The History of Spying in the USA

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

My new novel, Alice’s Notions, has snippets about spies and the Cold War in it, so I had to research a little about spying in the USA. The United States has been in the spy business since before it became a nation. It all began with Nathan Hale, America’s first spy. Now there are many spy organizations in the United States government with the CIA being the most well known.

America’s First Spy: Nathan Hale is considered America’s first spy. He wasn’t really the first spy, but he was the first to be executed as a spy. He volunteered for a dangerous mission into New York City to spy upon the British. Unfortunately he was caught and hanged. Reportedly his last words were, “I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.”

Revolutionary Spies: Benjamin Franklin and Paul Revere are amoung the most well-known spies of the Revolutionary War, but there were many spy rings. The biggest was the Culpepper Spy Ring in New York. Major Benjamin Tallmadge recruited Caleb Brewster and Abraham Woodhull (code name Samuel Culpepper) to gather intelligence on the British. Historians still don’t know the identity of some of the spies in that ring, only their code names.  One piece of intellegence the Culpepper Ring gathered was the betrayal of Benedict Arnold and his secret meeting with John Andre.

Washington’s Secret Service: George Washington, our first president understood the importance of intelligence gathering. One of his first acts as president was to work with the Congress to establish the Secret Service which comprised 10% of the federal budget. A few years later, Thomas Jefferson used the Secret Service to overthrow the government in a small North African country to stop Barbary pirate from raiding US ships. Madison used spies to influence the Spanish to relinquish Florida. Congress tried to oversee the secret fund, President Polk insisted that emergencies require oversight to be the prerogative of the president.

Civil War: During the Civil War, both Union and Confederate armies were involved in spying. They used the first spy satellites, hot air balloons, to record movements of the enemy troops. Neither side had an organized intelligence gathering organization run by their governments. The Union contracted

Allen Pinkerton and Lafayette Baker. The South had many individuals involved in spying including three infamous women: Rose Greenhow, Belle Boyd, and Nancy Hart.

First Formal Spy Agencies: The first formal US spy agencies were formed in the 1880s. They were the Office of Naval Intelligence and the Army’s Military Intelligence Division. They were involved heavily in the Spanish-American War in 1898. The Secret Service was still in operation but was in charge of domestic counter-intelligence only. The Secret Service broke up a Spanish spy ring in Montreal during the war.

World War I: US spy agencies had suffered greatly from budget cuts until World War I when the National Security Agency was established as a department of the US Army. The Secret Service, the New York Police Department, and
military counterintelligence also were involved in intellegence and stopped German spying inside the United States. Another significant organization to be created during the First World War was the Justice Department’s Bureau of Investigation (later called FBI) which enforced the first US Espionage Act of 1917.

World War II: As the Nazis rose in power, the US put it’s energy into code breaking and intellegence gathering on Germany and Japan. The Black Chamber Organization was formed to do that.  As the war drew closer, President Roosevelt established a new spy organization in 1941 called the Office of the Coordinator of Information to organize the activities of the various spy organizations. After the failure to detect the Japanese plot to bomb Pearl Harbor, Roosevelt dissolved the OCI and established the wartime organization, the Office of Strategic Services. The OSS and FBI worked closely with the Armed Services spy organizations to do intelligence gathering throughout the war.

Cold War: The OSS was abolished when the war ended in October, 1945 by President Truman, but it soon became obvious another central intelligence organization was needed. In January, 1946, Truman and others planned out the new spy organization called the Central Intelligence Group. This group had access and oversight of all foreign intelligence gathering and spying. The CIG also functioned under the direction of a National Intelligence
Authority, composed of a presidential representative and the secretaries
of State, War, and the Navy. In 1947, the National Security Act disbanded the CIG and the National Intelligence Authority and replaced them with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the National Security Agency forming our modern day spying organizations.

Alice’s Notions

In this quaint mountain town, things aren’t always what they seem.

World War 2 widow Alice Brighton returns to the safety of her home town to open a fabric shop. She decides to start a barn quilt tour to bring business to the shop and the town, but what she doesn’t know is sinister forces are using the tour for their own nefarious reasons

Between her mysterious landlord, her German immigrant employee, her neighbors who are acting strange, and a dreamboat security expert who is trying to romance her, Alice doesn’t know who she can trust.

