Important to know and follow proper flag etiquette

Nov. 17, 2017 at 3:42 p.m.

Editor, the Advocate:

All of Victoria can be proud of senior police officer Cody Balli for rescuing the American Flag from a tree after the winds of Hurricane Harvey ripped her from the flag pole at the Victoria County Courthouse. It was a fine and honorable thing Officer Balli did.

But that begs the question of why Old Glory was not brought in prior to the storm. It wasn't like the hurricane sneaked in without warning. The Flag Code of the United States has this to say about flying the flag during bad weather: "The flag should not be displayed on days when the weather is inclement, except when an all-weather flag is displayed." Regardless of the material, in the case of a hurricane, the flag should have been lowered and taken inside the courthouse to be protected from the storm. This was no ordinary afternoon rain shower during which the flag, if of all-weather material, could continue to fly - this was a hurricane with winds far exceeding 100 miles per hour. Those winds ripped the flag to tatters, tore it from the flagstaff and deposited it in a tree.

I understand that there was a lot going on with the county officials prior to the storm. Plans had to be made, schedules for emergency personnel had to be made, arrangements for food and drink for those people had to be arranged. But it does seem than someone could have taken five minutes to lower Old Glory and protect her inside the courthouse.

Perhaps the Advocate can find out what happened to the courthouse flag after Officer Balli brought it inside. The Flag Code also has procedures for the disposition of flags damaged beyond use: "The flag, when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning." I hope the county treated the damaged flag properly and didn't just toss it into the trash along with other storm debris.

Carl Bankston, Victoria


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