Thursday, June 14, 2012

Happy Flag Day From Not Another New England Sports Blog!

I know, I know....bad flag etiquette on Julianne Hough's part, but I can't help myself

As far as holidays go, Flag Day came about fairly recently in this nation's history.
According to Mike Dlaka's US, Flag day as we know apparently got its start in 1889 when a New York City kindergarten teacher named George Balch planned a series of activities and ceremonies for his pupils for June 14th to mark the anniversary of the Flag Resolution of 1777 in which the 13-starred version of the stars and stripes became the nascent nation's official standard. The New York State Board of Education had liked the idea and recommended a statewide observation a few short years later.

Better examples of flag etiquette on display in Bath, ME. Bobcatnorth photo via Flickr
However, it wasn't until Harry Truman signed an act of Congress in 1949 declaring June 14th to be Flag Day that it became an official holiday.
Unfortunately, kindergarten educators in New York City are making headlines for the exact opposite reasons than George Balch. A principal in Brooklyn, NY has decided to pull Lee Greenwood's 'God Bless the USA' from a graduation ceremony for kindergartners. Despite the pupils spending months learning the lyrics, principal Greta Hawkins told teachers that "We don't want to offend other cultures" and ordered the teachers to drop the song from the program. While the school sees a number of children who's parents immigrated from Mexico, Pakistan or Ecuador, the country singer's patriotic song had been featured in previous 'moving up' ceremonies at the school and drew no complaints from staff or teachers.

Flag mural on building in downtown Butte, MT circa 2009.
Larry Blackwood photo

To add insult to injury, apparently Hawkins selected Justin Beiber's 'Baby' to replace the offending Greenwood tune. Sadly, the school district backed Hawkins' ban of the Greenwood tune by claiming it was not age-appropriate [yet the Beiber tune was- NANESB!].

American flag adorned with Geronimo flies over a souvenir stand overlooking the Little Colorado River west of Cameron, AZ in the Spring of 2012
For those of you with worn, faded, tattered, defaced and torn American flags, just as important as getting a replacement [which shouldn't be too difficult this time of year- NANESB!] is the proper disposal of the old flag. While there are certain rules and etiquette to be observed, many chapters of the VFW have made it easier for the public to turn over old flags for proper disposal, some of them even having a drop box where you can leave it if the lodge is closed.

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