The National Flag and POW-MIA flags: First they’re up and then they’re down

This morning I walked into the local VA clinic for my quarterly blood work. It seems like it has been more than quarterly. The “Patient Aligned Care Team” or PACT as the VA calls my “health care staff,” mostly my nurse, has carefully been monitoring my diabetes. I am glad because I sometimes don’t pay as much attention to the disease as I should. To make a long story short, my A1C has dropped two points, to 7.1, which is a good thing. A1C refers to a blood test that measures your average blood glucose control for the past 2 to 3 months.

My health isn’t the real point of my story. While walking into the clinic, I just happened to notice, for no particular reason, that the U.S. flag and the POW-MIA flag below it, were flying high. If you aren’t familiar with the POW-MIA flag then read here. A provision was tacked on the U.S. Defense Authorization Act of 1998 that the POW-MIA flag be flown on certain occasions and that the flag at “VA medical centers to fly the POW/MIA flag on any day on which the flag of the United States is displayed.” The latter occasion would be what we here in Southeast Texas would call “pert near” every day. I don’t know why I looked up at the flag. Perhaps as referred to in our National Anthem, I was just checking to see  that “the flag was still there.” Fortunately I didn’t have to look up through the red glare of rockets or bombs bursting in air to gather that particular proof.

I left the clinic for an hour or so after my blood test and went back to the crib. Then it was time to return to the VA, fortunately only a mile or so traversing I-10, to see my nurse. By this time she hopefully had my blood work. I don’t think I looked up at the flag this time.

Leaving the clinic to put some items in my truck, I did notice the flags. This time they were flying at half-staff.  (Hint: If the flags are on ships they are referred to as at half-mast.) I had to return inside to wait on my prescription so I could have asked someone why the flags were at half-staff. I wasn’t confident I would find the answer anytime soon so I just waited to return home and look it up on “the internets,” as our jolly “Texan” ex-president George W. “Gee Dub-ya” Bush used to say.

I found out the reason why the flags were halfway up, or down” the flagpole by finding in my search — of all places — the Web site of Gov. Rick “Good Hair” Perry. He’s our governor here in Texas, which is always a cause for celebration because he won’t be president of the United States.

Perry has a “flag status” page on his official governor’s office site which said:

 “The President’s order below is lowering flags to half staff immediately through sunset on Friday.

 “According to the US Flag Code, no flag may be displayed higher than the US flag.  Any State of Texas flag appearing in a display with the US flag at half-staff should also be displayed at half-staff.”

 Following was a Proclamation from President Obama:



As a mark of respect for the victims of the senseless acts of violence perpetrated on August 5, 2012, in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, by the authority vested in me as President of the United States by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, I hereby order that the flag of the United States shall be flown at half-staff at the White House and upon all public buildings and grounds, at all military posts and naval stations, and on all naval vessels of the Federal Government in the District of Columbia and throughout the United States and its Territories and possessions until sunset, August 10, 2012.  I also direct that the flag shall be flown at half-staff for the same length of time at all United States embassies, legations, consular offices, and other facilities abroad, including all military facilities and naval vessels and stations.

US Flag will be Half-staff until Friday, August 10, 2012 – Sunset

Here is the law that allows such, from  4 u.s.c. § 7 m  , in case you don’t believe me and think I am a Commie and fascist thief like some Tea Party members have called me as of late.

I am sure the Prez will be criticized for ordering the flags at half-staff for the Wisconsin shootings. For some folks, nothing the current president does is right. That is, not as right enough for them.

The Secretary of State Hillary Clinton felt she needed to assure the Indian foreign minister that immigrants from that country or those of Indian descent are safe in the U.S. after the Wisconsin shootings of Sikhs.

This is in the wake of the worst mass shooting in U.S. history. That is, so far, at least.

Hey, guns don’t kill people. You know my feelings about guns. But doesn’t there seem to be a need to stop all the killing? Somehow, at least. I’m not saying take away guns, not that it could even happen. Do you perhaps believe the NRA has gone beyond their mission of protecting the Second Amendment?  The re-election of President Obama is not going to result in the “confiscation of guns.” There is no way that can happen. Be real. Think about where the funds Wayne LaPierre and his posse are going.

All of this from another wonderful day of vacation going to the VA clinic twice. Tomorrow, up way too early to ride the van to the VA hospital Houston so I can get some new diabetic shoes. I can hardly wait.



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