Ragged Old Flag

My family was not one that flew the flag on major patriotic holidays (Memorial Day, Flag Day, Independence Day, etc.) I don’t know why, and I never asked. One could theorize, and my May 30 post may provide some insight, but it would be just an educated guess. They may not have even owned one.
So I was a bit surprised when I went down to visit my family in North Carolina in 2002 that there was this flag motif in the front yard. Of course, my father was deceased by then, but it got me thinking that there’s one thing 9/11 definitely DID change.

(There’s an interesting debate about flag pins in the Letters to the Editor section of a webpage I came across.)

After 9/11, and the beginnings of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, there have been lots of flags put up, not just in front of homes, but from vehicles, at highway overpasses, in store windows, and the like.

Though I still don’t own a flag myself, I’ve found that I have been bothered by the well-meaning displays of the colors, but not for the reasons you might guess. It bugs me because too many of them look TERRIBLE- flags that are frayed, torn, soiled, faded.

There are rules for displaying the flag in the U.S. Code, the codification of laws in the United States, and one section deals specifically with treatment of the colors.

You don’t make a scarf for a dog in the Memorial Day parade out of a small flag (as I saw in Oneonta this year.)

When a flag is worn out, you take it and ceremonially burn it. Yes, burn it. There was a real to-do about creating an anti-flag burning amendment to the Constitution a few years back. I always wondered how it would have been worded so that the legitimate disposal of the flag could be achieved.

So, if you have a flag, or have put a flag in a public place, check it out. If it looks worn out, take it down, and dispose of it properly. If the idea of burning the flag bothers you, bring it to the local VFW. It’s very likely that they will do it for you.

If you want, get a new flag to replace the old. Do it now, in this prime flag flying period that ends on Independence Day. If you’re going to do it, do it right.

I know that Johnny Cash performed a song called Ragged Old Flag, but it was ragged because it had been through battle, not through the car wash once too often.

Author: Roger

I'm a librarian. I hear music, even when it's not being played. I used to work at a comic book store, and it still informs my life. I won once on JEOPARDY! - ditto.

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