Thursday, July 5, 2012

Proper flag etiquette

Like any other town in the United States, State College is patriotic. Drive around town and you're sure to find flags being mutilated as they are torn apart by the wind on the back of a Harley, cars with red,white, and blue ribbon magnets with messages that admonish us to remember P.O.W.s/M.I.A.s and "Support Our Troops" -- those magnets are probably made in China.

If you're lucky enough, you might even find a house with a flag proudly displayed that is frayed with holes in it, bleached by the elements, no lighting on it at all, or dragging on the ground. But if you're really lucky, you might find that there are a few of us who actually know a thing or two about proper flag etiquette.

Last night at the Central Pennsylvana 4th Fest, there were a few things that got on my nerves. Fast.

First, as the National Anthem was being sung and the order was given for all to rise, there were a few around me who bitched and moaned about having to get off their rear end. Second, as the Star-Spangled Banner was being sung, I noticed that the most patriotic of those in attendance (you know, the ones wearing red, white, and blue and wearing t-shirts with some patriotic commentary), did not place their right hand over their heart. Rather, they opted to put their hands in their pockets or fold their arms.

While these two things irritated me, I wasn't ready for the douchebag with Old Glory draped over his shoulders and a flag bandana wrapped around his head, running around like he's some sort of neo Captain America. For those of you who know me, you know that while I tend to bitch a lot, I rarely get heated enough to say anything about things that upset me; I tend to keep my mouth shut. But this time, I had to say something. I simply yelled to this malcontent that it wasn't a cape. He turned, looked around quizically, then summarily blew me off.

I got to thinking about this, and then I realized that it might not entirely be his fault. Maybe nobody took the time to tell him that doing such a thing was a grave disrepect to the flag, veterans, prisoners of war, those killed in action, or active duty members of the military. With that in mind, if you'd like to become more savvy about the flag, I direct your attention to United States Code, Title 4, Chapter 1 - The Flag.

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