American flag can cause trouble, celebrate Flag Day anyway

Unfurl Old Glory and raise her high, for June 14 is Flag Day in these great United States.

American flag file photo Ryn Gargulinski

American flag file photo Ryn Gargulinski

Our red, white and blue banner is a mighty proud symbol of our nation – yet its display has still gotten people into plenty of hot water.

Although it may seem like displaying the flag on any day of the year should be a Constitutional right, that was not the case this May.

A group of California high school students were threatened with suspension when they showed up at school wearing T-shirts and bandannas bearing the American flag on Cinco de Mayo.

School officials told the five students they must take off their bandannas and turn their flag T-shirts inside out or expect to get kicked out.

“They said we could wear it on any other day,” said flag-displaying student Daniel Galli in an NBC report, “but today is sensitive to Mexican-Americans because it’s supposed to be their holiday so we were not allowed to wear it today.”

Rather than comply, the students decided to go home on their own.

Good for them. Being banned from displaying an American symbol – in America, no less – is pure hogwash, not to mention un-American. Send them some apple pie.

Often the flag’s location can ruffle some feathers.

American flag file photo Ryn Gargulinski

American flag file photo Ryn Gargulinski

At least two American veterans were threatened with lawsuits for flying flags on flagpoles in their very own yards.

One was Central Florida’s Jimmie Watkins, who happened to be a retired U.S. Navy communications officer. The other was Virginia’s World War II hero Van T. Barfoot.

Both men faced lawsuits initiated by their homeowners associations, saying the flags in their yards were violating HOA rules.

At least Barfoot’s homeowners association eventually dropped the lawsuit, but only after the American Legion, the White House and several U.S. senators spoke out in support of the veteran.

More apple pie, please.

The only time an American flag should get people into trouble is if people disrespect it. Hopefully most folks know not to wear the flag as clothing or use it for curtains, wallpaper or a bedspread. Likewise, flags should never be burned, stepped on, dragged through the mud or used to line a litter box.

That’s just rude.

Other bad flag etiquette is a tad less obvious, at least for one fast food franchise. This clown-happy burger place has been known to fly its own yellow and red logo banner on the same pole as our American beauty. This violates the code that prohibits advertising from sharing the same staff.

It is also quite pretentious – as if the franchise is on the same level as the nation.

No flag beats out Old Glory in America, even if billions have been served – and even if the place serves apple pie.


This article doubles as the Monday, June 14 editorial in the Arizona Daily Star.

Ryn Gargulinski is a poet, artist, performer and Ryngmaster who is not sure about her HOA rules of flying flags although she knows it is not fond of her yard art. Her column appears every Friday on Rynski’s Blogski. Her art, writing and more is at and E-mail

wb-logolilWhat do you think?

Do you care about Flag Day?

Do you even own an American flag?

Have you seen flag code violations? What were they and where?

Is it right to squash the American flag on Cinco de Mayo or any other holiday?


About Rynski

Writer, artist, performer who specializes in the weird, wacky and sometimes creepy. Learn more at
This entry was posted in danger, life, Rynski Column, Stupidity and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

36 Responses to American flag can cause trouble, celebrate Flag Day anyway

  1. susan says:

    Flag Day:It is measure to righteousness the oldest symbol and most grave temple of our region of  U.s.. Weekday, June 14th is Flag Day, the start of the Nationalistic Flag week. <a href=””><b> 1966, Congress passed a resolution </b></a>

    • Rynski says:

      thanks for add’l info, susan.
      i like this fact:
      1. The U.S. flag is said to be the world’s most recognizable flag, and places in the top 20 most recognizable symbols around the world and logos.


  2. Option John says:

    Lets see what the White House does today Flagg Day June 14th.

    • Ferraribubba says:

      Hey John: OK, let’s play your little game. Let’s see how much longer before Dear Leader has the Jolly Roger run up the flagpole atop the White House? It’s only a matter of time.
      Yer pal, Ferrari Bubba

    • Rynski says:

      …and i like the jolly roger, ferraribubba – NOT as a replacement for the american flag, of course, but in general.

  3. ARB18 says:

    I agree that people should always be able to show the flag without getting into trouble. However people should be able to disrespect the flag if they so choose, this is America, we have freedom of speech.
    P.S. this person does not know what they are talking about. We shouldn’t burn the flag? That is how you are supposed to retire a flag. It is a sign of respect…

    • Rynski says:

      dearest ARB18,
      thanks for pointing out the exception to flag burning being OK. you are correct.
      perhaps “this person” (aka the author) figured since the entire paragraph was about disrespecting the flag, folks would glean that she was referring to flag burning in general – not as part of flag retirement and exception to the rule.
      thanks, though, for pointing out perhaps not all folks are bright enough to understand. you did a great service!

