Flag This! (an update)

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by Dahni
© 2015, all rights reserved

This post is an update to a previous one, which you may view by click on the following link: FLAG THIS

Believe it or not, I have three favorite colors and they just happen to be, red, white and blue. I have been blessed to live in the country and to have seen over our back yard, two bald eagles soaring in the sky. I may not be brave, but I still live, “in the land of the free and the home of the brave.” As of October 30th, 2015, we now proudly have a flagpole, for our “stars and the stripes”“Old Glory,” the flag of the United States of America.

Flag1

Our Flag at The Gathering Place

The pole was a gift from a Vietnam veteran to a Navy Veteran and he not only gifted me with this honor, but he also helped me to install it. Thank you, Mat Burton, my friend. I thank you unknown Vietnam veteran and Mat for your service to our country and for this blessing which now graces the outside of our home that we affectionately call, ‘The Gathering Place.’ May countless numbers of people ‘gather’ here to behold it and may it ever wave in the land of the free and the home of the brave!

I promise to do my best to honor and respect this gift and all it represents.

I recognize that there are some of a religious group that believe a “pledge” and “allegiance” are associated with swearing an oath and their religion forbids them from saying the ‘pledge of allegiance’ or saluting the flag that rises above the very ground where they live and are free to believe what they want to believe. I do not interpret or associate the words “pledge” or “allegiance” or the placing of my hand over my heart or saluting the flag as swearing an oath. But I wonder if the same people who reject the pledge of allegiance or saluting the flag on these grounds, realize they have already sworn at least one oath if not many? If anyone has ever been required to give testimony in a court of law, they have sworn or affirmed a spoken oath to tell the truth. If anyone has ever filed an income tax form, you should read or re-read the very bottom of the return. It says:

“Under penalties of perjury, I declare that I have examined this return and accompanying schedules and statements, and to the best of my knowledge and belief, they are true, correct, and complete.”

This is called a tacit (implied, but non-spoken) oath and carries the same force as if it were spoken. But no such or any kind of sworn, spoken or implied oath was ever intended, by any citizen of the United States of America. Oaths were only for new citizens, the military and those that actually, really and truly, work for the government. And that oath was not to God, the heavens, a royal, or to the earth, but to a thing, the Constitution of the United States of America. From a Puritan’s standard, like William Penn, who opened the doors to religious freedom and planned the city of “Brotherly Love,” (Philadelphia, PA), our founders were opposed to oaths. But realizing that it is not a crime to do nothing, they understood that all those working for the government had to do was just show up and collect their paychecks—that’s it, nothing else. So they made it a requirement to swear an oath to a thing, the Constitution of the United States of America, to hold them to accountable and if not, they would be guilty of perjury (lying under oath)!

I do not know what the flag, our flag might mean to you, but I can tell you what it means to me.

Charles Thompson, Secretary of the Continental Congress, reporting to Congress on the United States Seal, stated:

“The colors of the pales (the vertical stripes) are those used in the flag of the United States of America; White signifies purity and innocence, Red, hardiness & valour, and Blue, the color of the Chief (the broad band above the stripes) signifies vigilance, perseverance & justice.”

From the book “Our Flag” published in 1989 by the House of Representatives

“The star is a symbol of the heavens and the divine goal to which man has aspired from time immemorial; the stripe is symbolic of the rays of light emanating from the sun.”

published in 1977 by the House of Representatives

I know whom my God and Father is. He is MY “Chief” And I know of Him, by Him and For Him, this republic that was just a whisper, became a shout heard all around the world!

I will briskly hoist the flag day by day when I get up in the morning, weather permitting. I will display it between sunrise and sunset. Once it has been hoisted, I will look upward, face it, and with my right hand over my heart, I will say aloud MY, ‘Pledge of Allegiance.’

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

On occasion, I will read the following:

“I – – Me; an individual; a committee of one.
Pledge – – Dedicate all of my worldly goods to give without self-pity.
Allegiance – – My love and my devotion.
To the Flag – – Our standard; Old Glory ; a symbol of Freedom; wherever she waves there is respect, because your loyalty has given her a dignity that shouts, Freedom is everybody’s job.
United – – That means that we have all come together.
States – – Individual communities that have united into forty-eight great states. Forty-eight individual communities with pride and dignity and purpose. All divided with imaginary boundaries, yet united to a common purpose, and that is love for country.
And to the Republic – – Republic–a state in which sovereign power is invested in representatives chosen by the people to govern. And government is the people; and it’s from the people to the leaders, not from the leaders to the people.
For which it stands
One Nation – – One Nation–meaning, so blessed by God.
Indivisible – – Incapable of being divided.
With Liberty – – Which is Freedom; the right of power to live one’s own life, without threats, fear, or some sort of retaliation.
And Justice – – The principle, or qualities, of dealing fairly with others.
For All – – For All–which means, boys and girls, it’s as much your country as it is mine.

