20 February 2013

She Assumes Much, But Knows Little

I got a call from a random employee of one of my tenants, complaining that there isn't enough light shining on the flag out front, at night.

"You're not following the code," she intoned.

Okay. Section 6(a) of the United States Flag Code states, in part:

" §6 Time and occasions for display

  1. 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 twenty-four hours a day if properly illuminated during the hours of darkness."

Of course, this is a guideline only and there are no civil or criminal penalties for failure to illuminate a flag, in the code. If there is it would be an isolated local matter. But for anyone interested in displaying the flag in a proper and respectful manner, this is it.

However, she also fails to take into account the difficulty in ground-based lighting in a land where there are multiple feet of snow on the ground for more than half the year.

This is further complicated by our flagpole, which has the rope & pulleys inside the pole, with the unused rope piled at the bottom of the interior ... which promptly fills with ice every winter. During the cold months (late October through April, most years) the rope cannot be moved.

I'm sorry to disappoint the woman (okay, not really), but it seems she doesn't know what she's talking about.

If anyone knows otherwise, please let me know.

p.s.  As a point of interest, the only penalty provided in the code is for any resident of the District of Columbia who defaces or mutilates a flag. For that miscreant, the fine is $100 or imprisonment for not more than thirty days, or both (Sect. 3, US Flag Code).


Expatriate Owl said...

Ask her: (A) How many lux did she measure on the flag with her light meter? (B) When was her light meter last calibrated? (C) How many lux does the Flag Code require anyway?

Rev. Paul said...

Owl, there's the rub. The Code suggests "proper illumination", but doesn't define it or provide standards. So ... whatever. If I can figure out a way to provide better lighting, I will. But the owner has to approve it, first.

Old NFO said...

EO has a good point, and the rules ARE nebulous to put it mildly...

armedlaughing said...

While I agree with you, it is nice someone cared - instead of complaining there was a flag!


Carteach said...

Perhaps she would be interested in heading up a committee to look into the issue, and report back with both fixes and zero base funding methods for same.

Stephen said...

Tell the lady you'd be more than willing to turn over the flags care to her.

Rev. Paul said...

Guffaw, she didn't express gratitude for the flag; all she wanted to do was complain about the "failure to follow the Code" - and I kept hearing Jack Sparrow & Mr. Gibbs in my head.

Carteach & Stephen, I suggested something similar, and she said, "I'm not a property manager." I replied, "Exactly."

Rev. Paul said...

NFO, I wish I'd known all this ahead of time ... but I do now. You & EO are right: there ARE no standards, nor is "proper illumination" defined anyplace in the Code.