Sunday, October 19, 2014

When to Fly the Flag at Half Staff

At our stix and brix house in Ohio, I had a 20 ft flag pole, mounted in concrete near the street end of our lot. It was a substantial pole; strong enough to stand up to a stiff wind and tall enough to let Old Glory catch the breeze. I was proud of that pole. It gave me a good feeling to see our flag flying when it came into view as I rounded the curve approaching our house.

Since we have been RVing, I have come to miss that pole and the flag, and have been looking for an alternative. I have my collection of flags with me; I only need the pole. The popular flag setups for RVs don't work for me. Since we are a fifth wheel, usually in a back-in situation, the ladder attachment scheme puts the flag pole in the woods instead of out front. The 'under the wheel' setup doesn't work because my wheels are under the slide–out.

Patience won out and I eventually found what I was looking for. Poles and Holders sells a free standing 20 foot flag pole (Model PNH-22) that collapses to less than four feet and weighs only four pounds. Separately they sell a ground mount (Model GM-22) to hold the pole. I was skeptical of the ground mount because their descriptive literature and pictures are inadequate and I did not get a good feeling about its strength to hold the pole in a strong wind or its ability to withstand repeated hammering into the ground. However, I bit the bullet and bought the pole and ground mount; relying on being able to return the product if it proved unsatisfactory. The entire package – pole, ground mount, and shipping was $98. So far I am satisfied, although I am still waiting for a strong wind to test it.

Changing subjects from flag poles to flying flags. Recently, while out and about, I was surprised to see flags at half–staff. I didn't know why and that got me to thinking about how to get an advanced warning on when to fly the flag at half–staff. When in doubt 'google it'. I did and got the official dates for when the flag should be flown at half–staff. I loaded those dates in my calendar with an email warning the day before.

I also came across this liitle widget. Click on the picture and get the code to put in your blog or website. It will show you every day if the day is a full–staff day or a half–staff day. It's kind of cool. The only problem is that it only tells you about today, not tomorrow. So it does not provide any advanced warning.