On further review, no evidence of disrespect to the flag
It’s inspiring to see so many people in Carson City who care deeply about the U.S. flag. That is evident to visitors and residents in a big way, represented by the flag on our hillside. It was also evident Wednesday by the number of people who showed up at the Senior Center because they’d heard the U.S. Flag had been disrespected.
But, as it turns out, once the rumors had been sifted through, there was no proof of any disrespect to the flag. The director of the Senior Center did store the flag away during an event at the center, saying she did not want to see it damaged. Her actions were not based on disrespect, nor do they seem to violate the U.S. Flag Code, a set of guidelines written to ensure our flag is given due respect. Calling for her resignation, as some in the audience did on Wednesday, was going too far.
The situation does present an opportunity for closer scrutiny of what’s considered disrespectful of the flag, according to the flag code, which carries no penalties for violations. Some of the rules are obvious. For example, we all know not to fly the flag upside down and that we shouldn’t let it touch the ground.
But the code clearly spells out lesser known signs of disrespect that can be seen daily in Carson City and practically any other community. For example, it states that the flag shouldn’t be worn on clothing. It shouldn’t be on napkins, pillows, hats, doormats or handkerchiefs.
In fact, a close reading of the flag code says that flags displayed 24 hours should be “properly illuminated,” language that could easily be perceived as pertaining to the flag on C Hill.
Of course, the people violating the code in those ways do not mean any disrespect. In fact, their intentions are usually quite the opposite – they intend to honor the flag and show their patriotism.
It’s important that we show respect for our flag, but it’s also important that we keep our perspective. There’s no need to become angry the next time you see someone wearing a T-shirt with the American flag, and there’s no reason the Senior Center director should lose her job over storing the flag in a closet.