Posts from — May 2012
My years at college were wonderful, full of all the socializing and learning that are expected from years of unsupervised growing up.
I learned most of what I knew about campus life from movies, and what movies told me was, when you want to study you need to pick an interesting and mentally motivating location to study. At my school it was the Hall of Flags. Along with being known as a prime place for picking up on individuals of the opposite sex, it was also where, hanging from both sides for a length of over 100 yards were stadium flags representing every nation in the world. The flagpoles out front bore the flags of the nation, the state and the school, but within the hall of flags you could sit for hours studying the symbols of passion and devotion held by people whose passions and devotions are completely different than your own.
College is a funny place. After three years of school students who have recently began to accept that maybe their parents didn’t know everything finally begin to think that their parents knew nothing, abandoning, for a short time, all previously held notions and ideas. This has brought many a college junior to the brink of communism or anarchy, and is, of course, the short-lived effect of trading one parental teaching figure for another.
While in the midst of this upheaval, a fellow student noted the supposed lunacy of pledging allegiance to a flag, which he said was the effect of blind and ignorant nationalism. I supposed if a person’s allegiance was to the physical flag itself that would be silly, but when it represents allegiance to the most fundamental moral ideals of that nation, it represents a national identity and a national standard. When I think of the moral ideals of this nation, I am led to believe that pledging allegiance to those ideals can only be a good thing.
When I see the flag flying from any flagpole or when I see stadium flags lining the entrance to some grand arena I hope that the people of all those nations are pledging allegiance to their grandest and loftiest ideals.
May 27, 2012 No Comments
I entered the 1st grade knowing perfectly well that when compared to the two other elementary schools in our district, ours was the most economically depressed.
This is not because I tracked employment statistics in the county, but because the kids that went to one of those two schools had parents that wore suits to work, lived in big houses with yards, and had boats parked in the extra car ports of their oversized garages. Their schools were bigger, nicer, newer, the flags that flew on the shiny flagpoles in front were enormous and the hallways didn’t perpetually smell of severe water damage. There was, however, one thing at Central Elementary to be proud of; one thing that made the absolute slaughtering we experienced at the annual tri-school track and field day completely worth it. We had the coolest school mascot. We were the Central Sun Devils.
The impish little devil was emblazoned on every custom flag and school banner throughout the rundown old building. It didn’t matter that our bathrooms were recycled 747 aviation lavatories or that the meat provided in our school lunches was typically venison. The only thing we really cared about was that the Central Sun Devils were much better than the J.R. Smith Dollar Signs or the Midway Stupid Heads. I admit I don’t remember what their school mascots were all these years later, but I do remember being legitimately proud my first year of school there at Central, and then just depressed my second year.
At the end of my first year at Central it was proposed (by a “concerned parent”) that our mascot be changed because of the supposed “evil nature” of the little Casper-headed devil. Those of us who had held on to that little victory over our rich neighbors mourned as the Sun Devil was lowered on the flagpole out front and the school banners which I had admired, with what I can now only describe as Hogwartian pride, were removed from our hallways only to be replaced with the image of an Eagle, which was sickeningly un-original and humiliatingly ordinary. Curse you, Central Elementary, for abandoning that which was your greatest and most note-worthy feature.
May 27, 2012 No Comments
When flying our flag at home, my dad took special care to keep what I thought was a fairly ridged and particularly precise schedule.
We didn’t have a big flag, but it went up in the morning, long before I ever dragged myself out of bed. It turns out he was up early enough to position the flag by sun-up, which, as it turns out, is customary. It stayed there all day except on occasions of inclement weather, when it was brought in and put away early. You can get custom flags to be durable, but even all-weather flags can be damaged by severe storms. But, usually our flag stayed posted until sunset, which was also customary.
The flag is not to remain flying at night unless properly illuminated (usually requiring a special spot light) like the big flag at the Capitol or the giant custom flags that are flown around my hometown.
The Flag Code states that the flag should be flown on or near every polling place on election days, on or near the main administration building of all public institutions, and on or near every schoolhouse (during school days). The Flag Code also describes the flag as a living thing, which should therefore be treated with proper care and respect.
Flying the flag contrary to its intended orientation has, over the years, been a sign of protest, discontent, and outrage, but is often viewed by enforcement and civilians alike as a breach of etiquette, unless as a sign of distress. The flag should always be displayed upright with the union to the top left
May 20, 2012 No Comments