 You can buy Alice’s Notions in eBook or paperback at this link.


Life in 1920

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

Life in 1920

By Tamera Lynn Kraft

My Easter novella, Resurrection of Hope, is set in the couple of years immediately following World War I, 1919-1920. America had survived its first world war and an influenza pandemic that killed more people than the war. Things were beginning to look up. This was a time of transition in America and didn’t fit into the time periods we normally think of. It wasn’t yet the flapper era although flappers had come on the scene, but the early 1900s era of the Gibson Girls, long skirts, and Dough Boys was a thing of the past. Here are some facts about normal life in 1920.

Modern Conveniences:

Although modern conveniences like electric lights, indoor plumbing, and running water were available in 1920, for the most part, only those living in the city took advantage of them. Although during the roaring 20’s, people moved from rural farms to suburbs and cities, in the beginning of the decade, half of the population still lived out in the country on farms.

Most people in the city had electricity, telephones, streetlights, sewage systems, and running water. Throughout the decade, housewives were replacing their iceboxes for refrigerators and some even had washing machines, vacuum sweepers, sewing machines, electric mixers, toaster, and electric fans.


In 1920, the Model T automobile manufactured by Ford Motor Company made cars affordable for the average family. The days of the horse and buggy were becoming a thing of the past although you would occasionally see one in rural areas. Public roadways were improved and paved to keep up with the times. Because of the automobiles, the mobility of America changed. One of the major changes was the creation of the suburbs. People could work in the city without actually living there.

Leisure Activities:

Movie theaters, radio, roller rinks, bowling, and watching race car driving and baseball games became fun activities every middle-class family could participate in. The invention of radio also made it so the average family could listen to music or radio shows from their own living room. Dance clubs opened where couples could dance the new dances to jazz songs although the more conservative families considered them immoral. There was also a dark side of entertainment with the speakeasies where illegal drinking and gambling went on, but most people in the 1920s didn’t participate in that.

Family Life:

Most families were traditional with the father who was the bread-winner and the mother who stayed at home and took care of the family. Teenagers were non-existent. You were a child until you became an adult. Younger teens spent time playing as children. Older teens were expected to act like adults. Public schools were everywhere, and most students graduated from high school for the first time in history although few went to college. Dating was usually chaperoned, abstinence was expected, and young adults would normally marry by the time they were twenty-one.


The flapper era was starting to show up in the cities in 1920. Most women were conservative and wore their skirts below their knees which was scandalous five years earlier. The shift or chemise dress with the lowered waistline became popular in 1916 and continued throughout the 1920s. Most dresses were sleeveless, and women wore sweaters over them on cold days.

Many women were starting to cut their hair even in the rural areas. Older women and some farm wives still wore long skirts and kept their hair long pinned up in a bun. Cloche hats that fit tight around the face were becoming popular and went with the new short hair styles. Make-up lines such as Max Factor started opening, and women in the city wore make-up to look like the actresses on the silent movie screen.

The biggest change was ladies’ undergarments. Although the corsets didn’t disappear completely, one piece camisoles and slips became the desired undergarments. Because of shorter hemlines, silk hosiery was invented in 1920. It became the fashion for years after that. Bras didn’t come out until 1922, so most women either wore modified corsets or only wore a camisole.

Resurrection of Hope

By Tamera Lynn Kraft

She thought he was her knight in shining armor, but will a marriage of convenience prove her wrong?

After Vivian’s fiancé dies in the Great War, she thinks her life is over. But Henry, her fiancé’s best friend, comes to the rescue offering a marriage of convenience. He claims he promised his friend he would take care of her. She grows to love him, but she knows it will never work because he never shows any love for her.

Henry adores Vivian and has pledged to take care of her, but he won’t risk their friendship by letting her know. She’s still in love with the man who died in the Great War. He won’t risk heartache by revealing his true emotions.

Friday 13th: What It Means for Christians

by Carole Brownfriday-the-13th-free

What do we know about Friday 13th?

  • Friday the 13th occurs from one to three times per year when the 13th day of any month falls on a Friday.
  • The fear of Friday the 13th is called “paraskevidekatriaphobia,” a word derived from the Greek wordsParaskeví (Friday) and dekatreís (thirteen), attached to phobia (fear).
  • Some people are bound by paraskevidkatriaphobia that they avoid activities even their normal, everyday ones. They refuse to travel and seek to remain as “unnoticed” as possible. 

