Lately, as I’ve been driving around, I’ve noticed something that’s been bothering me. Many places including public and private buildings are displaying American Flags that are way past their prime. These tattered and torn flags need to be replaced.
I’m very proud of the American Flag and for years have displayed one at my home. Annually, I make a point to replace my flag with a crisp new one. It’s an average-sized flag for a house and replacing it sets me back about $50 a year. But I consider it my patriotic duty as an American.
Recently, I’ve begun to take notice of the flags flying around Kitsap County. At many locations, including such public places as Silverdale’s Old Town waterfront, the flags are in terrible shape. There, not only is the American Flag tattered, but the flags representing all branches of the military service are as well.
It’s not just that location. It’s many places, including government buildings, banks, schools and some private homes.
Some flags that are flying aren’t being respected. The flags are often not being flown at half-staff when such has been ordered by the President of the United States or our state governor. And sometimes, flags are being flown at night without being lit, as was the case at the Norm Dicks Government Center recently, which is in bad etiquette.
Sure, it’s not a crisis. But whenever I see an American Flag, I think of all of those who have died to keep this country free. I think keeping the flags that we fly looking proper is only right as we honor those who fought to allow us to be able to fly the flag in freedom.
Perhaps some of our civic groups could take this on as a project — to replace the flags that need replacing. Maybe there’s a Boy Scout troop or some Girl Scouts who need a community service project and would be willing to raise money to replace flags at public parks.
And, if you are a business owner, or in charge of city hall, a fire station, a school, or another public building, check on the flag that you are flying. Make sure it’s representing America in the shape it should be.
If you’re not sure about the proper way to display, raise or lower the flag, brush up on your flag etiquette. And when you have a flag that you need to retire, consult with the American Legion for when they will have their next flag burning ceremony, which is the only correct way to dispose of the flag.
The American Flag Code was established June 14, 1923, when the country celebrated its first-ever flag day. It states that no torn or tattered flags should ever be displayed. It’s a simple rule we all need to follow.