front of it, moving in the wind (I was there, I can vouch for it). I’m pretty well versed in flag etiquette. And when my flags show eventual wear and tear (and they do, it’s windy here), we ship them off to the local VFW, which has a flag drop-off for proper disposal.

  5. JS– you can be annoyed if you want (it is your blog). I have noticed a long history of flag handling abuses and this one jumped out at me. If you say that the flag can’t touch the not-fence made from fence parts, great. Happy to hear it.

    But other photos show the same pattern I thought I saw here: sloppy flag handling.

    Improper display
    http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5453/9494668368_e01f3fb338.jpg

    Flag is obviously long enough to touch the railing/wood post
    http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2889/9210242900_fb72382dd6.jpg

    Descrated with Toilet Paper
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/scalzi/10146510544/in/photostream/

    Improperly used as cloak
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/scalzi/167130660/

    Unless you have a really clever light that isn’t obvious in the photos of your front porch, it’s probably not properly illuminated.

    Etiquette is using the right fork. The Flag Code is your legal responsibility if you elect to fly the flag of the United States of America. You have an obligation to not be familiar with it, but to follow it.

  6. The Flag Code is your legal responsibility if you elect to fly the flag of the United States of America.

    Not really, no. From a Congressional Research Service report (http://www.senate.gov/reference/resources/pdf/RL30243.pdf ) on the flag code: “the Flag Code does not proscribe conduct, but is merely declaratory and advisory.”

    Unless you have a really clever light that isn’t obvious in the photos of your front porch, it’s probably not properly illuminated.

    The Flag Code does not say that a flag has to be illuminated unless it is displayed overnight (which is permissible, despite legends to the contrary.)

  7. dpmaine:

    “Unless you have a really clever light that isn’t obvious in the photos of your front porch, it’s probably not properly illuminated.”

    In fact, we have a solar powered light in the landscaping in front of the flag which allows the flag to be illuminated at night. Because, you know. I am familiar with how a flag should be displayed.

    “You have an obligation to not be familiar with it, but to follow it.”

    You are wrong on both counts. In fact, no one is under any obligation, legal or otherwise, to follow the Flag Code if they choose not to. The United States Flag Code is a law but it is an advisory law, and it’s well established that the First Amendment takes precedence over it. Which is to say the United States dictates how it prefers the flag to be used, but cannot nor will enforce such use punitively because the Constitutional right of freedom of speech takes precedent. Inasmuch as you once took an oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States, and you were using that time of service to make an argument as regards the flag, I assume you are fine with this as well.

    The moral of this particular story is that when choosing to lecture someone about their obligations and responsibilities under the law, it helps to understand what those obligations and responsibilities are, or in this case are not. As an aside, the law codifies an etiquette regarding a flag; that it is a law does not also mean it is not an etiquette. When attempting to correct someone on what etiquette means, it’s useful to understand that as well.

    Bear in mind, dpmaine, that I suspect you and I are of the same mind in terms of the idea that if one chooses to display the flag, that flag should be treated with respect as a symbol of things one holds ideal regarding the United States, and that proper display includes understanding flag etiquette. Very little annoys me more than people demanding that the flag deserves respect, but then displaying a flag in poor condition. That said, my annoyance with them is that they are hypocrites, not that they are criminals.

    In any event, dpmaine, I think you should really stop trying to lecture me (or for that matter anyone else) on the flag.

  8. [Deleted because dpmaine crossed the line into being a tiresome asshole with this response. Dpmaine, your assumptions are incorrect, both about the law and regarding me, your sense of entitlement regarding the flag is unwarranted and being corrected about your incorrect beliefs regarding obligation appears to have made you defensive. You're off the thread - JS]

  9. Flying the banners for the Scalzi Christmas Court? As you’ve already named Athena as your successor, I hope yours is a less dramatic affair than the post’s titular inspiration…

    (RIP Mr. O’Toole)

  10. I think it’s very nice. And since it’s obviously not touching ye Xmas decor (by a few feet, I’d say), and I remember the 24/7 front porch light from the neighbor TP attack, looks fine to me.

    Also, since I have noticed that John is a pretty smart guy, who cares about the USA enough to display a flag, I would not immediately assume that he doesn’t know the flag code.

  11. Ach, but WHY do you have a flag? Flags are pieces of cloth, and the symbolic value they accumulate is unhealthy. Flags are like dogs — people love them and take care of them better than they do other human beings.

    For example, if you leave a dog or a flag outside in the cold overnight, there will be self-righteous patriots and/or animal lovers (often overlapping, since Real Patriots Love Dogs) will be on your doorstep to critique you or write letters to the newspaper complaining about how Rover and/or Flagee is being abused and how this represents the dissolution of American society and “traditional values”. On the other hand, the thousands of people outside in the cold every night sleeping by the river or in alleys are just public nuisances and regarded as stupid leeches too lazy to find a job.

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