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Old Glory

Proper flag etiquette is often misstated… lost in urban legends, misinformation, and simple ignorance.  Here are some of the highlights set down by the official government handbook on flag etiquette.

  • The flag is never to be lowered in deference to another person or country- only if on a ship saluting a ship from another country.
  • The flag should never be used as clothing, bedding, curtains, or decoration-  bunting is used for these purposes
  • The flag must never be displayed in a manner that could lead to it being damaged-  like flying it in a thunderstorm
  • Flags can be cleaned and repaired when necessary
  • No additional marks, symbols, lettering, or images can be displayed on a flag- only military designations
  • Only when a flag has become damaged beyond repair should it be burned- ceremonies are held every year on June 14
  • Flags touching the ground DO NOT have to  be destroyed- this is a sign of disrespect, not a reason to destroy a flag
  • Flags must always be allowed to fall freely-  only the flag used during the alleged moon landing is exempted
  • The flag should be properly folded before it is stored
  • Proper flags should not be used for advertising or displayed on commercial products
  • Flags are only displayed upside-down in extreme distress – not like bad Tommy Lee Jones movies

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The Mighty Endeavor

nebraskaenergyobserver

My traditional post for June 6th, seen most years…

General Eisenhower speaks with members of the ...General Eisenhower speaks with members of the 101st Airborne Division on the evening of 5 June 1944 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Prologue:

Seventy-four years ago, night before last a Royal Air Force Group Captain delivered a weather briefing to an obscure American general. The general had an operation planned and the weather was very iffy. But, that general, who was a staff major in 1940 said, “OK, let’s go”

And so after planning and deception efforts reaching back to before Pearl Harbor, an operation was launched. It would invade France’s Normandy peninsula. Its name was OVERLORD.

It was a huge risk, and there was no ‘Plan B’. If it failed, obviously that general’s career would end, his name was Eisenhower, by the way, so would his boss’s General Marshall, and probably his boss Franklin Roosevelt, for this was 1944, and it was…

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Finding One Such Man

nebraskaenergyobserver

Well, I was looking about for something to add to this, and finally came to the conclusion that there is nothing I can add or subtract from the story, except perhaps to echo Ronald Reagan. President Reagan said this in his radio address on May 15th, 1982.

I received another letter from one of our ambassadors in Europe. He wrote that a 19-year-old trooper in our armored cavalry had asked that he send me a message. It was: “Tell the President we’re proud to be here, and we ain’t scared of nothing.”

In James Michener’s book “The Bridges at Toko-Ri,” he writes of an officer waiting through the night for the return of planes to a carrier as dawn is coming on. And he asks, “Where do we find such men?” Well, we find them where we’ve always found them. They are the product of the freest society man has…

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Dolley Madison at 250

Presidential History Blog

At 250 years old, Dolley Madison has consistently “worn well.”

Happy Birthday to Dolley!

Dolley by Gilbert Stuart Dolley Madison, by Gilbert Stuart.

From the time Dolley Payne Todd Madison (May 20, 1768-1849) was in her mid-twenties, she was arguably the most famous woman in the United States. Two centuries later, according to the copious amount of written evidence, everybody had nice words for Dolley Madison!

Her good looks and ready smile attracted everyone in Philadelphia, where she lived as a teenaged girl-to-recently-widowed woman. Helping her mother run a boarding house in the new country’s temporary capital gave her proximity and won her the admiration of congressmen and other notables, including President and Mrs. George Washington.

So well known was the Widow Todd, that Congressman James Madison, seventeen years her senior, specifically wanted to meet her. He was immediately enchanted by her delightful personality, and within six months, they were married. As Mrs. Madison…

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Review of “Nixon: The Education of a Politician 1913-1962 (Vol 1)” by Stephen Ambrose

My Journey Through the Best Presidential Biographies

Published in 1987, “Nixon: The Education of a Politician 1913-1962” is the first volume in Stephen Ambrose’s well-regarded series on Richard Nixon. Ambrose was a historian and the author of more than two-dozen books. He remains one of the best-known biographers of Dwight Eisenhower and Richard Nixon but numerous allegations of plagiarism and exaggeration have tarnished his reputation. Ambrose died in 2002 at the age of sixty-six.

This 674-page introductory volume covers Nixon’s life up through his unsuccessful attempt to become governor of California in 1962.  The volume is well-paced, very well-organized, and written in an extremely straightforward and comprehensible style. And where most of Nixon’s biographers seem to adopt a “love him or hate him” attitude, Ambrose approaches his subject with remarkable balance.

Although this biography provides significantly more insight into Nixon’s early life than the single-volume biographies of Nixon I’ve read, it is far less detailed…

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Johnson, Grant and the Big Parade

Presidential History Blog

Andrew Johnson, 17th President

Mid-March through Mid-May, 1865 were fraught with events

March 1865

With General Ulysses Grant squeezing the Rebel Army even tighter in Petersburg, VA, and General William Sherman marching his vast army up the eastern coast, everyone knew that the end of a terrible Civil War was close at hand. Yes, there would be more fighting and more casualties, but the end was coming.

Lincoln meets with his Generals.

And to that end, President Abraham Lincoln, newly inaugurated to his second term, paid a visit to General Grant and Admiral David Porter. General Sherman made a flying trip to join the discussions.

Lincoln obviously meant every word in his “malice toward none” Second Inaugural speech. He wanted it to be policy: “let ‘em up easy.” A generous approach would woo the vanquished far easier than brutal blame and punishment demanded by many in Congress.

April 9-15, 1865

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More door myths: Double doors for superstitious people

History Myths Debunked

Melissa Nesbitt from Texarkana Museums System in Arkansas writes, “I just heard this from a visitor to our museum today–he can’t (of course) remember at what historic home he heard it, but it went something like this–there were often double doors on older homes (one on each side of the front area I think he meant), and one was used for entering and one for exiting because it was “bad luck” to enter and exit through the same door.  Yeah, right…  ”

Actually, Melissa, your visitor has it backwards. The superstition says it is bad luck for entering and exiting through different doors. So if you entered through the back door, you should exit through the back door to avoid bad luck. Some attribute this to Irish superstition; others to general folklore. 

I can’t quite see what the visitor here had in mind . . . “double doors” are just…

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