Much to the kids’ frustration, we’re not throwing a 4th of July party this year. We did one last year and to Katie and Jack, that means WE DO ONE EVERY YEAR WHY DO YOU HAVE TO WRECK EVERYTHING MOM NOW WE HAVE NOTHING TO DO ALL DAY LONG AND WE’LL BE THE ONLY ONES NOT DOING FUN STUFF AND WE’RE RUNNING AWAY FROM HOME BECAUSE DID WE MENTION YOU WRECK EVERYTHING.
Victor has to work tomorrow, so even though he’ll be home by dark so we can do our lame, puny fireworks in the driveway, it just doesn’t seem worth inviting a bunch of people over when he’ll be gone most the day. We’re having a BBQ at his parents’ house this afternoon; otherwise our Independence Day festivities will be small and unimpressive.
Still, it’s a national holiday, and one must do certain things:
- One must eat too much
- One must drink too much
- One must blow shit up
I have two things to share with you as we prepare for tomorrow’s celebration:
- My 4th of July playlist from last year, which is almost too fabulous for words. Girl, you know it’s true.
- Flag etiquette. Although this info can be found in lots of places, I went directly to the source: the official United States Flag Code. Because I’m nothing if not a follower of rules. <cough>
It is the universal custom to display the flag only from sunrise to sunset on buildings and on stationary flagstaffs in the open. However, when a patriotic effect is desired, the flag may be displayed 24 hours a day if properly illuminated during the hours of darkness.
The flag should not be displayed on days when the weather is inclement, except when an all-weather flag is displayed.
A lot of people who hang flags outside their homes aren’t very good about taking them down before dark or in the rain, us included. Of course, ever since that terrorist stole our flag, we don’t put one out at all. However, following the official Flag Code is an FAQ section, in which it clarifies the weather issue:
The language of this section reflects the now-popular use of flags made of synthetic fabrics that can withstand unfavorable weather conditions. It is not considered disrespectful to fly such a flag even during prolonged periods of inclement weather. However, since the section speaks in terms of “days when the weather is inclement,” it apparently does not contemplate that on an otherwise fair day, the flag should be lowered during brief periods of precipitation.
Let’s just assume that instead of being lazy-ass homeowners, we all fly all-weather flags. Yes, let’s.
The flag should be hoisted briskly and lowered ceremoniously.
“Hoist” is a funny word. Hoist.
The flag, when flown at half-staff, should be first hoisted to the peak for an instant and then lowered to the half-staff position. The flag should be again raised to the peak before it is lowered for the day.
Seriously? They’re just messin’ with us now.
The flag should never touch anything beneath it, such as the ground, the floor, water, or merchandise. The flag should never be used as wearing apparel, bedding, or drapery. The flag should never be used as a covering for a ceiling. The flag should never be used as a receptacle for receiving, holding, carrying, or delivering anything. It should not be embroidered on such articles as cushions or handkerchiefs and the like, printed or otherwise impressed on paper napkins or boxes or anything that is designed for temporary use and discard. No part of the flag should ever be used as a costume or athletic uniform.
We can’t wear the flag? Or decorate with the flag? Or put the flag on paper stuff? Wow. I’m pretty sure no one pays attention to that part of the code anymore, because I see all of the above just about every day.
You know that old rumor about how the flag has to be burned if it ever touches the ground? The official Flag Code doesn’t actually say that, but it does give this guideline for all the jerks who’ve been flying the same frayed, old, faded flag off their bumper since 2001:
The flag, when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning.
I like this part, which makes all the detail in the official Flag Code seem a little more reasonable:
The flag represents a living country and is itself considered a living thing.
Also in the Flag Code is stuff about the national anthem and the Pledge of Allegiance.
When not in uniform men should remove any non-religious headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart.
Here are my questions about this part of the code:
- Last year, during an assembly at school in which the kids were wearing hats for a spirit week day, the principal taught them that hats should be removed when reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. I was wearing a hat at the time and quickly exited the gym so I wouldn’t have to take it off. The Flag Code does not clearly state an exception for people going through chemotherapy, so does that mean chemo patients should just wear a military uniform at all times? After all, one never knows when one will need to pledge allegiance to the flag. Hm.
- It specifically states that MEN should remove their headdresses. Is that MEN as in MANKIND or MEN as in MALES? Are women not supposed to pledge allegiance to the flag? Is that why they’re not mentioned?
- Also, I understand that HEADDRESS means hats, but the term HEADDRESS makes me think of this:
… and I’m gonna go out on a limb here and suggest that maybe they should have been more clear because I don’t think that’s the HEADDRESS our Flag Code writers had in mind.
- #3 wasn’t so much a question as it was a picture of a HEADDRESS. Maybe they should’ve used the term HEADGEAR. Then I would have this mental image:
- #4 wasn’t so much a question as it was a picture of a girl who can’t eat corn on the cob and won’t have a date until college.
OK, now you’ve got some tunes to hear and you’re flag-smart. Go blow shit up.