Theories about Friday 13th’s beginnings:

  • The Last Supper with the twelve disciples and Jesus making the “thirteenth” person: he was crucified and killed that day.
  • Frigga, a goddess, who was banished when Christianity entered the country.
  • French King Phillip IV ordered the death of all the monastery military order Knights Templar when they amassed too much wealth and power.

What should Christians choose to do?fear-free

Friday 13th is a superstition, built in and around FEAR. There are two types of fear. Fear of the Lord, which in the perfect sense means to stand in awe of. The second type of fear is a “spirit of fear” which is a detriment and should be overcome. 

As such, Christians need to look to the Bible for guidance:




Encouraging Scriptures for the Christians:

  • Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”  Isaiah 41:10.
  • Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than the sparrows.” Matthew 41:10
  • In God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” Psalm 56:11

There are many more scriptures in the Bible that encourage us to trust, to realize we’re not alone, that God understands our fear of destitution and weaknesses. There is power and strength in the scriptures. Keep our eyes fixed on them and on God.  

Guest Author Debbie Lynne Costello – Wedding Facts and Book Giveaway

DebbieDebbie Lynne Costello has enjoyed writing stories since she was eight years old. She raised her family and then embarked on her own career of writing the stories that had been begging to be told. She and her husband have four children and live in upstate South Carolina. She has worked in many capacities in her church and is currently the Children’s director. Debbie Lynne has shown and raised Shetland sheepdogs for eighteen years and still enjoys litters now and then. In their spare time she and her husband enjoy camping and riding their Arabian and Tennessee Walking horses.

Visit Debbie Lynne at, www.theswordandspirit.blogspot.com ,, and

Debbie is giving away a choice of one of her books Shattered Memories or Sword of Forgiveness—paperback or ebook. Read on down to find out how to enter.

Wedding Facts

by Debbie Lynn Costello

There is nothing better than a good read that ends in a wedding and a happily ever after. I love to end my stories with a marriage and the dreams of a bright future. I thought I’d share with you some interesting wedding facts.

Tis the seaDebbie1son for weddings! I think the history nut in me is always looking for that historical tidbit. So with the marriage of my son and lovely daughter-in-law and the marriage of my beautiful niece (pictures of both weddings below) it got me thinking…Where did all these traditions come from anyway? As I researched I discovered that not everyone agrees on where some of these traditions come from. So I may never know all of them, but I wanted to share with you the ones I did discover.

Debbie2The wedding ring…something every young girl dreams of wearing someday and something every young man wants to make sure he has the perfect one for his wife-to-be.  Although I did see mention of prehistoric times, the ancient Romans seemed to be the first to use the wedding ring. Reeds, leather, ivory, iron, and gold were some of the early materials used. Gold became popular in medieval times and was sometimes fashioned with gems. Ruby and sapphire were both popular, but diamond was the favorite. They placed the ring on the same finger we place it on today, the ‘ring finger’ on the left hand because they believed the heart was on the left side. They also believed that the third finger held the ‘Vena Amoris or the ‘Vein of Love’ which went directly to the heart. Okay all you romantics say ‘awe’.

Debbie3The bridal bouquet. It seems we can’t get married without one these days even if it is just wildflowers. I know when I was a little girl and we pretended to be brides, we may not have had a wedding dress, or a ring, or even a groom, but we always had a bouquet! The bouquets in ancient times were filled with herbs and spices. These were believed to be strong smelling and would ward off evil spirits and would protect from illness and bad luck.

Debbie4Which brings us to the throwing of the bridal bouquet. The bride was considered lucky on her wedding day and because of that everyone wanted a piece of her luck. If a person could get a fragment of the bride’s dress they would obtain some of that good fortune. The brides dress would end in tatters. The bride began throwing her bouquet for the crowd as she made her escape.

Debbie5Have you ever wondered where the tradition of giving the bride away came from? Think arranged marriages. Daughters were considered the property of their father. When a young woman married, her father actually ‘gave’ her to the man marrying her and from that moment on she became the property of her husband. Hey ladies, we’ve come a long way baby!