And now, boys and girls, let me hear you recite the Pledge of Allegiance:

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.

Since I was a small boy, two states have been added to our country, and two words have been added to the Pledge of Allegiance: Under God. Wouldn’t it be a pity if someone said that is a prayer, and that would be eliminated from schools, too?”

Red Skelton around 1952

On occasion, I will sing to the best of my ability, the first stanza of, ‘America.’

“My country, ’tis of Thee,
Sweet Land of Liberty
Of thee I sing;
Land where my fathers died,
Land of the pilgrims’ pride,
From every mountain side
Let Freedom ring.”

On occasion, I will sing to the best of my ability, the first and last stanzas of, ‘America the Beautiful’

“O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain.
America! America! God shed His grace on thee,
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea.

O Beautiful for patriot dream
that sees beyond the years.
Thine alabaster cities gleam,
Undimmed by human tears.
America! America! God shed his grace on thee,
And crown thy good with brotherhood,
From sea to shining sea.”

With my right hand still over my heart, I will sing daily, to the best of my ability, the first stanza of the National Anthem.

“Oh, say, can you see, by the dawn’s early light,
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars, thro’ the perilous fight’
O’er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming.
And the rockets red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
Oh, say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?”

At sunset each day, I will slowly lower our flag to waiting arms and not allow it to touch the ground and then fold it thus:

I have adapted the following for my own purposes. If you would like the specific wording see: ‘Flag This‘ and scroll to, ‘Folds of the Flag’

But while the flag is being folded, the following will either be read or a recording played of the reading:

Our flag, my flag, I fold you first as a symbol of life.

This second fold is for the belief in eternal life.

This third fold (the first triangle) is for the veteran that gave a portion of their life to defend this country and to extend peace through Liberty, to the entire world.

The fourth fold is for our weaker nature that we must turn to God in times of peace and war, for His divine guidance.

The fifth fold is for grace, to find favor in dealing with other nations. We may be right or wrong, but this is still our country.

The sixth fold is for where the heart lies. It is with the heart that I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

The seventh fold is for our Armed Forces that protect our country and our flag, against all enemies, foreign and domestic.

The eighth fold is for every mother who has entered into the valley of the shadow of death and for whom this flag flies, on Mother’s Day.

The ninth fold is a tribute to all women that through their believing, love, loyalty and devotion, the character of the men and women who have made this country great, have been molded.

The tenth fold is a tribute to all fathers, for they too have guided and given sons and daughters, for the defense of our country.

The eleventh fold, in the eyes of a Hebrew citizen, represents the lower portion of the seal of King David and King Solomon, and glorifies, in their eyes, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

The twelfth fold, in the eyes of a Christian citizen, represents an emblem of eternity and glorifies, in their eyes, God the Father, His son Jesus Christ and His gift of holy spirit. [modified]

When the flag is completely folded, the stars are uppermost, reminding us of our national motto, “In God we Trust.”

(Wait for the Honor Guard or Flag Detail to inspect the flag–after the inspection, resume reading.)

After the flag is completely folded and tucked in, it takes on the appearance of a cocked hat, ever reminding us of the soldiers who served under General George Washington and the sailors and marines who served under Captain John Paul Jones who were followed by their comrades and shipmates in the Armed Forces of the United States, preserving for us the rights, privileges, and freedoms we enjoy today.

During inclement weather, heavy winds and after sunset, this flag will either NOT be flown or taken down and folded.

Flag 3

At Night

Flag 2

Our Flag folded

I will display the flag from sunrise to sunset, on all days when the weather permits, especially on:

New Year’s Day ♦ Inauguration Day ♦  Martin Luther King’s Birthday ♦ Lincoln’s Birthday ♦ Washington’s Birthday ♦ Easter Sunday ♦ Patriots Day (April 19) ♦ National Day of Prayer (1st Thursday of May) ♦ Mother’s Day ♦ Armed Forces Day ♦ Memorial Day (half-staff until noon) ♦ Flag Day ♦ Independence Day (July 4th) ♦ Labor Day ♦ Constitution Day ♦ Columbus Day (October 12th) ♦ Navy Day ♦ Veterans Day ♦ Thanksgiving Day ♦ Christmas Day ♦ Election Days

I will display the flag, on such other days as may be proclaimed by the President of the United States, state and local holidays, my state birthday (date of admission to the Union) New York (11th of Original 13) July 25, 1788**(1st U.S. Flag Design/13-Stars)

On some occasions and particularly July 4th, a portion of the Declaration of Independence will be read as such:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long-established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”

On some occasions, the preamble to the Untied States Constitution will be read as such:

“We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

And finally, on some occasions I may read the words or play a recording of the beloved ‘TAPS,’ day is done.

