Stepping into the world of Social Work
An open letter to the realtors that leave flags on our lawn
July 2, 2011Posted by on
To the realtors that leave flags on our lawn every Independence Day:
Thank you very much for your kind gift of an American flag stuck into our lawn this weekend (just like every year at this time). But with all due respect – CUT IT OUT!
I love my country as much as any American, but consider your “gifts” to be in extremely bad taste. Here’s why;
1. First and foremost, I do not consider it acceptable in the least to use the American flag for advertising purposes. Since your name and phone number are attached to the flag, along with the fact you are a realtor, so there is no escaping that this is advertising.
According to the US flag code:
Any person who, within the District of Columbia, in any manner, for exhibition or display, shall place or cause to be placed any word, figure, mark, picture, design, drawing, or any advertisement of any nature upon any flag, standard, colors, or ensign of the United States of America; or shall expose or cause to be exposed to public view any such flag, standard, colors, or ensign upon which shall have been printed, painted, or otherwise placed, or to which shall be attached, appended, affixed, or annexed any word, figure, mark, picture, design, or drawing, or any advertisement of any nature; or who, within the District of Columbia, shall manufacture, sell, expose for sale, or to public view, or give away or have in possession for sale, or to be given away or for use for any purpose, any article or substance being an article of merchandise, or a receptacle for merchandise or article or thing for carrying or transporting merchandise, upon which shall have been printed, painted, attached, or otherwise placed a representation of any such flag, standard, colors, or ensign, to advertise, call attention to, decorate, mark, or distinguish the article or substance on which so placed shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be punished by a fine not exceeding $100 or by imprisonment for not more than thirty days, or both, in the discretion of the court. The words "flag, standard, colors, or ensign", as used herein, shall include any flag, standard, colors, ensign, or any picture or representation of either, or of any part or parts of either, made of any substance or represented on any substance, of any size evidently purporting to be either of said flag, standard, colors, or ensign of the United States of America or a picture or a representation of either, upon which shall be shown the colors, the stars and the stripes, in any number of either thereof, or of any part or parts of either, by which the average person seeing the same without deliberation may believe the same to represent the flag, colors, standard, or ensign of the United States of America.
2. Placing a flag on my lawn exposes it to conditions inappropriate to proper display of a flag. Not only could it be wet by my sprinklers or fall on the ground and get dirty or stepped on, but it could also become a “pee target” for dogs. Two weeks from now, I am certain to see many of your flags in other lawns, faded, dirty and ugly. Very much the wrong message about our flag.
3. If I choose to leave it in my lawn for the holiday, proper treatment of the flag afterwards becomes a problem. I cannot just throw it in the trash, which is what I would do with any other realtors gifts which were no longer useful (such as calendars or pens) since it is a FLAG. But I also don’t have the resources to properly dispose of it either. Perhaps I’ll call the Boy Scouts or a veterans group to see if they would like to take all 20 of the past flags we still have in the garage from previous years and do the right thing by them.
4. I may not philosophically agree with flag-waving. I love my country, but I have also spent time abroad in Germany, a country which suffered through a recent period of totalitarian nationalism. During my time there, I realized that flag waving is not necessarily benign.
In my opinion, the appropriate action might be for realtors who wish to continue offering flags would be to REMOVE their name from the flag, first. Then they should ring doorbells and OFFER the flag, perhaps along with their business card. That way they are not technically advertising with the flag and are only giving it to those who really want one and wish to care for it properly.
And don’t even get me talking about those supposed patriots (businesses or individuals) who fly/display flags in violation of the flag code – tattered, unlit at night, etc. and think that still makes them patriots….
- Five myths about the American flag – The Washington Post (wpvins.wordpress.com)
- Etiquette For The American Flag On Flag Day 2011 (wcbsfm.radio.com)