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This Flag Bows to no Earthly King!

July 23, 2010 | Lieutenant Colonel Andre Dean

Kentucky's governor just ordered "flags at all state office buildings to half-staff" for today, tomorrow, Sunday and Monday (four more straight days for Old Glory at Half-Mast). 

It is time for the American Flag to bow no more.

 

If you read this too hastily and errantly mis-read my love and devotion to the American Soldier, whose deaths we mourn all across this Great Nation, you will have sorely missed the heart and soul of my point in this blog. 

My soldierly remains, should my life be taken from me in Afghanistan or Iraq today, will be shipped back home fully draped in the American Flag.  That is how it is done and that is what every American Soldier expects.  It is our legacy and a long-standing, deserving, rich, venerable tradition for saying farewell to a heroic fallen defender of this American People.

This blog is not about that sacred honor being challenged in any way.  The flag draped coffin is the deepest and most correct honor that can be given one who died fighting under those colors far, far from home, where even today, just to see her flyingat full staff, half way around the world, can bring silent tears to the hardest of men. 

This blog is about the abasing, demeaning, lowering, half-masting, half-staffing, constantly flying America's National Emblem in a continuous state of mourning here in Kentucky on my U.S.Army Federal Installation, and knowing that all across America all Army, Navy, USMC and US Air Force posts, bases and forts are doing the exact same thing by mandates of undesirable Federal policy; a 2007-imposed policy that needs to be changed by our elected officials.

I am asking my  Congressman, Mr. Chet Edwards (D-TX) to fix this belittling trend.

On Tuesday the 27th of July, the US post flag, flying over the US Army Post of Fort Knox, Kentucky, will have been at half-mast for 19 of the past 30 days (30 days ago is when I decided to track the flags half-staffing, so my accurate numbers start from 28 June). 

For a nation at War, and with Memorial Day protocol to guiide us with "flag down only briefly on the National Day of Mourning, then back up at noon to full staff to fly proudly until sunset!"), then why are the Stars and Stripes tethered continually here by federal law requiring a US Army Fort to lower our Post Flag at a local governor's orders to his own state buildings and Keep Them There ALL DAY LONG, day in and day out?

And for a stunning 19 of the past 30 days!

Here is what you read about the demeanor of the  personnage of the US Flag, per the US Flag Code for insight:

"The flag should never be dipped to any person or thing" 

Wikipedia notes that this "never dip" policy comes from  the 1908 Summer Olympics in London where countries were asked to dip their flag to King Edward II, King of England.  The American flag bearer did not dip the Stars and Stripes.

The Olympic Team captain, Martin Sheridan (5-time Olympic gold medalist and overall 9-Olympic medals!), is famously quoted as defending his flag bearer by saying "this flag dips to no earthly king!".  Take a look at this 5x Olympic gold medal Champion as he is about to throw the discuss to win gold in the 1908 Olympics.  Here is a man who knows and loves his flag and his country:

And why is it that US Policy allows the Star Spangled Banner to be permanently flown at half-staff at the following four locations in the United States: The Post Cemetery at Mackinac Island in Michigan, the Punchbowl in Honolulu, the Gettysburg National Cemetery, and Arlington National Cemetery on the banks of the Potomac across from Washington D.C.?

I don't like this "flag-dragging, flag-abasing" trend across this Land and I defiantly do not think it to be representative of our Soldiers or our great warrior sons and daughters.  It is not in the blood of our military's selfless service mantra that any of our Soldiers or Servicemen and women would want or should expect the National Emblem to bow all day in mourning for their lives given in battle or time of war.

I join with our 5-time American Olympic gold medal champion in calling out to America and to all those who feel the US flag should not be bowed all-day at Half-Mast for anyone or anything.  She shoots back up after a few moments of honor or mourning, and then always, always, always, she must go back up to the Heavens and fly free and long and unfettered.

Old Glory must once again, by the voice of her people, "Dip or Half-Mast or Half-Staff To No Earthly Anything"!

Congressman Edwards, as my congressman who represents the entire Fort Hood, Texas area, this one is a great one for you to champion for We the People.

Reference my earlier blog of 9 July at http://www.armystrongstories.com/blogger/andre-dean and read about the Saudi flag that never, ever dips for anyone or anything, even here in America at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City when all other flags, INCLUDING OLD GLORY, are bowed and half-staffed by order of the UN Secretary General.

NIne years at war and close to 5,600 of my brothers and sisters in uniform (with the American flag flying on the right shoulder of their Army Combat Uniform) now killed in the War on Terror....it is time to call for Old Glory to rise and stay at the top of her flag staff, for all the world to champion her marvelous light of freedom which we, the American Soldier, give to you with our blood, in every generation.

