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Flag Code and Decorum question

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I am a little put out by something and I want some reactions:


I am always late for the District Committee meetings. The meetings begin on a night I have a standing company conference call and cannot beg off from the call. The call starts at 7PM and the District Meeting starts at 7:30PM. I come to meeting as soon as the call is over but am usually 45-60 minutes late.


Last time I walk into the room where the meeting is being held and the tables are in a square shape, as I sit down I notice the American flag is to the left of the Committee Chair, the person running the meeting. I tried to ignore that the flag was in the wrong position but it bothered me to the point that I got up and changed it and sat back down. Nothing was said at the time, although I did get some smiles and nods of what I took as approval when I sat down. I didnt say anything, I just moved the flag to where it should have been.


I just got an Email from the Committee chair who thinks it was inappropriate that I moved the flag in the manner I did and has asked me not to do so in the future. I am aghast. It seems not embarrasing the person who placed the flag incorrectly is more important that flag protocol.


Had I placed the flag inncorrectly, I would have been humiliated if it was wrong, but I would not be anngry at the person who corrected it, but at myself for doing wrong in the first place. I am rather unsettled at the moment, what do you guys think?


What do you think?

(This message has been edited by oldgreyeagle)

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You can always reply that you will gladly leave any appropriately placed flag exactly where it is, and you may want to invite him to review the flag placement, as described on page 44 of the Boy Scout Handbook (that is the version I have, which may be a 3 or 4 years old).


As I recall, it was in my scout handbook (that was the late 70s HB), complete with watercolor type illustrations showing a person on a small stage with the flag to the speaker's right.

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OGE, you were 100% correct in what you did and the reasoning behind it. My first impression of the e-mail would be that the committee chair had been the one who had misplaced the flag in the first place.


Let it go, you did just fine.



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I can be rather pedantic about Flag etiquette. I agree with BuffaloSkipper. Of course, my email would also point to the Legion or VFW Flag etiquette websites, and probably would include an ad hominem attack for good measure.


Kind? NO.


Gets the point across at point-blank range? Yes.

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I'm kind of a stickler for flag decorum as well. One thing I would have done differently in this situation though is not get up and move the flag while the meeting was going on. A word to the Committee Chair after the meeting would have been a better approach.

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So let me understand, it's ok to be disrespectful of a living, breathing person as long as the disrespect is to correct a perceived disrespect of a cloth on a staff? Yes, I know the flag is that cloth and therefore no ordinary cloth - but still the point is as much as we would all agree that having the flag displayed properly is it not more important to be considerate of the chair and the people in the room? Does not people take precedence over objects?


By taking this action, weren't you deliberately being disruptive of a meeting in progress? Would this not have been better handled by a quiet word at the end of the meeting?


Ask yourself this question - in correcting the flag placement to be in line with the flag code, was there any points of the Scout Law that were bent? I'd say courteous took a hit, friendly may have taken a hit (I can see how someone might consider this to be a bit of passive-aggressive hostility), kind may have taken a hit, helpful may have taken a hit. I'd send a mea culpa note back to the Chair.



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I agree with CalicoPenn.


Due to the fact that you arrived late, for whatever reason, how do you know the "speaker" did not move and the flag was correctly placed at the beginning of the meeting?


I incorrectly used the term "half-mast" when teaching flag etiquette for IOLS last weekend. I was informed by by a participant that I was in error. I had no issue with that but if he had blurted out and interrupted my presentation during the instruction period I would have been slightly perturbed - even though he was correct and I was in error.

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Hey, hey, I vote for the mean streak. That's a whole lot more interesting. But sorry, gwd, I just don't see it. You're a cream puff and there's no way to deny it. ;)


Folks, what we have here is a case of thin skin on a whole lot of us. What's the bid deal? I'm with Calico and gwd, coming in late and moving that flag is like some kind of grand entrance demonstration. A simple question to the CC after the meeting to clarify how the flag got to the wrong position would have done the needed communication and left personal feelings less ruffled.

Take if from someone who LOVES to tickle the tail of the dragon, all you 'in-your-face' flag sticklers, you need to be prepared to get singed once in a while and to take the heat graciously.


Alternatively I invite you to knock on the door of my neighbor down the street and make him fly the American Flag above the Confederate Flag on his flag pole instead of the opposite way he has them up right now. I dare ya.

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I don't recall taking an oath to defend the flag of the United States of America when I took the oath upon being commissioned an Ensign in the Coast Guard Reserve. I do, however, recall taking an oath to defend the Constitution of the United States of America.


Maybe it's because of the kind of people I know but most of the veterans I know never say they fought for the flag. They say they fought for the country, for the principles of the country, and for their friends and family. I doubt that they would agree that their friends died for the flag. If pressed on the issue of deliberate disrespect for the flag, most of the veterans I know find the practice personally abhorent yet insist they fought to protect the rights of the people to do so.


If Congress decided tomorrow that the offical Flag of the United States of America would be orange and purple with white polka dots, I'd salute it - just as long as they didn't trample the Constitution to make that decision.

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Amen Brother Calico....


"I swear to defend the Constitution of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic, to bear true faith and allegience to the same, and do so without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion, SO HELP ME GOD."


Nothing in my oath as an ROTC graduate about a flag. Servicemembers swear an oath to the Consitution, not to the flag, not to the congress, and thank God not to the President.


That being said - I do understand why folks get so testy about flag protocol. The moving of the flag was probably meant in no mean manner, however, taken with the showing up late to the meeting... I can see how it ruffled someone's feathers. Hindsight, it would have been better to ask after the meeting, but like a LOT of leaders I know... you saw a problem and applied a solution, case closed.


At least you didn't brow beat the guy for not having correct protocol presented. It could have been more tactful, but it could have been much worse.


Better than the time I had to physically restrain my 80+ year old grandfather (former Marine Raider) at a baseball game because some retard flat out refused (after my grandfather requested) that he remove his hat during the National Anthem. While I would have liked to kick the punk in the butt myself, I was too busy restraining my grandfather from physically assulting the guy. Grandpa was right - he just wasn't going about it the right way...

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Solemnly swear to Support and defend...


...that I take this obligation freely, without mental reservation or purpose of evasion, and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office...


I've said more than once that most natural borns are not under the same strictures as a natrualized American, a member of the Federal Civil Service, or the Armed Forces, or even (since his oath is in the Constitution), the President.


For years at ceremonies where most would say the Pledge of Allegiance, I would sotto voce recite my Oath. It was a touchstone.


With retirement orders in hand, I don't do that as often anymore, but I certainly take advantage of the Public Law entitling me to my salute.


Yes, the Color means something. It's a link to why I joined, to the Constitution, and to all who are/were comrades-in-arms.


It's getting on Memorial Day. If I don't say it again, to those who are or were, THANK YOU.

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