Proper treatment of the American flag? That topic seems so, well, old-fashioned in our trendy, jaded age.
One of my favorite lines from the best movie of this summer, The Avengers, comes to mind: When Captain America wonders aloud to S.H.I.E.L.D Agent Phil Coulson if his “red- white and Blue” togs aren’t a bit too “old fashioned” for the modern age, Coulsen replies reflectively, (I’m quoting from memory here): “Maybe we could use a little ‘old-fashioned’ nowadays.”
Hey, if a guy can’t respect what seem like little things, what’s to keep him from dishonoring the bigger things? Lack of dignity and decorum in what we deem dispensable matters can quickly morph into reflexive disrespect toward everything.
Yeah, our flag represents some pretty precious truths: inspiring history, high ideals and blood shed and sacrifices made to protect those ideals.
Dave Jolly ponders why that piece of tri-colored fabric deserves the proper treatment it, too often, is no longer receiving:
When I was in grade school, I was taught proper flag etiquette. Among the rules that dealt with the American flag was one that I was told was among the most important and that was to NEVER let the flag touch the ground. I remember an older boy in our school that was getting ready to raise the flag at the school one morning and when he unfolded the flag, part of it unfurled and touched the ground. The boy was severely reprimanded and had to serve detention.
In boy scouts, we were again taught proper flag etiquette. We were taught how to fold the flag, how to properly raise and lower the flag, when to fly it half-staff, how to properly destroy a damaged flag and to NEVER allow the flag to touch the ground. On windy days, as many as six scouts would work together to raise and lower the flag to prevent it from touching the ground.
My dad served in the U.S. Navy from 1940 to 1946. He served on board the A.K.A. Fomalhaut. The first part of World War II, the ship was the Navy’s largest cargo ship. In early 1943 it was converted to an ammunition ship. When fully loaded, they held enough ammunition to take out any ship within several miles of them if they took a hit. Dad told me that respect for the flag on board ship was very important and that no matter what the conditions were, the flag was never allowed to touch the deck of the ship. To do so was punishable by time in the brig and possible loss of rank [...]