Navigating the Middle

through adolescents, menopause, aging parents & other flying debris



Day 3: Please Display with Care

A Florida vet faced eviction by his HOA, after failing to pay thousands of dollars in fines for displaying an American flag in a flower pot on his front porch. (Earlier today, a pair of executives offered to pay the Air Force veteran’s fees that jeopardized his home.)

A couple of days ago, a Korean War veteran in Idaho was cited for displaying the American flag in his window.  The vet’s HOA demanded that the “inappropriate curtains” be removed, before rescinding the violation and issuing an apology.

Both men are veterans. Both have the right to display the American flag. But only one of them has properly done so, according to the U.S. Flag Code.

If you’re going to present the colors, here are some guidelines that you need to follow.

  1. The flag may be displayed from sunrise to sunset on buildings and on stationary flagstaffs in the open. It may be displayed twenty-four hours a day if properly illuminated after dark.
  2. The flag should not be displayed on days when the weather is inclement, except when an all-weather flag is displayed.
  3. When the flag is displayed from a staff projecting horizontally or at an angle from the window sill, balcony, or front of a building, the union of the flag should be placed at the peak of the staff unless the flag is at half-staff. When the flag is suspended over a sidewalk from a rope extending from a house to a pole at the edge of the sidewalk, the flag should be hoisted out, union first, from the building.
  4. When displayed either horizontally or vertically against a wall, the union should be uppermost and to the flag’s own right, that is, to the observer’s left. When displayed in a window, the flag should be displayed in the same way, with the union or blue field to the left of the observer in the street.
  5. When the flag is displayed over the middle of the street, it should be suspended vertically with the union to the north in an east and west street or to the east in a north and south street.
  6. The flag should never touch anything beneath it, such as the ground, the floor, water, or merchandise.
  7. The flag should never be displayed with the union down, except as a signal of dire distress in instances of extreme danger to life or property.

Now that you know a little more about the proper way to exhibit Old Glory, I’ll ask you: which of these flags is properly displayed?

flag2 flag1



Day 25: Graduation Day

Today is graduation day at our local high school and thousands of students throughout Maryland. Speeches will delivered; diplomas will be handed out; and Instagram, Twitter and Facebook will explode with pictures.

In honor of all graduates, I am sharing the 2014 keynote address from my Alma mater, the University of Texas at Austin. In this inspiring video, U.S. Naval Admiral William H. McRaven shares lessons learned during basic SEAL training and how these lessons can be used to change the world.

And even if you are like me, and you graduated many years ago, it’s still worth the 20 minutes.

If you want to change the world, you must be your very best in the darkest moment. – Admiral McRaven


Day 29: My 9/11 Flag

This is the flag that hangs outside my home, mostly on patriotic holidays. It  was purchased on September 12, 2001. Since then, it has flown in Hawaii, Texas, and now has its home in Maryland.

We are a military family.

My father, grandfather, and great-grandfather were all military men. Thankfully, none of them died while on active duty. But the flag still reminds me of their sacrifice, theirs and so many others who have died in service to our country.

But the reason I initially wanted a flag was not unlike many Americans who bought a flag on September 12th: the Twin Towers, the Pentagon, and Shanksville, Pennsylvania. It saw a lot of action when my husband deployed to Iraq for 14 months. He returned home, but nearly 4,500 service members did not.  In Afghanistan, where our troops have been fighting since 2001, two thousand, two hundred and twenty-nine have perished.

The way I see it, that flag is an enduring symbol of freedom, sacrifice, and selflessness.

A little more than a week ago, Army Specialist Adrian M. Perkins paid the ultimate price. He was only 19 and was probably in kindergarten when the towers fell.

Memorial Day is a day for remembrance of those who have died in service to our country, including 1,312,612 souls since the American Revolutionary War in 1775. Makes it kind of hard to say “Happy Memorial Day,” doesn’t it?

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