Taps

I will fly the flag at half-staff only in accordance with:

The Flag in Mourning

I will place the flag at half-staff, hoist it to the peak for an instant and lower it to a position half way between the top and bottom of the staff. The flag is to be raised again to the peak for a moment before it is lowered. On Memorial Day, the flag will be displayed at half-staff until noon and at full staff from noon to sunset.

The flag will be flown at half-staff in mourning for designated, principal government leaders and upon presidential or gubernatorial order.

“FLYING THE FLAG AT HALF-STAFF: The pertinent section of the Flag Code says, “by order of the President, the flag shall be flown at half-staff upon the death of principal figures of the United States Government and the Governor of a State, territory, or possession, as a mark of respect to their memory. In the event of the death of other officials or foreign dignitaries, the flag is to be displayed at half-staff according to Presidential orders, or in accordance with recognized customs or practices not inconsistent with law.

In the event of the death of a present or former official of the government of any State, territory, or possession of the United States, the Governor of that state, territory, or possession may proclaim that the National flag shall be flown at half-staff.” The code also includes other related details including the specific length of time during which the flag should be displayed at half-staff, in the event of the death of a “principal figure”(e.g., 30 days for the death of a sitting or former President, 10 days for the death of a sitting Vice-President,etc.).

Flag Draping a Coffin and Presentation

Although the U.S. Flag Code does NOT use the word “shall,” but rather “should,” draping a coffin has been used to honor the passing of military men and women of the armed services since the Napoleonic Wars (1803 – 1815). There is nothing that prohibits police departments, a canine service animal or for that matter, any U.S. citizen from having this custom used during a funeral service. It is at the discretion of the chief or under the advice of the appropriate authority. This having been said, there has only ever been one person that was ever given the status as a ‘honorary veteran’ whose coffin was draped with an American Flag. Public Law 105–67—OCT. 30, 1997, was a joint resolution by both houses of the 105th Congress and signed into law by then president of the United States, William Jefferson Clinton. This conferred the rights and privileges as honorary veteran status to Leslie Townes (Bob) Hope.  It’s opening paragraph reads as follows:

“Whereas the United States has never before conferred status as an honorary veteran of the United States Armed Forces on an individual, and such status is and should remain an extraordinary honor not lightly conferred nor frequently granted.”

The reasons for this honor were stated in the resolution:

“Whereas the lifetime of accomplishments and service of Leslie Townes (Bob) Hope on behalf of United States military service members fully justifies the conferring of such status; Whereas Leslie Townes (Bob) Hope is himself not a veteran, having attempted to enlist in the Armed Forces to serve his country during World War II, but being informed that the greatest service he could provide the Nation was as a civilian entertainer for the troops; Whereas during, World War II, the Korean Conflict, the Vietnam War, and the Persian Gulf War and throughout the Cold War, Bob Hope traveled to visit and entertain millions of United States service members in numerous countries, on ships at sea, and in combat zones ashore; Whereas Bob Hope has been awarded the Congressional Gold Medal, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Distinguished Service Medal of each of the branches of the Armed Forces, and more than 100 (actually around 2,000 awards and honors) citations and awards from national veterans service organizations and civic and humanitarian organizations;…”

You may read the PDF version of the entire resolution HERE

Bob Hope died on a Sunday, August 27, 2003. The following Monday, president George H. Bush ordered the flag of the United States to be flown at half mast. Three days after what would have been his 100th birthday, Bob Hope was given a private service which included the draping of the US flag briefly over his coffin in an early morning and private service Friday, August 1st, 2003. Hope’s widow, four children and four grandchildren reportedly declined suggestions from Washington that he be buried at the US capital’s Arlington National Cemetery, an honor usually reserved for military veterans.

Before penning his famous novels “The Grapes of Wrath” and “East of Eden,” John Steinbeck was working as a war correspondent. In 1943, he wrote the following in regards to the work that Bob Hope was doing on behalf of the USO and the troops overseas:

“When the time for recognition of service to the nation in wartime comes to be considered, Bob Hope should be high on the list. This man drives himself and is driven. It is impossible to see how he can do so much, can cover so much ground, can work so hard, and can be so effective. He works month after month at a pace that would kill most people.”