Debbie6My niece asked me to find out about the tradition of keeping the small cake that sits on top of the wedding cake and the couple eats on their anniversary. But in the process I discovered that the wedding cake came out of medieval times. The cakes were stacked as high as possible and if the bride and groom could still kiss over them they would have a prosperous life. In the 17th century in England they baked a glass ring into the bride pie and who ever found the ring would be the next to marry. It was also considered rude not to eat a piece of the bride pie. The tradition of the bridal pie and glass ring have disappeared but I thought it an interesting tidbit you’d enjoy.  There are many different traditions for the bridal cake, depending on country and time period. So I will stop here, but not before saying I didn’t find where the saving of the top cake for the first anniversary came from. But it did occur to me that it couldn’t be a tradition terribly old since the cake has to be frozen in order to preserve it.

Debbie7Superstition brings on many a tradition. Bridesmaids came about to fool evil spirits. Centuries ago the bride’s friends would dress like the bride to confuse malicious spirits that might be prowling around. So I was wondering what if there was an identical twin dressed as her bride-to-be sister…couldn’t she have fun? ;o)

Debbie8Throwing of rice came about in ancient times. People brought rice or grain to shower on the newlyweds to wish them a fruitful and prosperous union. We don’t throw rice much these days because of people slipping and getting injured, and I understand that even birdseed has been banned from some wedding places! Poor birds! Today flower petals, herbs, biodegradable confetti, and reusable pom poms are given to guests to throw. I’m trying to figure out what these things might represent. Anyone want to take a stab at it?

I can’t end this post without the one little rhyme we all know which tells the bride what she needs to have for her wedding day.

Something old,
Something new,
Something borrowed,
Something blue,
And a sixpence in your shoe.

This rhyming tradition comes from the later half of the 19th century. The something old is the bride’s connection to past friends and family. The something new represents optimism for the future. Something borrowed is for happiness for the bride. The idea is that she would borrow happiness from a happily wedded woman. Something blue is a symbol of love, fidelity, and purity. The sixpence is a wish for prosperity and good fortune.

Giveaway: To enter to win a choice of one of my books leave a comment telling us what is your favorite part of a wedding or share with us another wedding tradition that you know and where it came from. Don’t forget to leave your email address. The drawing will be held next Thursday and announced in a comment on this post.

Shattered Memories front for NookShattered Memories

The Charleston earthquake has left destruction like nothing Doctor Andrew Warwick has ever seen. On a desperate mission to find the lady who owns his heart, he frantically searches through the rubble, where he finds her injured and lifeless. After she regains consciousness, the doctor’s hopes are quickly dashed as he realizes she doesn’t remember him. Things only get worse when he discovers she believes she’s still engaged to the abusive scoundrel, Lloyd Pratt. Now Drew is on a race with the wedding clock to either help her remember or win her heart again before she marries the wrong man.

Waking in a makeshift hospital, Olivia Macqueen finds herself recovering from a head injury. With amnesia stealing a year of her memories, she has trouble discerning between lies and truth. When her memories start returning in bits and pieces, she must keep up the charade of amnesia until she can find out the truth behind the embezzlement of her family’s business while evading the danger lurking around her.

DebbieCostello_SwordOfForgiveness_1400pxSword of Forgiveness

When her father died, she had promised herself no man would own her again, yet who could defy an edict of the king? After the death of her cruel father, Brithwin is determined never again to live under the harsh rule of any man. Independent and resourceful, she longs to be left alone to manage her father’s estate. But she soon discovers a woman has few choices when the king decrees she is to marry Royce, the Lord of Rosencraig. As if the unwelcome marriage isn’t enough, her new husband accuses her of murdering his family, and she is faced with a challenge of either proving her innocence or facing possible execution. Royce Warwick returns home after setting down a rebellion to find his family brutally murdered. When all fingers point to his betrothed and attempts are made on his life, Royce must wade through murky waters to uncover the truth. Yet Brithwin’s wise and kind nature begin to break down the walls of his heart, and he soon finds himself in a race to discover who is behind the evil plot before Brithwin is the next victim.

The History of the Christian Christmas Tree

Some believe the Christmas tree started during the Winter Solstice when Druids worshipped trees. But from the beginning, Christmas trees have been used as Christian symbols to teach about Christ.

The Upside Down Fir Tree

During the 7th century, a monk from Devonshire spent time there preaching the word of God. He used the triangular shape of the Fir tree to teach about the Trinity of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. By the 12th century, the Fir tree was hung upside down from ceilings in Central Europe as a symbol of Christianity at Christmas time.

