Fag Flag Day, kids!
I am not certain if there is anyone else on our pretty spinning blue orb who is more ambivalent in demonstrating patriotism or nationalism than this writer. Not easily labeled Un-American, I simply have more important virtues to focus on, like kindness and compassion towards people, animals and the planet.
Still, I really dig the American Flag for its design and as a pop icon. Nowhere outside of Nazi Germany is there a country on this spinning blue orb where the flag is flown more places, from porches and pick-up trucks, our flag is seen all over the place. Around this time of year, between Memorial Day and Independence Day, I photograph all the flags that cross my path.
When the American Revolution began in 1775, the colonists weren’t fighting united under a single flag. Instead, most regiments participating in the war for independence against the British fought under their own flags. In June of 1775, the Second Continental Congress met in Philadelphia to create the Continental Army, with the hopes of more organized battle against its colonial oppressors. This led to the creation of what was, essentially, the first “American” flag, the Continental Colors.
On this day June 14, 1777, the Continental Congress passed a resolution that:
”The flag of the 13 United States shall be 13 stripes of alternate red and white, with a union of 13 stars of white on a blue field, representing the new constellation”.
Of all its versions, I find this one to be the most beautiful and compelling flag. I can’t think of another that pleases the eye like this one in any of its other incarnations.
In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation that officially established June 14 as Flag Day. In 1949, National Flag Day was established by an Act of Congress. Flag Day is not an official federal holiday, and it is at the president’s discretion to officially proclaim the observance.
On June 14, 1937, Pennsylvania became the first U.S. state to celebrate Flag Day as a state holiday. New York designates the second Sunday in June as Flag Day, a state holiday.
Perhaps the oldest continuing Flag Day parade is in tiny Fairfield, population 650, close to where I grew up in Spokane, Washington. Beginning in 1909 Fairfield has held a Flag Day parade every year since, except in 1918 when there was some sort of pandemic. In 2010, my then 80-year-old father drove one of his Model A Fords in the Fairfield Flag Day parade. Even with the new plague, the town is going ahead with this year’s festivities.
The largest Flag Day celebration (Troy, New York) with more than 50,000 participants has cancelled this years banner celebration because of COVID-19.
Our president will spend the holiday humping the American flag. It’s one of his favorite activities outside of tweeting on the toilet or playing golf.
Despite the fact that the so called MAGA patriots wear American flag hats and underwear, U.S. Code § 8 – Respect for flag states:
No disrespect should be shown to the flag of the United States of America; the flag should not be dipped to any person or thing. Regimental colors, State flags, and organization or institutional flags are to be dipped as a mark of honor.
The flag should never touch anything beneath it, such as the ground, the floor, water, or merchandise.
The flag should never be carried flat or horizontally, but always aloft and free.
The flag should never be used as wearing apparel, bedding, or drapery. It should never be festooned, drawn back, nor up, in folds, but always allowed to fall free. Bunting of blue, white, and red, always arranged with the blue above, the white in the middle, and the red below, should be used for covering a speaker’s desk, draping the front of the platform, and for decoration in general.
The flag should never be fastened, displayed, used, or stored in such a manner as to permit it to be easily torn, soiled, or damaged in any way.
The flag should never be used as a covering for a ceiling.
The flag should never have placed upon it, nor on any part of it, nor attached to it any mark, insignia, letter, word, figure, design, picture, or drawing of any nature.
The flag should never be used as a receptacle for receiving, holding, carrying, or delivering anything.
The flag should never be used for advertising purposes in any manner whatsoever. It should not be embroidered on such articles as cushions or handkerchiefs and the like, printed or otherwise impressed on paper napkins or boxes or anything that is designed for temporary use and discard. Advertising signs should not be fastened to a staff or halyard from which the flag is flown.
No part of the flag should ever be used as a costume or athletic uniform. However, a flag patch may be affixed to the uniform of military personnel, firemen, policemen, and members of patriotic organizations. The flag represents a living country and is itself considered a living thing. Therefore, the lapel flag pin being a replica, should be worn on the left lapel near the heart.
The flag, when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning.