Flag Weight and Dedication To Gus

The popular size flag is 3 feet x 5 feet, and there are many places on the Internet where you can buy one.

All good-quality flags are made of colored nylon fabric sewn together. That is, the red and white stripes are made of 13 strips of colored nylon, 7 red and 6 white, sewn together with 12 seams. The stars are embroidered of white thread on blue nylon. The two grommets are brass. For the quality and all of the work involved, flags are surprisingly cheap because so many are made and the design does not change.

An important consideration when buying one is the material weight. A heavy-weight flag will be more durable, but will not wave as freely in light breezes as a lighter-weight one.

But a statement of the material weight is nowhere to be found: not on the label or on the packaging. I have never seen the material weight stated for any flag I have ever owned, even an honorary one that flew briefly over the Capitol Building. That must have been a light-weight one because it only lasted a year. The best was from Lowe’s that is currently flying over my house. It has lasted several years and still shows no sign of fraying. It is heavier, but not noticeably so, and still flies well.

I take the flag down every night because etiquette demands that it be taken down if it cannot be seen. If I had a spotlight on it, it could stay up all night. Weather has nothing to do with it, as many people believe, as long as it can be seen. But if rain is predicted for the evening, I don’t put it up in the morning. I’m not about to go out in the rain to take it down.

People often ask if the flag is dedicated to anyone in the military. I have always said No, but I recently met an old WWII marine fighter pilot named Gus at the senior center, and I now raise it to honor him.  (Gus, a pleasant, positive guy, still with piercing eyes, comes in with a battered, often-repaired walker, and it takes him a half hour taking off and putting on his tattered support hose. He deserves some appreciation. I imagine in his younger days he was like the now-forgotten cartoon pilot, Smilin’ Jack.)

What do I do differently to honor Gus? Nothing, really. There is no brass plaque or special words as I raise the flag. It’s just in his honor because I say so.

I was once sitting at my desk reading an Internet article about a man in Ohio arrested for flying the flag upside-down. I glanced out my window, and my flag was upside-down. It was an easy mistake to make. I have two clips on the lanyard that look the same and two grommets that look the same. Attaching the right clip to the right grommet is a source of errors.  Get it wrong and the flag will be upside-down. Since that time, I have taken a few extra seconds to step back and look at the flag once I have raised it to be sure it is correct. I have to tilt my neck way back to see the top of the flagpole, so it is not as easy as it sounds.



About Roger Walck

My reasons for writing this blog are spelled out in the posting of 10/1/2012, Montaigne's Essays. They are probably not what you think.
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