Boniface and Thor’s Oak

St. Boniface became a missionary to the Germans in the 700′s A.D where he encountered Druids who worshiped trees. To stop their sacrifices at their sacred Donar Oak near Geismar, St. Boniface chopped the tree down in 725 A.D. With one mighty blow, Saint Boniface felled the massive oak, and as the tree split, a beautiful young fir tree sprang from its center. Saint Boniface told the people that this lovely evergreen, with its branches pointing to heaven, was indeed a holy tree, the tree of the Christ Child, a symbol of His promise of eternal life. He instructed them to carry the evergreen from the wilderness into their homes and to surround it with gifts, symbols of love and kindness.

The Paradise Tree

From the eleventh Century, religious plays called “Mystery Plays” including the popular Paradise Play depicting the story of the creation of Adam and Eve, their sin, and their banishment from Eden. An evergreen tree was used for this winter festival and decorated with apples symbolizing the forbidden fruit. The play ended with the promise of the coming Savior. Wafers were also hung from the tree symbolizing the forgiveness of sins in communion making it now not just the tree of knowledge but also the tree of life. This resulted in a very old European custom of decorating a fir tree in the home with apples and small white wafers representing the Holy Eucharist at Christmas time. These wafers were later replaced by little pieces of pastry cut in the shapes of stars, angels, hearts, flowers, and bells. In some areas the custom, was still to hang the tree upside down.

In addition to the paradise tree, many German Christians set up a Christmas Pyramid called a Lichstock – a open wooden frame with shelves for figurines of the Nativity covered with evergreen branches and decorated with candy, pastry, candles, and a star. The star represented the star of Bethlehem, the candles represented the light of Christ coming into the world, the evergreens were the symbol of eternal life, and the candy, fruits, and pastries, the goodness of our life in Christ, the fruits of the spirit, etc. By the seventeenth century the Lichstock and the “Paradise Tree” became merged into the modern Christmas tree.

Luther’s Christmas Tree

There is a popular tradition that Martin Luther was walking on a bright snow-covered, star-lit night pondering the birth of Christ. Enthralled by the evergreen trees, the stars and the landscape, he took a tree inside and put candles on it to represent the majesty he felt about Christ’s birth as Jesus came down from the stars to bring us eternal life.

The Moravian Christmas Tree

In the 1700s, Moravian missionaries brought the tradition of the Christmas tree to the United States. They would build a wooden frame and decorate it with greenery from spruce, fir, and pine trees. They would set candles on the wooden shelves symbolizing that Christ is the light of the world and would hang verses on the tree showing that Christ is the Word of God. Under the tree, they would place a putz, an elaborate nativity including many scenes from the Bible. On Christmas day, the family would read the verses to each other. I used this tradition in my story, A Christmas Promise, about Moravian missionaries in Schoenbrunn Village, Ohio.

AChristmasPromise_medA Christmas Promise

By Tamera Lynn Kraft

A Moravian Holiday Story, Circa 1773

During colonial times, John and Anna settle in an Ohio village to become Moravian missionaries to the Lenape. When John is called away to help at another settlement two days before Christmas, he promises he’ll be back by Christmas Day.

When he doesn’t show up, Anna works hard to not fear the worst while she provides her children with a traditional Moravian Christmas.

Through it all, she discovers a Christmas promise that will give her the peace she craves.

Revel in the spirit of a Colonial Christmas with this achingly tender love story that will warm both your heart and your faith. With rich historical detail and characters who live and breathe on the page, Tamera Lynn Kraft has penned a haunting tale of Moravian missionaries who selflessly bring the promise of Christ to the Lenape Indians. A beautiful way to set your season aglow, A Christmas Promise is truly a promise kept for a heartwarming holiday tale.” – Julie Lessman

Available at these online stores:

3 Important Flag Day Quotes and How to Treat the US Flag

2059-seasonalPatriotism should never be a thing of the past. When we forget what our nation stands for, we allow it to fall. The reason we should show our US flag respect is because it is a symbol the principles the United States was founded on: Life, Liberty, Justice, a nation who built on the understanding that our freedoms come from God.

