Saturday, September 3, 2011

Life According to Ruth 101 --- Display Your Flag

I received an email encouraging Americans to fly the American flag on Sept 11 2011 -- the tenth anniversary of the attack on the towers.

Each year, I would go downtown San Jose on the sidewalk outside St Joseph's Church and watch the firemen ceremonies. The San Jose Firemen would make an arch with their extended ladders across Market Street. Then firemen from all over Northern California would come in full formal dress to pray for all firemen. What a spectacular scene!!!

This year I am in Chula Vista and wanted to fly an American flag. There is proper etiquette in the care, flying and storing of an American flag. This was common knowledge of most grade level children when I was growing up. I am amazed at how many young adults did not realize that there is such a thing as an US Flag Code.

The US Flag Code has changed over the years and when researching the subject today I found not all resources were in agreement as to the proper protocol. Such as the Veteran's code has not been updated to include Sept 11. Some codes have included Sept 11 as Patriot Day but do not mention to fly at half-staff.

So I investigated.

Patriot Day

Patriot Day has been added. to the Flag Holidays listed in section 174 of the US Flag Code. On December 18, 2001, President Bush signed Public Law No: 107-89, designating September 11th as Patriot Day. State and local governments and the people of the United States are asked to observe Patriot Day with appropriate programs and activities to honor the individuals who lost their lives as a result of the terrorist attacks on that date in 2001.

The day has also been designated as a day that the US flag should be flown at half-staff from sunrise to sundown, not just until noon as is done on Memorial Day. In addition the people of the United States are asked to observe a moment of silence on Patriot Day in remembrance of the victims.

Many people have asked if Government offices, schools, banks, etc. will be closed on that day. This seems to be a local individual decision and not mandated by federal or state law at this time.

Patriot Day should not be confused with Patriot’s Day, a regional holiday celebrated in New England on the third Monday in April which commemorates Paul Revere’s ride and the battle of Lexington & Concord during the Revolutionary War. The Boston Marathon is run on Patriot’s Day every year.

For a copy of the Public Law, visit the National Flag Foundation at

Flag Holidays

It is recommended to display your American Flag every day of the year. Be sure to consult the following tables to make sure that you are flying your flag properly.

Days to fly the American Flag at Half Staff:

By order of the President of The United States
By order of the Governor of your state

May 15th Peace Officers Memorial Day (half staff all day)

Last Monday in May Memorial Day (half-staff until noon)

September 11th
Patriot Day (half staff all day)

December 7th
Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day (half staff all day)

Special Occasions for Flag Display

January 1 New Year's Day
January 20 Inauguration Day
February 12 Lincoln's Birthday
Third Monday In February Washington's Birthday
Varies Easter Sunday
Second Sunday in May Mother's Day
Third Saturday in May Armed Forces Day
Last Monday in May Memorial Day (half-staff until noon)
June 14 Flag Day
July 4 Independence Day
First Monday in September Labor Day
September 17 Constitution Day
Second Monday in October Columbus Day
October 27 Navy Day
November 11 Veteran's Day
Fourth Thursday in November Thanksgiving
December 25 Christmas Day

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