DOD prohibits patriotic American flag displays
By Mark Alexander
Some of our more cognitively gifted senior military leaders, when contemplating the most pressing national security threats and our military readiness to confront them, have openly speculated about war with the ChiComs in the future — perhaps the very near future. Never mind the little dustup in Ukraine in the proxy war between Vladimir Putin and the free world, or the deadly precedent set by our "commander-in-chief" when he ordered our surrender and retreat from Afghanistan.
Those threats notwithstanding, apparently Joe Biden's secretary of defense, Lloyd Austin, got the priorities memorandum and is making sure our military forces are fully complying with the administration's woke agenda, lowering recruiting standards and making sure Marines celebrate "Pride Month" to impress upon them Biden's "diversity, equity, and inclusion" mandates.
The result is that our nation's military recruiting goals are not being met on the front end — a shortfall not seen since 1973 at the end of the Vietnam War — and too many of our best and brightest young enlisted personnel and officers are exiting. Biden's civilian Pentagon cadres have issued a variety of "explanations" for the missed goals and the exodus of our warriors, but the fact is these critical readiness deficits are the direct result of the anti-American sentiments embraced by Biden and his administrative wokesters.
The latest evidence of how abjectly tone-deaf this administration is would be the official memorandum from Chris Meagher, assistant to the secretary of defense for public affairs, barring uniformed personnel from participating in the most familiar patriotic flag displays at sporting events and other high-profile public affairs. This would include on-the-field "unfurling, holding, and/or carrying of giant horizontal U.S. flags" during the playing of "The Star-Spangled Banner." It further decrees that "DoD jump teams may not incorporate [it] in their public demonstrations if the flag cannot be caught reliably and handled respectfully by ground personnel during landings."
For the record, the display of huge flags on sporting fields, and those carried by Navy SEAL Leap Frogs and Army Golden Knights parachute teams, always includes teams on the ground to respectfully intercept our flag in order that it not touch the ground — though that presents a challenge sometimes.
A Pentagon spokesperson, Cmdr. Nicole Schwegman, confirmed that even though "many, including service members, find these events moving and patriotic," they are now forbidden.
In fact, Title 4 of the United States Code, also known as the Flag Code, does specify that "the flag should never be carried flat or horizontally, but always aloft and free." That section also states that "the flag should never touch anything beneath it, such as the ground."
However, does it strike you as odd that leftist Democrat Party appointees, many of whom view our flag as a symbol of division and oppression, are suddenly concerned that it be treated with the utmost respect?
Call me skeptical.
We fly American flags with both Patriotic spirit and humility.
At our Patriot Post publishing office, there's a 40-foot flagpole honoring generations of Americans past and present who have endeavored to "to support and defend" our legacy of American Liberty, often at great cost.
A few years ago, I wrote about the 25-foot flagpole at our house, which was a target of complaints from a wealthy, white-privileged suburban leftist of the ilk now tearing down all that has made our country a beacon of Liberty for the world.
I installed that home flagpole on the 50th anniversary of D-Day in 1994, in honor of my former next-door neighbor, 1st Lt. Marshall Goree. From Normandy, Marshall and his machine gun platoon fought their way through Europe with the 276th Armored Field Artillery Battalion until the war's end. For his courageous actions during the Battle of the Bulge and other combat fronts, Marshall earned the Silver Star, the Bronze Star, and a Purple Heart. Marshall was a tall, strong man of equally strong presence and character. On rare occasions, he would disclose the most horrific of his enemy encounters — those that ended up in hand-to-hand combat.
Marshall was more than a Patriot and neighbor, however. He was the lifelong best friend of another WWII veteran, my father. In Southern culture, our parents' best friends were sometimes honorary "uncles" and "aunts," and so it was with "Uncle Marshall." Marshall died almost six years to the day after we raised our flag, and my father followed his friend home in 2015. Our flag reminds us of them every day.
From the time our first son could stand, we started many mornings before school at his upstairs window, gazing at that flag, hands over our hearts, reciting "The Pledge of Allegiance." He is now a Marine Infantry Officer. He and our youngest son are both Eagle Scouts, and as a Council leader, one of my greatest privileges was to teach flag etiquette to Scout troops.
Our Patriot Post website includes pages on flag etiquette and protocol, and we take in retired flags from our Patriot Shop customers for proper disposal. Our kids have all heard the amazing testimony regarding what our flag means to American Patriots such as the late Col. Leo K. Thorsness, an Air Force veteran, Vietnam prisoner of war (1967-73), and recipient of the Medal of Honor.
I mention this by way of saying that we treat the display of our flag with great reverence. And that is precisely why I have encouraged our readers to stop lowering their flags every time Joe Biden orders them to half-mast because he often does so as a means of virtue signaling.
As for the concern that Biden's hacks are expressing about flag etiquette and patriotism, recent reputable polling indicates that Patriotism is at an all-time low, with just 38% of adults now saying they are "extremely proud" to be an American. That's down from 55% after the 9/11 Islamist attack on our nation.
Mark Alexander is the executive editor of the Patriot Post.