Flag Day: America’s Forgotten Holiday – Low Calorie Diets Tips

file Photo Courtesy of Joanna Simmons: Boy Scouts reverently prepare a flag for retirement by fire.

Column by Robert VanBuhler

On June 14, 1777, the Second Continental Congress adopted the Stars and Stripes as the official U.S. flag. In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson officially declared June 14 as United States National Flag Day. Often lost after Memorial Day, and now June 19 (June 19) is still a national day of remembrance.

Photo by Robert VanBuhler: This is what a real US flag should look like.

The birth of Old Glory is attributed in American lore to Betsy Ross. Her association, primarily through church connections, with various Revolutionary War figures such as General George Washington, Robert Morris, financier of the Revolutionary War, and Colonel George Ross, a relative, lends at least credence to her involvement. However, others claim that Francis Hopkinson, a delegate from New Jersey who signed the Declaration of Independence, designed the American flag.

In 1780, Hopkinson requested payment from the Board of Admiralty for his design of the “Flag of the United States of America”. However, his request for payment was rejected on the grounds that “he was not the only one consulted on the draft”.

Both made flags. Betsy Ross did so, as evidenced by a receipt for more than £14 paid to her by the Pennsylvania State Navy Board on May 29, 1777 for the manufacture of “ship paint”. Both Ross and Hopkinson may have been involved, but the full facts are buried in history and surrounded by legend.

Old glory shouldn’t be faded glory

In any case, we proudly fly the US flag here. We fly it for our country, not for any particular political belief or purpose. As patriotic Americans and observers of flag etiquette, we take responsibility for keeping colors in good condition and displayed correctly.

Photo by Robert VanBuhler: Photographed at the Thunderbird Hills Clubhouse, this flag was proactively replaced with a brand new flag by the Homeowners Association ahead of Memorial Day.

1. The US flag should be in a state worthy of showing our respect for the flag and country. Flags that are no longer airworthy include discolored, tattered, or torn flags. Flags in poor condition should be properly disposed of by being burned in a respectful manner.

2. Flags displayed outdoors should be flown between sunrise and sunset. If they are being flown 24/7 they should be properly lit. If you can see the flag on the pole in the dark, it is considered well lit.

3. Flags hoisted in inclement weather should be made of outdoor material such as nylon or other tear-resistant materials.

Glory is faded by a weather-beaten flag

If you look around Graham County you will find examples of properly displayed US flags, and some that are no longer maintained or suitable for display. Some of our local flags are shown here.

Memorial Day, when flags are traditionally placed at veterans’ graves, has been widely seen as the starting point for flag maintenance. In many cities, the small flags are later collected and made available to the American Legion and VFW. Both have serious patriotic ceremonies set out in their statutes.

Photo by Robert VanBuhler: This replaced a blue political flag sometime last year and didn’t weather the winds well.

Locally, the Veterans of Foreign Wars Thatcher post is inactive. We were unable to contact the officially listed Boy Scouts of America contact in Safford.

There is no official federal “ritual” for disposal of the flag, but the American Legion is issuing a proclamation requesting posts across the country to hold ceremonies for the proper disposal of unusable U.S. flags on June 14. A specific ceremony is included in their ceremonial manual.

According to Eric Taylor, commander of Safford Post 32 of the American Legion, a flag-lowering ceremony will be conducted on Tuesday, June 14 at 11 a.m. as Flag Day. If you are interested in discarding an unusable flag, you may drop it off at Post 32 during business hours prior to the ceremony each day.

The American Legion Swift Murphy Post 32 is located at 531 S. 11th Ave. at Safford. The post office is on a side street next to Firth Park.

Do-it-yourself with dignity

Honor those who served by taking the time to learn how to respectfully retire and dispose of a flag.

  1. In a fire pit or safe, open area, start a fire large enough and strong enough to completely burn the flag. (Be sure to follow your local fire codes and ordinances.)
  2. Fold the soiled or worn flag into the traditional triangle shape. When you’re done, the blue box with stars should be the most visible section. See attached drawing.
  3. Be careful not to burn yourself and place the folded flag on the fire.
  4. When the flag is burning, take a moment to observe and respect it. Salute or recite the Pledge of Allegiance, ending with a moment of silence to contemplate its symbolism.
  5. Once the flag is completely burned and there is no material left, you can put out the fire or let it burn out on its own. After the ceremony, the ashes were to be buried.

As a patriotic American, you might find this season a good time to lower your old flag and fly a new one. Double-stitched outdoor flags made from durable materials can be purchased for $20 or less. Traditional flag sizes are 3′ x 5′ and for larger poles 5′ x 8′. A good choice in Graham County’s high wind conditions on a small lot might be a 2′ x 3′ version.

To really show your patriotism, buy one that’s made in the USA.

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