I just watched Whiskey Tango Foxtrot on pay per view. Thought I would catch a comedy I missed in theaters before my sons and I headed to Havre de Grace for family day at the carnival, an annual event that”s part of the town’s spectacular Fourth of July celebration.
There were funny scenes for sure. What I didn’t expect was a timely lesson in patriotism. No real spoiler here, but at the movie’s end, Tina Fey’s character visits a Marine she met during her first few days as an embedded journalist in Afghanistan. Both characters are stateside, her with wounds of conscience and him missing both legs, thanks to an IED.
A long shot shows the Stars and Stripes flying alongside the Marine Corps colors in his yard. The flags weren’t flown at the same height, of course, because this Marine knows his flag etiquette. Old Glory was taller, prouder… first.
I do not fly the American flag on front of my home. Not from a lack of patriotism; in fact, just the opposite. Homeowners and businesses who choose to fly our country’s flag should accept the responsibility that comes with it. Do it right. I’m not able to commit to it
Driving around my adopted hometown of Aberdeen, I see the Red, White and Blue weathered to pink, gray and purple. I see frayed flags. I see flags flying unlit at night and in the rain. I see the American Flag and state, service and even sports team flags flying at equal heights.
The worst? A distribution warehouse that will go unnamed had Old Glory flying not at half-mast, but shamefully flying tall and proud during the mourning period set by the President of the United States for the 49 mostly young, mostly gay, mostly Hispanic people killed in the Orlando terrorist attack.
Do we infer that this company is anti-gay? Are its leaders biased against Hispanics? Likewise, do we infer that homeowners who fly flags that should have been retired years ago or unlit as etiquette requires are anti-American? Whiskey Tango Foxtrot indeed.
I’m sure laziness, complacency, ignorance and a lack of responsibility are more likely to blame. So…. Please…
Fly our nation’s symbol proudly, properly. Educate yourself. Assign a staff member to track when federal and state flags are ordered to half-mast. Check outdoor flags for serviceability when daylight savings time begins and ends, just as you check smoke detector batteries. Or don’t fly the flag at all.
A concise guide to flag etiquette can be found by visiting http://www.usa-flag-site.org/flag-etiquette/.