The Meaning Of Our Flag

Henry Ward Beecher

If one asks me the meaning of our flag, I say to him: It means just what Concord and Lexington meant, what Bunker Hill meant. It means the whole glorious Revolutionary War. It means all that the Declaration of Independence meant. It means all that the Constitution of our people, organizing for justice, for liberty and for happiness, meant.

Under this banner rode Washington and his armies. Before it Burgoyne laid down his arms. It waved on the highlands at West Point. When Arnold would have surrendered these valuable fortresses and precious legacies, his night was turned into day and his treachery was driven away by beams of light from this starry banner.

It cheered our army, driven out from around New York, and in their painful pilgrimages through New Jersey. This banner streamed in light over the soldiers’ heads at Valley Forge and at Morristown. It crossed the waters rolling with ice at Trenton, and when its stars gleamed in the morning with a victory, a new day of hope dawned on the despondency of this nation.

Our Flag carries American ideas, American history and American feelings. Beginning with the Colonies, and coming down to our time, in its sacred heraldry, in its glorious insignia, it has gathered and stored chiefly this supreme idea: divine right of liberty in man. Every color means liberty; every thread means liberty; every form of star and beam or stripe of light means liberty – not lawlessness, but organized, institutional liberty – liberty through law, and laws for liberty!

This American Flag was the safeguard of liberty. Not an atom of crown was allowed to go into its insignia. Not a symbol of authority in the ruler was permitted to go into it. It was an ordinance of liberty by the people, for the people. That it meant, that it means, and, by the blessing of God, that it shall mean to the end of time!

0214-4th-july-1100020942-10182013An American Without Reserve

by Daniel Webster

I was born an American; I live an American; I shall die an American; and I intend to perform the duties incumbent upon me in that character to the end of my career. I mean to do this with absolute disregard of personal consequences.

What are the personal consequences? What is the individual man, with all the good or evil that may betide him, in comparison with the good or evil which may befall a great country, and in the midst of great transactions which concern that country’s fate?

Let the consequences be what they will, I am careless. No man can suffer too much, and no man can fall too soon, if he suffer, or if he fall, in the defense of the liberties and constitution of his country.

tourism30-01-111413-2584Rights and Duties

by Calvin Coolidge

We do honor to the stars and stripes as the emblem of our country and the symbol of all that our patriotism means.

We identify the flag with almost everything we hold dear on earth. It represents our peace and security, our civil and political liberty, our freedom of religious worship, our family, our friends, our home. We see it in the great multitude of blessings, of rights and privileges that make up our country.

But when we look at our flag and behold it emblazoned with all our rights, we must remember that it is equally a symbol of our duties. Every glory that we associate with it is the result of duty done. A yearly contemplation of our flag strengthens and purifies the national conscience.

Flag Etiquette

The Flag Code, which formalizes and unifies the traditional ways in which we give respect to the flag, also contains specific instructions on how the flag is not to be used.

They are: The flag should never be dipped to any person or thing. It is flown upside down only as a distress signal.

The flag should not be used as a drapery, or for covering a speakers desk, draping a platform, or for any decoration in general. Bunting of blue, white and red stripes is available for these purposes. The blue stripe of the bunting should be on the top.

The flag should never be used for any advertising purpose. It should not be embroidered, printed or otherwise impressed on such articles as cushions, handkerchiefs, napkins, boxes, or anything intended to be discarded after temporary use. Advertising signs should not be attached to the staff or halyard.

The flag should not be used as part of a costume or athletic uniform, except that a flag patch may be used on the uniform of military personnel, fireman, policeman and members of patriotic organizations.

The flag should never have placed on it, or attached to it, any mark, insignia, letter, word, number, figure, or drawing of any kind.

The flag should never be used as a receptacle for receiving, holding, carrying, or delivering anything.

When the flag is lowered, no part of it should touch the ground or any other object; it should be received by waiting hands and arms. To store the flag it should be folded neatly and ceremoniously.

The flag should be cleaned and mended when necessary.

When a flag is so worn it is no longer fit to serve as a symbol of our country, it should be destroyed by burning in a dignified manner.

Note: Most American Legion Posts regularly conduct a dignified flag burning ceremony, often on Flag Day, June 14th. Many Cub Scout Packs, Boy Scout Troops, and Girl Scout Troops retire flags regularly as well. Contact your local American Legion Hall or Scout Troop to inquire about the availability of this service.

