'Flag Capital' Should Fly Flag With Respect

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The sight of the American flag snapping smartly in the breeze has inspired soldiers in battle and composers in song.


It calls school children to attention, brings sports fans to their feet and requires parade goers to take pause.


According to the "Etiquette of the Stars and Stripes," the American flag should be hoisted briskly and lowered ceremoniously.


It is a powerful symbol of our freedom and a sacred reminder of the sacrifices this country's men and women have made to keep us all free and safe.


Local veterans and Payson's Flag Committee take great pride in posting American flags along highways 260 and 87 on holidays and in hoisting the Stars and Stripes into the air to honor our fallen soldiers.


Former Arizona Governor Fife Symington even declared our town the "Flag Capital of Arizona," in honor of our town's patriotic pride.


But we've faltered in our duty to this great symbol. A large American flag flies day and night on the south edge of town.


According to the first of 43 detailed rules listed in the "Etiquette of the Stars and Stripes": "It is the universal custom to display the flag only from sunrise to sunset on buildings and on stationary flagstaffs in the open.


"However, when a patriotic effect is desired, the flag may be displayed 24 hours a day if properly illuminated during the hours of darkness."


And therein lies the problem. The flag, which is likely the largest in town, is not lighted at night, which casts an unintentional, but carelessly disrespectful pall on the flag.


Whose responsibility it is to properly light the flag isn't readily clear, but leaving the flag in the dark reflects poorly on the whole community.


So, in an effort to light the way for our nation's flag, the Roundup invites readers' comments and suggestions for a simple, inexpensive way to light Old Glory, as well as help from veterans' organizations and the Flag Committee to make this happen.


If you would like to help, call 474-5251 and ask for Katy Whitehouse or Richard Haddad.

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