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Honoring Old Glory

"The flag of the United States is the emblem of our identity as a separate nation, which the United States of America has been for more than 200 years. Therefore, citizens should stand at attention and salute when their flag is passing in a parade or being hoisted or lowered.”

— Old Farmers Almanac

Letter writer Alan Winans (at right) offered an excellent suggestion regarding flag etiquette.

The theme of the Hood River July 4 parade is “Proud to Be an American.” The following flag etiquette tips are provided in hope that participants and spectators at parades and other events or locations where the flag is flown, might be informed of proper display and behavior.

Usflag.org states:

  • The flag should never be dipped to any person or thing. It is flown upside down only as a distress signal.
  • The flag should not be used as a drapery, or for covering a speakers desk, draping a platform, or for any decoration in general. Bunting of blue, white and red stripes is available for these purposes. The blue stripe of the bunting should be on the top.
  • The flag should never be used for any advertising purpose. It should not be embroidered, printed or otherwise impressed on such articles as cushions, handkerchiefs, napkins, boxes, or anything intended to be discarded after temporary use. Advertising signs should not be attached to the staff or halyard.
  • The flag should not be used as part of a costume or athletic uniform.
  • The flag should never have placed on it, or attached to it, any mark, insignia, letter, word, number, figure, or drawing of any kind.
  • The flag should never be used as a receptacle for receiving, holding, carrying, or delivering anything.

Old Farmers Almanac provides these rules:

  • When the flag is lowered, no part of it should touch the ground or any other object; it should be received by waiting hands and arms. To store the flag, it should be folded neatly and ceremoniously.
  • The flag should be cleaned and mended when necessary.
  • When a flag is so worn it is no longer fit to serve as a symbol of our country, it should be destroyed by burning in a dignified manner.
  • The custom is to display the flag only from sunrise to sunset on flagstaffs in the open, but it may be displayed at night upon special occasions to produce a patriotic effect.
  • When the flag is hung vertically on a wall, window or door the Union (blue) should be to the observer’s left. When the flag is hung either horizontally or vertically against a wall, the Union (blue field) should be to the observer’s left.
  • The flag should not be displayed on a float except from a staff, nor draped over the hood, top, sides, or back of a vehicle.
  • When the flag is displayed on a vehicle, the staff should be fixed firmly to the chassis.

For this year’s parades, it seems unlikely to expect complete compliance with flag etiquette, but participants might think about it for 2015. The same can be said for those who would use the flag to help sell a product or service.

Like many traditions, a certain amount of slippage is to be expected, but it is a healthy thing to think about the rules behind those traditions and why they say what they do. At the very least, we urge readers to stand and pay respects to the flag when it passes. It is a symbol with true and solemn meaning.

Jackson Park, July 4, 1914

The ad read, “Something different Hood River: Opening of New City Park.”

One hundred years ago, the Hood River News announced that Jackson Park would open in time for July 4 festivities.

When you are enjoying this green and gracious space for July 4 this year, and enjoying music, barbecue, and romping on the grass, think of the events that happened on July 4, 1914:

  • Competitive Doll Buggy Parade on Oak Street ending at 5-10-15 cent store
  • Unique parade of floats, comical features and decorated automobiles
  • An exciting water fight to the finish. A fierce contest for supremacy between two rival Hood River Hose cart teams followed by daylight fireworks
  • Picnic lunch at the park and concert by Hood River Cornet Band
  • The big event: Tug of War championships of Hood River County
  • Baseball, Hood River vs. Bradfords of Portland (presumably next door at what is now Collins Field)
  • Aerial fireworks through the courtesy of Japanese Colony

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