Displaying the Flag Outdoors:

When the flag is displayed from a staff projecting from a window, balcony, or a building, the union should be at the peak of the staff unless the flag is at half staff.

When it is displayed from the same flagpole with another flag – of a state, community, society or Scout unit – the flag of the United States must always be at the top except that the church pennant may be flown above the flag during church services for Navy personnel when conducted by a Naval chaplain on a ship at sea.

When the flag is displayed over a street, it should be hung vertically, with the union to the north or east. If the flag is suspended over a sidewalk, the flag’s union should be farthest from the building.

When flown with flags of states, communities, or societies on separate flag poles which are of the same height and in a straight line, the flag of the United States is always placed in the position of honor – to its own right.The other flags may be smaller but none may be larger.

No other flag ever should be placed above it.

The flag of the United States is always the first flag raised and the last to be lowered.

When flown with the national banner of other countries, each flag must be displayed from a separate pole of the same height. Each flag should be the same size. They should be raised and lowered simultaneously. The flag of one nation may not be displayed above that of another nation.

Raising and Lowering the Flag:

The flag should be raised briskly and lowered slowly and ceremoniously. Ordinarily it should be displayed only between sunrise and sunset. It should be illuminated if displayed at night.

The flag of the United States of America is saluted as it is hoisted and lowered. The salute is held until the flag is unsnapped from the halyard or through the last note of music, whichever is the longest.

Displaying the Flag Indoors:

When on display, the flag is accorded the place of honor, always positioned to its own right. Place it to the right of the speaker or staging area or sanctuary. Other flags should be to the left.

The flag of the United States of America should be at the center and at the highest point of the group when a number of flags of states, localities, or societies are grouped for display.

When one flag is used with the flag of the United States of America and the staffs are crossed, the flag of the United States is placed on its own right with its staff in front of the other flag.

When displaying the flag against a wall, vertically or horizontally, the flag’s union (stars) should be at the top, to the flag’s own right, and to the observer’s left.

Parading and Saluting the Flag:

When carried in a procession, the flag should be to the right of the marchers. When other flags are carried, the flag of the United States may be centered in front of the others or carried to their right. When the flag passes in a procession, or when it is hoisted or lowered, all should face the flag and salute.

The Salute:

To salute, all persons come to attention. Those in uniform give the appropriate formal salute. Citizens not in uniform salute by placing their right hand over the heart and men with head cover should remove it and hold it to left shoulder, hand over the heart. Members of organizations in formation salute upon command of the person in charge.

The Pledge of Allegiance and National Anthem:

The pledge of allegiance should be rendered by standing at attention, facing the flag, and saluting.

When the national anthem is played or sung, citizens should stand at attention and salute at the first note and hold the salute through the last note. The salute is directed to the flag, if displayed, otherwise to the music.

The Flag in Mourning:

To place the flag at half staff, hoist it to the peak for an instant and lower it to a position half way between the top and bottom of the staff. The flag is to be raised again to the peak for a moment before it is lowered. On Memorial Day the flag is displayed at half staff until noon and at full staff from noon to sunset.The flag is to be flown at half staff in mourning for designated, principal government leaders and upon presidential or gubernatorial order.

When used to cover a casket, the flag should be placed with the union at the head and over the left shoulder. It should not be lowered into the grave.

Fun Facts about Flag Day

2059-seasonalSince June 14th is Flag Day, I thought it might be fun to look at some fun facts about our flag including the history of Flag Day, The Pledge of Allegiance, Red Skelton’s Pledge of Allegiance, the lyrics to The Star Spangled Banner, The American’s Creed, some famous quotes about our flag.

History Of Flag Day:  In 1885, BJ Cigrand, a schoolteacher in Fredonia, Wisconsin celebrated June 14 as the birthday of the flag or Flag Day. June 14th was the anniversary of the adoption of the Flag Resolution in 1777. The idea became popular and was celebrated in many schools, and by local and state celebrations across the country.

On May 30th, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed Flag Day. In 1949, President Truman signed an Act of Congress designation June 14th and National Flag Day.

Pictures of US Flags:

For a timeline in pictures of US Flags, click on this link.

The Pledge of Allegiance:

I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America,
And to the republic for which it stands,
One nation, under God, indivisible,
With liberty and justice for all.

Red Skelton’s Pledge of Allegiance:

John Wayne’s Pledge of Allegiance: