Displaying the Colors

Patriotism waxes and wanes, understandably to a certain degree; after all we only have 24 hours in each day and a terribly large amount of stuff to fit into each of these days.  But it comes top of the mind at least once a year in July.  Does your office do anything to recognize the fourth, to exemplify patriotism?  How do you personally display your colors?

"Betsy Ross" flag, the original official flag

“Betsy Ross” flag, the original official flag


Plenty of us wear the colors – red, white and blue in some combination during this week, perhaps a flag lapel pin in the mix.  Some people wear clothing that shows the flag, even items that turn part of the person into a living representation of the flag.  We have other items that reflect the stars and bars, the colors of the flag.  I have a collection of small flags attached to pencil sized sticks that have been given out in past years and which adorned my pencil cup.


Being the daughter of a lifelong Boy Scout, I learned very early on that there is a respect due to this symbol of our country, first adopted in 1923 during a patriotic patch between the big wars: The Flag Code.  Of course at that point, it wasn’t known that this was just a breather between one world war and the next.  And it was long before anyone would have thought to body paint a flag across their chest or other body part.


Immediately post-9/11 was definitely a time when everyone wanted to show allegiance, reverence and connection to the flag.  My work place installed a flag pole outside the main entrance and decided to hold a flag ceremony.  Flags were still flying at half-mast at this point, but unfortunately the group responsible for the flag ceremony was not aware of proper protocol.  (For your information, a flag which will be flown at half-staff should first be hoisted to the top of the pole and then brought down to the half-staff position.  See point 7.m. in the link.)  Currently we see flags less frequently than in those first months and years after 9/11/2001.


I own one of my dad’s flags (the one in today’s picture) but I don’t fly it.  This particular flag is not only the symbol of the country where I have always lived, it is also the symbol of my country’s history and a connection to my dad and his love of country.  The flag is not something to put on or out just because it is the thing to do.


“Anything printed with the flag should convey a message, even if the message is ironic or negative.”

~ Karen Chen, Chicago Tribune reporter, paraphrasing Hugh Brady (flag expert)


We should be proud of our flag, the people that it represents, and display our colors respectfully.


© 2013 Practical Business | Reasonable Expectations

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