Respect our Flag
By Ed Szupel
The first knocks were intrusive; they woke me. The next knocks were louder;
they made me get out of bed. The last series were insistent; I went to the front
door. I said "who's there". A voice on the other side said "Greg Green,
Poquoson Patrolman. What's wrong?"
"What do you mean? Wrong?"
The voice then commanded: "Step outside, please". The tone left no room for
a refusal. My hands trembled as I opened the door and stepped out on the
When I came back inside, Debbie moved from the window where she had been
observing us, and whispered "What did he want, dear?"
"He made me come out to make sure we weren't being held against our will
behind the door. He told me our flag was upside down, so he thought we
might be experiencing some kind of trouble."
"The American flag in our yard."
"I don't understand…"
"He said that if you fly the flag upside down, it is a distress signal.
"I never heard of that."
"Toby must have turned it over when he replaced the old lanyard.
"Why were you out there so long?"
"He told me a lot of other things about the Flag. He's seen a lot of that
nowadays that more people are flying the Flag because of 9/11."
"Our flag has a tear, and we should take it down each evening, unless we have
it illuminated. Supposed to take it in during rainy weather. He asked if I saw
the Super Bowl halftime last year.
He wasn't talking about the lewd dance. A singer before that incident wore a
U. S. Flag as a poncho. The deputy said the Flag should never be worn as
clothing, or be used as advertising."
"One of the airlines has a flag on its airplanes. Is that wrong?"
He said some people flying the Flag aren't showing it proper respect--maybe
not deliberately, but it still comes down to disrespect. There is an executive
order outlining the Flying of the Flag. He wrote it down, here it is: Executive
"How do you find an executive order that you can review?"
"He gave me an Internet site that spells out the rules."
"Let me see…126.96.36.199/betsy/flagetiq.html… No www?"
We went back upstairs and into bed.
Debbie said good night.
I turned out the light.
"Tomorrow, we can check out the site and make sure we're flying the Flag
right. At least right side up".
Check out the Flag Etiquette Website