ANNAPOLIS – Americans are responding to the terrorist tragedies in New York and Washington by displaying the flag in great numbers. Veterans groups are generally pleased by this consequence, but would like to see Old Glory properly flown.
“I’m just happy to see them flying,” said Frank Burchill, Maryland state commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. “All this sucker did was make this country angry. And that wasn’t a good idea.”
Displaying a flag is a symbol of hope for everyone, said Lou Koerber, president of the National Flag Day Foundation, based in Baltimore.
“The most important thing we can do now is fly our flags,” he said. “Our flag has always been a symbol of our nation.”
While flag advocates are glad to say long may it wave, they want to remind people there are certain guidelines to keep in mind when displaying the Stars and Stripes.
– The flag should be flown at half-staff until Sept. 16, as ordered by President Bush. It should first be hoisted briskly to the staff’s peak before being lowered ceremoniously to the halfway point.
– The flag may be displayed after dark if properly illuminated by a single light shining on it or by a fixture such as a porch light. Without illumination, the flag should be taken down at dusk.
– An older flag that was once the official design is acceptable for display, even if it has fewer than 50 stars.
– When the flag is suspended from a wall or building, the flag union (blue field of stars) should be on the upper-left and it should lay flat.
“Obviously, you’d like to see them hung appropriately, but it’s the thought that counts,” said Thomas Davis, Maryland adjutant of the American Legion.
Folks displaying the flag incorrectly, said legion Americanism Director Michael Buss, are well intentioned.
“Once they find out and realize that they correct it,” he said. “People want to be patriotic and fly their flag and that’s great.”
– 30 – CNS-9-14-01