I write these things about Bob Hope, for the following primary reasons. To confer such an honorary veteran status on anyone and specifically the draping of the US flag over their coffin should not be taken lightly! It is my opinion that those we want to so honor, should be of equal service as Bob Hope. And this equality among military persons whom have, as president Abraham Lincoln wrote in the Gettysburg Address, they should be men and women that have paid the highest price “of their devotion!” And it is my opinion that any military man or woman (living or deceased), even though they did not die or do not die in service to our country, each has willingly offered to pay the highest price of their devotion too! And in my mind, there is no difference between those that died in service and those that were or are willing to sacrifice their own lives in defense of Liberty. And though no other may have received or receive any or as many awards, honors and citations as Bob Hope, the equality of their service to God, Family and Country is no different! All enlisted military and officers are each required to take an oath to the Constitution of the United States that state, “I, _____, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same;…”

Whether or not the words are spoken (as in the officer’s oath), it is implied that each oath taker freely takes this oath and the responsibility for it, even if they are required to give their full measure of devotion. And it is for this reason alone that every man or woman that vows this oath, is due the honor, whether they live or whether they die in defending it!

This flag draped over the departed soldier has most likely previously flown over the nation’s capitol in, Washington, D.C., the seat of government of, for and by, WE the People. To lie in state, the coffin is covered with the symbolic gesture of gratitude from all of, WE the People. After the flag is respectfully removed from the coffin and folded, with each fold having an important meaning, it is then ‘presented’ to the appropriate person(s) with the words, “On behalf of a grateful nation.”

I do not mean to lesson or dishonor the service of our police, some canine service animal or any citizen of the United States. Here, we are free to believe whatever we choose to believe. I just happen to believe that only the military or upon some extraordinary occasion, should anyone’s coffin be draped with our flag, except for our military. And I care not whether the deceased has committed some crime or some grave sin or died due to suicide. As no amount of darkness can extinguish even the faintest of light; no evil can overcome the good done by just one man or one woman that stood, even for a single moment, for, LIBERTY! All such as these no matter the circumstances, are due this honor!

Yes, though the U.S. Flag Code may not say what any “shall” do or “shall” not do, but rather what “should”not be done or “should” be done with this flag, it is still law and in my mind, the only difference between the words “shall” and “should” is individual choice. Though the Supreme Court of the United States has ruled that to dishonor and desecrate this symbol is considered artist expression and protected freedom of speech under our Constitution, the very flag that many oppose on religious grounds, interpret to be politically correct, it is the very same symbol that affords them the right to oppose it, interpret it and desecrate it. I will not so dishonor this symbol of Liberty nor those that fought for it and still fight for it! I am not a veteran, but many in my family and my wife’s family were. I have several friends that are veterans. Though I cannot serve and have not served nor have given my last ounce of devotion, I can do no less than to take what amount of time and effort necessary, for as long as I live, to both show respect and if possible, where an open door of utterance presents itself, to teach and show and share this flag code etiquette with anyone of an open mind and an asking heart, why I do this small thing and for whom. But this is what our flag means to me!

Care of my Flag

I will clean or mend the flag as needed.

And when the flag becomes weathered and worn, I will respectfully burn it and replace it. Like fire purifies and like the legendary Phoenix bird, MY flag will be born again. And then, I will read, the following words:

“Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field as a final resting-place for those who here gave their lives that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this. But in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead who struggled here have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living rather to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us–that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion–that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain, that this nation under God shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth.”

The Gettysburg Address, by Abraham Lincoln, November 19, 1863

And should this flag be so ordered to be flown upside down, if this nation is under distress or ceases to exist, I will not so fly it here! You may be offended by this post and this flag, hate it, despise it, spit on it, defecate on it, urinate on it, shoot it full of holes, and even burn it hatefully or mockingly, but such an idea it represents, can never nor ever can, be destroyed!

I will respectfully, lovingly and proudly display this flag as I have said above, for as long as I am able or for as long as I may have others do this on my behalf. If it ceases to fly, you will know it is because of inclement weather or that I have died, but God is still alive and the very ideas of unalienable rights such as— Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness, cannot die!

I will teach and share these things with our children, grandchildren, their children and anyone that may visit us here at sunrise or sunset at our home, ‘The Gathering Place.’

If these things offend you, do NOT visit us here or drive by at sunrise or sunset! I may not be able to do more for Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness, but I can NOT, do anything less!

For more information about this flag, the flag code and flag etiquette and etc. see:

http://www.usflag.org/

MySignature_clr

1 of WE the People
at The Gathering Place

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