  4. Ben says:

    So the kids show up to school to display their flags on Cinco de Mayo? Huh? Where were they the rest of the year? The administrators made a bad decision, but by suggesting they are unpatriotic by trying to prevent potential violence is hogwash.
    Option John: Obama will probably bestow the flag another great honor, but can he top last year? He extended Flag DAY to Flag WEEK.
    From Fox News 2009:

    “Our flag’s journey has been long,” Obama said in a statement. “It has seen our Nation through war and peace, triumph and tragedy. It flew above the walls of Fort Sumter, South Carolina, at the outset of the Civil War. It stood on Mount Suribachi on the island of Iwo Jima during World War II. During the Civil Rights Movement, determined protesters on the streets of Selma, Alabama, proudly displayed its colors. Following the attacks of September 11, 2001, Old Glory flew over the southwestern wall of the Pentagon and the rubble of the World Trade Center.”
    The president has ordered flags displayed on all federal buildings during the week and is urging Americans to fly the Star and Stripes at their homes and other suitable places.

    • Rynski says:

      hi ben,
      “hogwash” is a great word, isn’t it? hahaha.
      i agree that letting these kids wear their american flag garb could have led to some violence – but i also have a few more questions:
      1. how do we know these kids don’t wear the american flag garb on other days of the year – or daily, for that matter.
      2. is the same ‘respect’ given to holidays like fourth of july, memorial day, veterans day, flag day, etc., etc. with other students asked to remove or hide any clothing depicting the mexican or other flags?
      sometimes ‘PC’ is a big, fat one-way street.
      …maybe we’ll have FLAG MONTH this year..or FLAG DECADE? hahahah.
      thanks for input.

  5. Flag use says:

    United State Code, Title 4, Chapter 1 clearly outlines appropriate and inappropriate uses for the flag.  90% of the time I see the flag used, it is being used very inappropriately.  It should definitely not be used on t-shirts.  Bandannas with flags on them are clear violations of the Code.  The only good place for a flag is flying free on a flagpole.
    As to burning the flag, Section §8, paragraph k of the Code clearly states, and I quote:
    “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”
    But to burn a new flag or a flag in good condition is tantamount to treason.

    • Rynski says:

      dear flag use,
      the 90 percent of flag use being inappropriate is scary!
      maybe folks should be required to take flag etiquette classes, right after we sign them up for parenting and pet care classes…hahahahhaa.
      thanks for comment.

    • Ferraribubba says:

      Hey Flag: The U.S. Code pertains to a Flag. It says nothing about a representation of the stars and stripes, which is O.K. in the law’s eyes.
      It’s about FLAGS only. Get it?
      Yer pal, Ferrari Bubba

    • Sandi says:

      ‘ It should definitely not be used on t-shirts.  Bandannas with flags on them are clear violations of the Code’

      Actually, no. The code  says not to use a ‘flag’ in such manner.  However, since the definition of what constitutes a  US flag is Very specific and while using an ‘actual’ flag for such things is incorrect, these items do not count as flags.

      Please see,  Excutive Order 10834 

  6. DEG says:

    “But to burn a new flag or a flag in good condition is tantamount to treason”  This statement demonstrates a complete lack of understand for what the flag represents.

    • Flag use says:

      Okay.  Maybe I went a little overboard on this statement.  I wish to clarify:  If I were to burn a new flag or a flag in good condition, I would view my act as a treasonous act against the United States of America.  It is a symbolic act even if it isn’t literally treason.
      Sorry for the confusion.

  7. Bob says:

    I hit the yes key by mistake. Please count my vote as a definate NO. In the US it is NOT right to ban the flag from being flown or displayed on ANY day when it is being done with respect.

  8. babyboots says:

    My flag is displayed on all major holidays, and the Marine Corps birthday.

    “They said we could wear it on any other day,” said flag-displaying student Daniel Galli in an NBC report, “but today is sensitive to Mexican-Americans because it’s supposed to be their holiday so we were not allowed to wear it today.”

    Why is this sensitive to mexican-americans? Mexico does not celebrate it, so why are we? BECAUSE, one beer company wanted to make more money.

    • Rynski says:

      love your beer company theory, babyboots – and also bet it has a lot of clout.
      dang beer companies….

    • D Keys says:

      Oh babyboots, you have opened the vein on this one! You are absolutely correct, commercialism is what drives the “beer drinking holidays.” Cinco de Mayo is a perfect example of one such day.

