More than 100,000 flags a year are flown on three poles at the base of the dome of the Capital building. One of these flags can be bought for$30 or less depending, on the size and fabric of the flag. Americans have spent $2.2 million on these flags.
Government employees fly flags on these poles at least 250 days a year. They hoist up a flag as much as a couple thousand times a day. Each flag is flown for a few minutes. Between 300-400 flags are flown each day. More flags are hoisted up on important days like Memorial Day, Veterans Day, July 4, and September 11. The largest number of flags flown was 10,471, on the bicentennial in 1776.
The nonprofit program began when a congressman requested an old flag from the capital building 73 years ago. Now requests come through all 535 members of Congress.
A U.S. flag flown in the Indian War era was found last month by the Hugh Dancy American Legion Post 134 as they were preparing to retire some old flags. The flag is six feet by eight feet. It has 38 stars in six rows and grey stripes instead of white. The flag was made after Colorado became a state on August 1, 1876 and before North Dakota became a state on November 2, 18889. This flag could be one of the 27 official designs of the U.S. flag.
U.S. history instructor at the University of Memphis Douglas Cupples believes that a Southern group may have wanted to symbolize the reunification of the country after the Civil War. The grey stripes probably represent the South’s confederate heritage. The stars upside down and hand-sewn. Often the U.S. flags for military units were made by wives, sisters, and girlfriends.
Mike Ehredt will be running cross-country and placing flags at every mile in order to honor U.S. soldiers who have died in Iraq. Each flag has a yellow ribbon attached with the name of a fallen American service member on it. Ehredt has already worn out 8 pairs of shoes and drank 20 gallons of chocolate milk. He runs 30 miles a day. The 4,500 mile run is expected to take 5 months. Ehrad is a retired postal worker and army veteran. The location of each flag, the names of the soldiers, and Ehredt’s current position can be found on his website Project America Run.
Ehredt says that fewer than 50 people have run coast to coast and most of them have used support staff. Ehredt is running alone. He is bringing with him a three wheeled stroller , a cellphone, GPS device, and a computer. Each night he stays with people recommended by friends or the local Chamber of Commerce.
The New York Says Thank You Foundation is donating a 20-foot-by-30-foot flag which was found at ground Zero to the National September 11 Memorial Museum. The flag was spotted hanging from some scaffolding on September 12. It is now known as the national 9/11 Flag.
Recovery workers noticed the tattered flag in the early morning of September 12. It was caught on the scaffolding of the damaged building at 90 West St. Workers had to wait a couple of months until it was safe to take the flag down. Half the fabric was gone and the remaining piece of the flag was faded and torn. The remains of the flag was but into a black plastic bag with the intention of giving it a retirement ceremony. However, it stayed in storage for seven years.
In 1998 it was taken to Greensberg, Kansas on the New York Says Thank You Foundation trip to help rebuild after the city was ravaged by a tornado. Women from the senior center used nine flags recovered from their town to reconstruct the flag.
The flag is now on a two-year national tour. Fabric from flags retired from all 50 States will sewn into the Flag to restore its 13-stripe format. People being honored for national service from all 50 States will add stitching to the flag.