Old Glory Flies High over Mitchell, Tattered & Torn

by Staff on September 24, 2011 · 2 comments

in Local

Post image for Old Glory Flies High over Mitchell, Tattered & Torn

NOTE: The Flag pictured above is NOT the flag mentioned in this article.

I was visiting with my grandmother in Mitchell one day when she mentioned to me the damaged United States Flag flying high above the feed store on Main Street. We walked out onto her front porch so that I could see it for myself.

A few moments later, I was on the telephone with the gentleman in charge, telling him about the state of the flag. He mentioned that he was aware of its condition and agreed that it needed replaced. Because he sounded like an older gentleman, I told him that I, personally, would be happy to purchase a new flag, climb up, and replace it.

He declined my offer, but ensured me that the flag would be replaced within a few days.

A few days ago — many, many months after my phone call — I found myself again sitting on my grandmother’s front porch, looking up at the flag flying high over the City of Mitchell, when I realized that the flag had still not been replaced.

It then occurred to me that this damaged, tattered flag was flying over our City on Flag Day, the Fourth of July, and, of course, on September 11th. As the parade passes by the feed store this afternoon, this same flag will still be flying overhead.

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.

To me, this is simply a complete lack of respect. I have tried, but failed, to think of any good reason why this flag has not been replaced, especially considering the amount of time that has passed since my original phone call.

Today, while you’re in Mitchell for the last day of the Persimmon Festival — the theme of which is “To Protect & Serve” — I encourage you to look up in the sky above the feed store at what remains of this symbol of our freedom.

I’m guessing that the store won’t be open today, but I would encourage all of you to take a moment Monday to either stop by or call and suggest to them that the flag be replaced.

Sitting out on my grandmother’s porch, I’m convinced that my grandfather, were he still alive, would simply have climbed up there, quietly, and replaced the flag himself.

I’d do that too, except they’d probably have me arrested for it.

Standards of Respect for the United States Flag

  • The flag should never be dipped to any person or thing, unless it is the ensign responding to a salute from a ship of a foreign nation.
  • The flag should never be displayed with the union (the starred blue union) down, except as a signal of dire distress in instances of extreme danger to life or property.
  • The flag should not be used as “wearing apparel, bedding, or drapery”, or for covering a speaker’s desk, draping a platform, or for any decoration in general (exception for coffins).
  • The flag should never be drawn back or bunched up in any way.
  • The flag should never be used as a covering for a ceiling.
  • The flag should never be used for any advertising purpose. It should not be embroidered, printed, or otherwise impressed on such articles as cushions, handkerchiefs, napkins, boxes, or anything intended to be discarded after temporary use. Advertising signs should not be attached to the staff or halyard.
  • 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 not be used as part of a costume or athletic uniform, except that a flag patch may be used on the uniform of military personnel, firefighters, police officers, and members of patriotic organizations.
  • Flag lapel pins may also be worn (they are considered replicas) and are worn near the heart.
  • The flag should never have placed on it, or attached to it, any mark, insignia, letter, word, number, figure, or drawing of any kind.
  • The flag should never be used as a receptacle for receiving, holding, carrying, or delivering anything.
  • The flag should never be stepped on.
  • In a parade, the flag should not be draped over the hood, top, sides, or back of a vehicle, railroad train, or boat. When the flag is displayed on a motorcar, the staff shall be fixed firmly to the chassis or clamped to the right fender.
  • When the flag is lowered, no part of it should touch the ground or any other object; it should be received by waiting hands and arms. To store the flag it should be folded neatly and ceremoniously.
  • The flag should be cleaned and mended when necessary.
  • If the flag is being used at a public or private estate, it should not be hung (unless at half staff or when an all weather flag is displayed) during rain or violent weather.
  • When a flag is so tattered that it can no longer serve as a symbol of the United States, it should be destroyed in a dignified manner, preferably by burning.
  • The flag should never touch anything beneath it. Contrary to an urban legend, the flag code does not state that a flag that touches the ground should be burned. Instead, it is considered disrespectful to the flag and the flag in question should be moved in such a manner so it is not touching the ground.
  • The flag should always be permitted to fall freely. (An understandable exception was made during the Apollo moon landings when the flag hung from an extensible horizontal bar, allowing full display even in the absence of an atmosphere.)
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