      I fly THE flag every day! I am proud to be an American and proud that others let me have the right to say it. Just the same, AMERICANS of Mexican decent should be glad that they have the same freedoms afforded to them( for the most part they are). The Americans of Mexican Decent I have the honor of knowing are true patriots who like to have a beer or two on the 5th of May.

      And honestly, those I have the honor of knowing, don’t care who celebrates “their” holiday.

      Rynksi —hogwash! I just had to say it once for you.

  9. azmouse says:

    Yeah for the American Flag!!!

  10. radmax says:

    Howdy Rynski!…and a wonderful patriotic piece on flag day!
    I am a bit ashamed though, I have a flag bandanna that I wear while riding my motorcycle. Didn’t know it was anything but patriotic. I won’t wear it again. Funny thing is, I’ve never heard anything but compliments for wearing it.
    I tend to agree with the earlier comment that non-American flag articles/clothing should not be worn on our country’s patriotic holidays, out of respect for our traditions!

    • Rynski says:

      hey radmax!
      thanks for patriotic input!
      that’s good you’ve not gotten guff from american flag bandanna – maybe you should just switch it for a jolly roger bandanna, which suits your icon!, and then everyone will be happy – hahaha.
      also good you agree with earlier comment on non-american flag articles on patriotic holidays. keep your eyes peeled for upcoming july 4…..

  11. leftfield says:

    Hi Folks,  I see nothing wrong with showing a flag per se.  What becomes problematic is nationalism without consideration and without an international persepctive .  Unfortunately, politicians have discovered that continually provoking fears of non-existent and waving the flag is good for business.  The right wing has also recommended that knee-jerk flag waving will save you all that annoying and difficult contemplation of complex problems. 

    To wit-the children wearing the American flag on Cinco de Mayo were not simply exercising free speech rights.  The untold story is that they were attempting to provoke a confrontation.  As has been said before, your freedom to swing your fist stops at the end of the other guy’s nose.  Don’t make them into American heroes, they were just snot-nosed little would-be nativists looking for trouble. 

    election cash is the captcha  

    • azmouse says:

      Hey, back from your trip? I hope you had a great time.
      Many people missed you and were wondering where you were, but I kept them informed!

      • leftfield says:

        Thanks for the welcome, azmouse.  Yes, I’m back as of yesterday, but taking a day off today to unpack and unwind before heading back to the salt mines.  I appreciate your letting everyone know about my travel.  I’m sure Jim Kelley and Don Smith especially missed my particular insights into things.  The last two weeks were a lot of work, but especially satisfying in that I was able to help a lot of people and animals (communist animals, BTW).

      • azmouse says:

        Well, helping people and animals is a great thing, even if they’re communists. lol

        I do recall many….’why isn’t lefty chiming in on this’ kind of comments.

        Anyone who doesn’t admit that it’s much more boring on here without your comments has to be lying. You are missed when you’re gone! 🙂

        Happy you made it home safe and sound.

    • Rynski says:

      yaaay! leftfield is back, welcome back!
      how cool you got to help communist animals – do they make different noises than non-communist animals? i know, for instance, that roosters in france say ‘coco rico’ rather than our ‘cockadoodle doo.’
      do they share their feed more freely?
      thanks for update on travels – and input on flag issue. …personally, i cannot imagine any teen being snot-nosed or wanting to provoke confrontation – hahahhahaha.

      • leftfield says:

        Most chickens in Central America are communist in sympathies, though when it comes to sharing food they instantly become greedy capitalists  Interestingly, the chickens  there say “Pico-Pico” rather than “buk-buk-buk-buk”.  If you listen very carefully they will also say, “Yankee Go Home”, once your back is turned.

  12. leftfield says:

    nb – that should be “fears of non-existent threats…”.

  13. Ferraribubba says:

    Hey Lefty: Well, I see that mi’ amigos, Los Pepes didn’t find you and give you the Juan Pablo Escobar welcome that they had planned for you.
    Anyway, welcome back. Your pithy comments were missed.
    Yer pal in deepest, darkest Arkansas, Ferrari Bubba

    • leftfield says:

      Thanks for the welcome, FB.  While I was busy learning the latest on bomb-throwing and Trotskyism, I also talked to a lot of people on the street.  They all wanted to know if what they had heard about Arkansas was true or if their mothers were just trying to scare them when they threatened to send them there if they misbehaved.

  14. Alan Melroy (Alan from Kent WA says:

    I enjoy flying the stars and strips here in the Northwest, as it get the commies here real excited as they think the UN flag takes precident over the US of A. 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s