Showing respect for Old Glory
At the September 11th remembrance ceremony this year, a few members of the Student Government Association were setting up for the event when our Publicity Chair, Raymond Rieling ’12, noticed that the flag, displayed at half-mast for the day, was flying in darkness—a violation of United States Flag Code. The lighting was found and the flag was illuminated for the ceremony, but then, when we were cleaning up, Ray noticed the flag being removed by one security guard. As the security guard was by himself, it was clear that the flag would not be folded appropriately—again violating U.S. Flag Code. Ray went over and helped the security guard fold the flag appropriately, but the handling of the flag bothered us all.
Sunday night, SGA voted unanimously to approve a motion that recommends that Campus Security reevaluate its protocol regarding the U.S. flag. SGA has been working furiously on building school spirit, cultivating better town-gown relations and improving transparency and accountability, but we thought it was also important to show our support for the American flag as a symbol for a nation that has helped shape all of us in some way. The United States is fighting two wars and we are sitting at a kind of tipping point for this country, and it seems more poignant now than ever to make sure we are treating our flag with dignity and support. In the next week, SGA members will be presenting this motion to the Student Security Advisory Committee and we hope that Security takes this issue on quickly and works to remedy it.
What SGA is proposing to Security is that they look at the way the flag is displayed, removed and stored daily. First, the flag should only be displayed from dawn to dusk or we need to install a light to display it 24 hours a day. Second, an outdoor flag is not supposed to be displayed during inclement weather unless a special all-weather flag is used, so security should make sure they have the right flag. Third, there seems to us that there would be a group of students who would be willing to help security lower and fold the flag appropriately each day on a rotating basis. If security were to look at these three issues specifically, our flag would be treated much more appropriately than it is now.
Colby is tackling many things right now, and flag protocol is not one of the issues that would come to many of our minds as being on that list. However, members of our community have friends and family who have fought, or currently fight, for this country. We have all been given opportunities in this country because of the types of freedoms we are allowed on its soil. The American flag represents all of that opportunity, all of that pride and patriotism, and for that it is essential that we give it the respect that it morally and legally deserves. After all, at the very least, our current violations might be a felony.
- Your Colby SGA