We Remember: Patriot Day, and the American Flag
Updated: Dec 24, 2020
Today I'm discussing some topics that come to mind on this day every year. Some of it will be personal to me, and some of it will be about home design. If you'd like to skip to the home design part, scroll down to the first American Flag picture.
On September 11th 2001, I was 3 months shy of my 6th birthday. It was my first year of school and I loved kindergarten. Sometime prior to lunch, I noticed the teachers walking from class to class; not long after, I was called to the office, my mom had come to pick me up early. I had never left school early before so I was excited. I asked her why she came to get me, and she said "I just want to have you close to me." We walked out the door and saw my favorite custodian lowering the flags. My mom usually dropped me off early in the morning, and I had gotten used to watching him raise them. I innocently asked, "why is he taking them down?" she confessed, "it means something really bad happened."
The rest of that day my mom watched the news and loved on me. I don't recall when I began to know what was going on, but I remember asking about my dad's family. They all lived in NYC and in the summer of 2000 we road-tripped up to meet them. It wasn't until 11th grade that I realized I was the only kid in my school who had seen the towers in person.
In 2001 my dad was in the Army, stationed at Fort Hood; He would come home on the weekends to be with us, but during the week we were 2.5 hours apart. That attack drastically changed the course of his service, and the long absences that followed 9/11 dwarfed those work-weeks apart. In total, he spent 6 years away from me before I was 17. He missed out on simple things like reading to me at night, chaperoning field trips, and dropping me off at school. As I grew up, the time apart got harder, and that proved true right through his last deployment.
I was 15, going into my sophomore year of high school, and he was gearing up for Afghanistan. That deployment strained us more than anything we'd experienced before. After missing my 16th birthday, a Christmas, his 20th wedding anniversary, and plenty special moments he came home to a new house. My mom had labeled all of the light switches for him, and to this day some of those labels remain. Despite our rough patch, he brought me home a gift that I still cherish; an American flag, one with its own birth certificate of sorts. This certificate confirmed that it had been flown over Afghanistan on a combat patrol, every year it feels more special to me that I get to have it.
The flag, to me, represents the best of America; it speaks to the memory of every life lost defending it's position, it silently declares freedom in the most oppressed places on earth and reminds the world that acts of evil beg consequence.
That, everything above, is why I choose to uphold the dignity of our American Flag.
Flag Code: there is a correct way to display the flag
We all love displaying our patriotism, particularly on days like today, however there is a correct way to do it; believe it or not, the government made a really simple web page about it. Here's a screenshot of their infographic:
Some points that this doesn't address are:
When displaying a flag in a window or against a building, the stripes should be pointed down, and Union (the stars) should be in the uppermost left corner when viewed by the observer. This assumes that the observer is someone outside of the home.
Flag code states, "The flag should never be fastened, displayed, used, or stored in such a manner as to permit it to be easily torn, soiled, or damaged in any way." meaning, the cute napkins, toothpick flags, and paper plates we see everywhere around patriotic holidays are not allowed by flag code.
Flag code DOES permit decoration with flag related items, just not the flag. For example, the American Legion's website states "Bunting of blue, white, and red always arranged with the blue above, the white in the middle, and the red below, should be used for covering a speaker's desk, draping the front of the platform, and for decoration in general." So, flags for drapes is a no-go, but bunting gets the green light.
Check out these comparisons
Although it does look pretty, using flags as drapes around your door is not in keeping with flag code.
Flags are not meant to serve as tablecloths, or touch the ground.
If you'd like to read more about the flag, it's proper use, or learn about those lost in the September 11'th attacks, check out the links below.
Decorating with the flag
https://www.911memorial.org/visit/memorial/names-911-memorial ***I highly recommend this one***
https://www.biography.com/news/september-11-2001-real-life-heroes ***talks about the heroes of 9/11***
If nothing else, I hope today serves as a reminder that we should call our parents, hug our babies, and enjoy the moments we have.