Can I get an "Amen"?


8 Comments

  • Christopher Snipes
    7/23/2010 6:01 PM
    Well said Sir... I agree that the Flag should be flown at half mast only until noon as it does on Memorial Day. As a Soldier, I love to see The Colors flying freely as a representation of this great nation and what those few who can and do serve have given to everyone else. Why should the flag be lowered for the death of statesmen...when it's not lowered for the Service men and women who die defending this Nation? Soldiers, Airmen, Sailors and Marines make the ultimate sacrifice to keep our Flag flying high, and I believe that they would want that way. Not lowered to half mast.
  • Mary Greer
    7/24/2010 1:37 PM
    AMEN !!!!!!!!!!!!
  • Ryan Welch
    7/28/2010 8:53 PM
    Under normal circumstances I may have not agreed as wholeheartedly as I do now. I would have thought that the lowering of the flag is a symbol of respect and honor to our fallen brothers and sisters in arms.

    But theses aren’t normal circumstances. As I have observed recently a concerted campaign by some of our national leaders, the old media, academia, and Hollywood to apologize for, denigrate, debase, insult, and degrade what the American flag stands for; I have become more aware of just what this flag means to me as a symbol of our country.

    After 9-11 I reenlisted into the military after a ten year break in service. I knew that the attack on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and the failed attack on the White House that murdered nearly 3,000 innocent American Citizens was an “act of war.” I’m sure that many of you felt much the same way I did as I watched through my tears, people in dresses and business suites jumping 80 stories to their deaths.

    Then I remember feeling an amazing sense of unity and pride in the way we Americans pulled together to save as many as possible from the wreckage. I remember feeling my heart swell as those firemen hung our flag on the top of the ruins that still smoldered, smoked, and burned.

    But that sense of unity and love for country did not last long. Now it seems at every turn we are told how terrible America is, how cruel we are, how unfair our government is, and how we need to become more like the rest of the world. We are told that all the ills of the world are somehow our fault, how we are responsible for destroying polar bears and the earth itself.

    I don’t feel guilty. I love my country. I love what our flag stands for. I love the fact that most of the greatest inventions have ever been invented were invented by Americans. I love the fact that medical advancements that have saved hundreds of millions of lives were invented by Americans or by other scientists who lived and studied in America. I love the fact that Americans have liberated millions from despotism in WWI, WWII, Panama, and Iraq. I love the fact that we are a country founded by the concept 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.”

    But most of all I remember what I swore to myself in the aftermath of 9-11 that I would “Never Forget” and I think this constant abasement of our flag is a type of forgetting. The flag should be a symbol to the world that we stand for liberty and freedom and that though we may be bruised, we are NOT beaten!


  • Shawn McKnight
    5/30/2011 11:45 AM
    Hell Yeah!!!!! Amen!!
  • Mark Baker
    7/3/2013 2:22 PM
    As a retired soldier whose service started in 1970 and ended in 2006 and as someone who has been a wildlands fire fighter, I would like to add my support to your comments. I can't help but feel hurt and sick that my ultimate boss, Secretary Jewell of DOI, has directed that all DOI agencies lower their flags through July 9th excepting the 4th. While I am sure that the gesture was well intended, I feel that the personal sacrifices I have experienced and the commitment I made serving under the colors has been debased and demeaned. Certainly the recent deaths were a tragedy, but how does the loss of 19 City employees justify lowering our national banner when an average of 2 service members have died every 3 days since 9/11 and not received a similar acknowledgement? …or one wounded every 2 hrs? …or a veteran taking his or her life every hr? It doesn't.
  • Jacob Ledger
    7/8/2013 2:15 AM
    That our Flag shall not dip to any earthly king but be lowered out of respect for the death of a soldier, the most uncommon of common men, is the highest form of respect that can be paid to an individual for sacrificing their life to uphold the values Old Glory stands for. This act should not be lessened by lowering the Flag for any other purpose! It seems that more and more the ultimate form of respect is being used for unworthy purposes and people!
  • Comment removed by author request.
  • aaron connolly
    9/24/2014 11:15 AM
    These are amazing pictures and the commetary is amazing. every one who is in the military or your family are amazing for serving our country. my dad was in iraq and he got hit by a bullet in the leg and then when he was limping to the hummvee he got hit in the spine. he returned home in a wheelchair paralized. He's still help serve our country by working with the american cancer foundation helping to find a cure! MY DAD IS AWESOME AND I WOULD NEVER WANT ANOTHER MINUTE WITH OUT HIM!!!!!

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