This May 28th will be, in some manner, the 145th observation of the Memorial Day holiday. Memorial Day was officially proclaimed on 5 May 1868 by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic as a day of respect for those who died in service during the Civil War. Memorial Day was first officially recognized as a holiday in 1873 by the state of New York. By 1890 it was recognized and observed in all of the northern states. The South honored their war dead on separate days until after World War I when the holiday became recognition of those who died serving in any war in which the US was involved.
Flying flags is a long standing tradition among boaters. First and still used as a form of communication and identification, recreational boaters now fly flags for many other reasons. On the coming Memorial Day weekend, many will fly the American flag (properly referred to as the U.S. National Ensign, "50-star" or "Old Glory") to show their patriotism and respect for the fallen who sacrificed their lives so that we may enjoy a free society. It is correct to fly the US flag at half-mast from sun rise to noon on Memorial Day at which time the flag should be returned to full height.
Proper etiquette for flying the U.S. national ensign from your vessel is outlined by the U.S. Power Squadron Flag Etiquette Committee and can be viewed on their website at: http://www.usps.org/f_stuff/etiquett.html.
The U.S. national ensign should be flown in a position of honor. While the rules are quite specific, it may be difficult to follow them to the letter due to the design of your vessel. In such cases, positioning the flag in a place of prominence and honor is accepted. The U.S. national ensign should be flown above all other flags.
On Monday, May 28th, fly your American flag with pride, enjoy your freedom, and remember; all gave some and some gave all. Have a happy, safe holiday!
[EDITOR'S NOTE] Find flags for your boat at iboats.com
Article provided by: Chris Cromley, Boating Flagpoles, LLC. Flag poles for fishing rod holders.