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Answer Line: If there's an honor guard, salute that flag

Oct. 25, 2017 at 11:37 p.m.


QUESTION: We enjoy Friday night football this time of year, but there is a dilemma with flag etiquette that I need some help with. There is a beautiful and bold American flag on a tall pole at one end of the field. During the pregame ceremony, an honor guard marches in with another American flag, along with other flags. Soon, "The Star Spangled Banner" is being played by the band, and nearly everyone has their hand over their heart, singing away. But half of the crowd is facing the flag on the pole, and the other half the flag that was marched in. Which flag would be the proper one the face?

ANSWER: I turned to the experts for guidance on this one, and by experts, I mean the American Legion. The wartime veterans service organization helped lead development of the United States Flag Code.

The short answer to your question is that you should face the flag that is carried into the stadium. Y'all know by now, though, that the short answer is frequently not good enough for Answer Line, so here's the long answer, from Jill Druskis, director of the American Legion's Americanism Division:

"On Flag Day, June 14, 1923, representatives of over 68 organizations met in Washington for a conference, called by and conducted under the auspices of the American Legion, to draft an authentic code of flag etiquette. The 77th Congress of the United States (Second Session) later passed a codification of the Flag Code," she said. "The United States Flag Code establishes advisory rules for display and care of the national flag of the United States of America … Section 9 of the U.S. Flag Code states conduct during the hoisting, lowering or passing of the U.S. flag, the latter of which being the case when it is being advanced by an honor guard, and that is the flag to which a salute would be directed."

I should note, though, that the Flag Code contains no criminal or civil penalties. Take a look at the code for yourself. and find some frequently asked questions online at legion.org/flag/code.

Q: On the show "Jeopardy!", do the contestants have a book of questions and answers to study?

A: No, there are no study materials provided in advance, although viewers who are potential contestants are advised that watching the show is the best preparation.

That said, people interested in becoming a contestant must first take and pass an online test. The show's web site does have an online practice test and some sample questions as part of that process. You can find them online at jeopardy.com/be-a-contestant/.

Q: What's going on with the Popeye's on Gilmer Road. There's been a sign up there for some time that says it would be reopening soon under new management.

A: Ugh. I wish I had more information on this, but I tracked down the franchise operator and they're just not sharing any information right now. Please accept my apologies for this Answer Line fail.

Answer Line was going to make a snarky comment about betting on whether this restaurant or Wei Asian Buffet over in front of Pine Tree Junior High School would open first, but I decided not to. (Although I guess this still counts as a snarky comment, huh?)

— Answer Line appears Thursday and Saturday. Email questions to answerline@news-journal.com, leave a message at (903) 232-7208 or write to P.O. Box 1792, Longview, TX 75606.

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