Flags at half-staff: who’s being honored?

COVID deaths, mass shootings, notable deaths

half-staffWalking home from the store back on March 31, I wondered why the flag nearish the police station was at half-staff.

According to this: “Governor Andrew M. Cuomo ordered flags on state government buildings to be flown at half-staff in honor of New York State Trooper Joseph Gallagher, who died from injuries he suffered three years ago when he was struck by a vehicle while on duty assisting a disabled motorist. Flags will be at half-staff beginning on [March 28] and through interment (April 7, 2021).”

This may explain why the nearby school had its flag at full staff. It’s not a state building. It is also possible they didn’t get the memo since my wife’s school has complied.

Flags Express notes when a state, or the nation, lowers flags. Just in March, Alaska had three successive days. March 29: Vietnam Veterans Day. March 30: death of former Alaska State Representative Katie Hurley. March 31: the passing of former Alaska State Representative Ramona ‘Gail’ Phillips.

From one to the next

March 23-27, 2021 – Half Staff Alert – Entire United States. “As a mark of respect for the victims of the senseless acts of violence perpetrated on March 22, 2021, in Boulder, Colorado… I [Joe Biden] hereby order that the flag of the United States shall be flown at half-staff at the White House and upon all public buildings and grounds, at all military posts and naval stations, and on all naval vessels of the Federal Government in the District of Columbia and throughout the United States and its Territories and possessions until sunset, March 27, 2021.

“I also direct that the flag shall be flown at half-staff for the same length of time at all United States embassies, legations, consular offices, and other facilities abroad, including all military facilities and naval vessels and stations.”

The problem is that …in response to… “the senseless acts of violence perpetrated on March 16, 2021, in the Atlanta Metropolitan area,” the flags were at half-staff from March 18-22. In other words, the country went from noting one set of “senseless acts of violence” to the next. (I wonder what is meant by “sensible acts of violence.”)

So flags were ostensibly at half staff in New York State from March 18 through April 7, and a casual observer would not know why. The US flags were down for April 2-5 because the Capitol policeman killed on April 2.

Occasions

It’s interesting to see what warrants a state to have its flag at half-staff. Illinois did it for a YEAR because of COVID deaths. Other states took similar measures for much shorter periods.

Maryland designated February 20, the anniversary of Frederick Douglass’ death, as Civil Rights Heroes Day. Florida noted January 27, 2021, as International Holocaust Remembrance Day. Georgia lauded Atlanta Braves’ baseball legend Henry Louis “Hank” Aaron from January 22-27.

This is an interesting cultural study. Anyway, I’ve signed up for alerts for New York State and the United States.

Bad-Tempered, Distractible Doofus

“He asserted his authority unpredictably, as if to prove he was still in charge, staging rogue interventions into his own advisers’ policies. “

There is an article in the New Yorker called What Happens When a Bad-Tempered, Distractable Doofus Runs an Empire?

The first sentence: “One of the few things that Kaiser Wilhelm II, who ruled Germany from 1888 to 1918, had a talent for was causing outrage.” I’m guessing you thought it was about someone else, and it sort of is.

“Distractions…are everything to him.” The pattern sounds like Distractible speech: “topic maintenance difficulties due to distraction by nearby stimulus. Tangentiality: Replies to questions are off-point or totally irrelevant.” Wilhelm must have been maddening.

“He reads very little apart from newspaper cuttings, hardly writes anything himself apart from marginalia on reports and considers those talks best which are quickly over and done with.” Too bad television wasn’t widely available back then.

“One of the many things that Wilhelm was convinced he was brilliant at, despite all evidence to the contrary, was ‘personal diplomacy,’ fixing foreign policy through one-on-one meetings with other European monarchs and statesmen. In fact, Wilhelm could do neither the personal nor the diplomacy, and these meetings rarely went well…” Of course, nothing like THAT could happen in this modern age.

“He fetishized the Army, surrounded himself with generals…” How many generals have been in the current regime?
“In the administration During Wilhelm’s reign, the upper echelons of the German government began to unravel into a free-for-all, with officials wrangling against one another.” Where ARE the current leaks coming from?

“The Kaiser was susceptible but never truly controllable. He asserted his authority unpredictably, as if to prove he was still in charge, staging rogue interventions into his own advisers’ policies and sacking ministers without warning.” Sounds like hell to work for.

I wonder if the coincidence of the current head of the American regime having a birthday on Flag Day has affected some sense of faux nationalism, with that patriotism event in lieu of a visit from some of the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles.

Real respect for the American flag

“The flag should never be used for advertising purposes in any manner whatsoever.”

americanflagclothingAfter the election last year, my friend Steve noted: “I’ve only got one thing to say about the American flag:
We’ve been ‘burning’ it as a culture for decades via commercialized use of the image on everything —and I mean everything.” I totally agree, and have mentioned it on these pages before.

He pointed to section 176 of the U.S. Flag Code:

§176. Respect for flag

…(d) The flag should never be used as wearing apparel, bedding, or drapery. Continue reading “Real respect for the American flag”

Remembering Francis Bellamy

“I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”


From the Wikipedia:

The Pledge of Allegiance was written in August 1892 by Francis Bellamy (1855–1931), who was a Baptist minister, a Christian socialist, and the cousin of socialist utopian novelist Edward Bellamy (1850–1898). The original “Pledge of Allegiance” was published in the September 8 issue of the popular children’s magazine The Youth’s Companion as part of the National Public-School Celebration of Columbus Day, a celebration of the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’s arrival in the Americas.

Initially, it went like this: “I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

The Pledge was supposed to be quick and to the point. Bellamy designed it to be recited in 15 seconds. As a socialist, he had initially also considered using the words equality and fraternity but decided against it – knowing that the state superintendents of education on his committee were against equality for women and African Americans…
In 1923, the National Flag Conference called for the words “my Flag” to be changed to “the Flag of the United States”, so that new immigrants would not confuse loyalties between their birth countries and the United States. The words “of America” were added a year later.

This addition does seem to make sense, as it specifies the oath. Unfortunately, as Now I Know notes, Bellamy was also responsible for the Bellamy Salute, which was…

…very similar to the traditional Roman one, which Benito Mussolini and then Adolf Hitler adopted for their own supporters. By the early 1940s, the symbolism of such a salute was not longer one of allegiance to the American flag, but rather to Nazi Germany. On December 22, 1942, the United States Congress adopted the Flag Code, dropping the Bellamy Salute from the Pledge of Allegiance, and replacing it with the instruction that the speaker place his or her right hand over his or her heart.

“I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

The “under God” phrase wasn’t added until 1954, well after Bellamy died.