Old Glory will be on display many places for the Fourth of July

Posted 7/3/19

SILER CITY — Weather permitting, 10 members of the Siler City Lions Club will fan out throughout town early on July 4th, armed with the stars and stripes.

“We put flags at about 100 locations …

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Old Glory will be on display many places for the Fourth of July

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SILER CITY — Weather permitting, 10 members of the Siler City Lions Club will fan out throughout town early on July 4th, armed with the stars and stripes.

“We put flags at about 100 locations around town,” said Lee Harvey, a longtime member of the Siler City Lions Club.

Since 1967, when the Lions took over the community flag project from the Optimist Club, Lions have been fulfilling the civic responsibility on federal holidays and presidential elections — with the Fourth of July being one of 13 holidays in which the club displays its flags.

“It reflects the values of the community,” said Lions Club member Wade Paschal Jr., one of the Lions who handles putting up (around sunrise) and taking down (around sunset) those 100 U.S. flags on designated holidays.

"It’s patriotism,” Paschal said. “It’s love of country. The flag is an important symbol of our country. And it’s pretty darn good, what we’ve got here. We try to do what we can for what’s right and good and to uplift the community.”

Of Old Glory, which consists of a blue rectangle bearing 50 white stars representing each state and 13 alternating red and white stripes representing the original 13 colonies, many Americans share the sentiment.

According to the Flag Manufacturers Association of America (FMAA), which was established in 2003 dedicated to educating the public on the quality of flags manufactured in the United States as well as the proper use of what the organization says is “our nation’s greatest symbol,” approximately 150 million U.S. flags are sold annually. That figure has remained steady for many years, the FMAA says.

Most of those millions of flags are purchased in April, May and June, according to the FMAA, in time for Memorial Day and the Fourth of July, the two holidays for which the flag is most frequently displayed.

Among the biggest sellers of U.S. flags in the country is Carrot-Top Industries Inc., headquartered in Hillsborough, said Tabetha Carnahan, the company’s Ecommerce Manager.

Carrot-Top was launched by founder Dwight Morris as a small mail-order flag business operated from Morris’ home in the Midwest until 1987, the year he relocated the company to North Carolina, Carnahan said.

The Hillsborough company has grown to become the top online flag retailer in the industry, providing American-made U.S. flags and other patriotic products to military institutions, service member families, government agencies, schools, businesses, and individuals across the country, Carnahan said. Still an independent, family-owned business, Carrot-Top Industries operates from a 25,000 square-foot warehouse in neighboring Orange County.

In addition to manufacturing and selling flags, the company is also helpful in unraveling the many responsibilities of proper flag display.

For example, when flying the American flag on the same pole as an organization, state, or city flag, the U.S. flag is “always at the top of the pole, in a position of honor,” Carrot-Top’s online tutorial instructs.

“There’s a protocol,” Paschal, of the Lions Club, observed of properly displaying and honoring the symbol.

The United States Flag Code, which is federal law enacted under President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1942, outlines guidelines for the use, display and disposal of the flag. The flag should, for example, never be displayed with the union down, except as a signal of distress. The flag should never be allowed to touch the ground. And, if flown at night, the flag must be illuminated.

When a flag has become tattered or discolored from use, the Code states it should be destroyed in a dignified manner, usually by burning.

“It’s done that way out of respect for the flag,” said Crystal Willett, a Scout leader with Goldston’s Boy Scout Troop 900, whose Scouts frequently conduct retirement ceremonies for out-of-use flags.

The Scouts’ flag retirement procedures involve first shredding the worn flag, carefully separating the 13 stripes and leaving the star-spangled blue field intact, “so all the stars stay together,” Willett said.

Once carefully shredded, the flag is then burned.

“We do the ceremonies quite often, and it’s always a serious thing for the Scouts,” said Willett. “Everybody’s in uniform. They don’t goof off, or play with the fire; and the fire is used only for the retirement of the flag.”

Randall Rigsbee can be reached at rigsbee@chathamnr.com.


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