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Monthly Archives: September 2017

Do You Know Proper Flag Etiquette?

United We Stand; Divided We Fall

A lot of tweets, Facebook posts, and memes have been flying back and forth regarding the controversy over the NFL teams kneeling, linking arms, or staying in the locker rooms during the national anthem. It appears this might even filter down to the colleges and high schools. But if you ask the average citizen what is proper flag etiquette, I bet few people know.

I thought I knew the answers, after all I was a Girl Scout, until I decided to do some research. Even the most self-righteous of those weighing in on the kneeling controversy probably have broken some of the flag codes. Why, even our own president is at fault. He has been photographed standing during the national anthem but not putting his hand over his heart. The first lady, an immigrant, had to remind him to do this.

According to, “Flag Ettiquette Dos and Donts,” the following should be observed:

    • All persons present in uniform (military, police, fire, etc.) should render the military salute. Members of the armed forces and veterans who are present but not in uniform may render the military salute.

    • All other persons present should face the flag and stand at attention with their right hand over the heart, or if applicable, remove their headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart.

How many men stand and remove their hats and hold it with their right hands at shoulder level while placing that hand over their hearts? I have seen many people stand but continue to talk during the anthem. Men and boys sometimes must be reminded to remove their hats and many fail to face in the direction of the flag. So, while we are on the topic of the NFL and flag etiquette, many players do not place their hands over their hearts nor do they remove their helmets.

The same web site goes on to list many more Do’s and Don’ts but some of the most commonly violated which I have observed are:

  • Don’t let the flag touch the ground.
  • Don’t fly the flag upside down unless there is an emergency.
  • Don’t store the flag where it can get dirty.
  • Don’t use the flag as decoration.

Traditionally, the flag should be displayed only from sunrise to sundown and if it is left up after sunset it should be illuminated. I have seen many flags flown from houses and not taken down at sunset or during inclement weather. I have also seen flags drooping to the ground or rolled up and stuffed in the corner of the porch when not in use; all of which is a, “No, no.”

I once rescued a flag from the trash. It had been wadded up and thrown to the curb along with the other trash. I took it to the fire department which routinely ceremoniously burns flags according to the flag code.

The web site, The American Flag and Its Protocol, states that the flag is a symbol of freedom and liberty to which Americans pledge their allegiance by standing at attention and facing the flag with their right hand over the heart.

The most interesting and insightful web site which I found is, CRS Report for Congress. The CRS is the Congressional Research Service and its report can be summed up in the first paragraph.

                No disrespect should be shown to the flag of the United States of America.

The most interesting statement of the 17 page report is:

Thus, the Flag Code does not prescribe any penalties for non-compliance nor does it include enforcement provisions; rather the Code functions simply as a guide to be voluntarily followed by civilians and civilian groups.

Yes, there are no laws and therefore no punishments for failing to follow protocol. Therefore, the teams have the freedom to do as they wish. This is called freedom of speech and freedom of expression which is what this country was founded on. This means that if one wants to kneel rather than the standard traditional salute we have the freedom to do so.

This movement began as a peaceful way of bringing attention to the racial inequalities in this country. There are many forms of protest which are much more disrespectful but kneeling is a sign of respect. We kneel at church and in prayer so why not kneel during the anthem?

When players are injured on the field the teams will take a knee, which is a way of showing respect for the injured player. Considering this country’s current state of affairs, you might say that taking a knee is showing respect for the flag and the country for which it stands, just in a different way.

This country is facing many serious problems, most much more important than what the NFL does during the national anthem. Experts say we are the closet to nuclear war than we have ever been. The states and the American territory of Puerto Rico devastated by the recent hurricanes are facing billions of dollars and years of rebuilding. And, as if this isn’t enough, the Russians are quietly laughing at us as they create chaos within our government.

Before we begin throwing stones let us look inward and analyze our own actions measured against the Federal Flag Code. We shouldn’t let this dog whistle divide us but, rather, let us link arms in the brotherhood of humanity. In 1986 Hands Across America was held to raise money for the homeless in which a human chain was formed reaching from one coast to another. Why not a link chain stretching across the country where people of all races, religions and countries of origin can stand shoulder to shoulder, linked arm in arm. A way of showing our strength and commitment to what this country has always stood for—liberty and justice for ALL.

Remember: United we stand; divided we fall.



There are many other Do’s and Don’ts besides those I have discussed. For those wanting more information I recommend the following sites:


What is better than free?

Product Details

To quote the famous Yogi Berra, “It was déjà vu all over again.”

Soon after publication of my first book, Peach Cobbler for Breakfast—surviving a life-altering event, I was forced to take my own advice. It is the story of my journey from discovery to recovery after the death of seven family members within a two-year period, including my father and husband, and how I found a new life. I was excited over seeing my book published but never thought I would have to take my own advice so soon.

Just six weeks after publication my mother died suddenly and the following year my second husband died. I was once again suffering the physical, mental, and emotional pains of grieving a loved one.  I turned to my book for comfort.

Fortunately, this time the grieving process was not as devastating because I was armed with knowledge of what to expect and how to cope. Knowledge I had gained from research which led to my book, Peach Cobbler for Breakfast. My world was turned upside down when I lost the two men who were the center of my universe, both to cancer just six months apart. I was overwhelmed with grief and didn’t know where to turn for help so I did what my background as an English teacher and journalist had trained me to do—I turned to books for answers.

Fast forward 20 plus years and when I lost my mother and husband I knew what to expect. I knew that when I couldn’t concentrate, or I sighed for no reason, or I couldn’t remember what I was doing, I knew it was part of the grieving process and to just relax for a moment and I could carry on. I reread my book and took my own advice. This new journey is documented in the updated version of Peach Cobbler for Breakfast 2017.

The book is completely revised with fresh editing, new pictures, and a new ending. I am very proud of this new version and feel it is a good summary of what grief is, the different kinds of grief, and how to cope. My life hasn’t been easy and, in truth, almost everything I have done has been difficult; but I have pushed myself and refused to give up, no matter the challenge. My hope is that my story, with its ups and downs, can be a light for those finding their way in their own dark tunnel.

Many ask why the title, Peach Cobbler for Breakfast, and my answer is:

it was a moment of epiphany when I realized I was master of my own world and I could have anything I wanted out of life, even if it was peach cobbler for breakfast that morning long ago, and that has made all the difference.

To celebrate this new release my publisher, iCrew Publishing, is graciously offering the e-book for FREE Tuesday, September 18, through Friday, September 22 at

Be sure to order the 2017 version. You can also order the book version from this site but only the e-book is free. For those who don’t have a Kindle, it can be downloaded to your computer or phone.