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Inquiry about flag etiquette prompts a little research

By Paris Goodnight

Salisbury Post

So when are the flags supposed to go back up?

If you’re at a federal entity, President Bush’s proclamation means they are supposed to remain at half-staff until 30 days after the death of former President Ford on Dec. 26.

If you’re a business or private citizen, the facts are a little fuzzy.

One business owner called the Post on Wednesday to make sure he was following proper etiquette on when to raise the flag back to full staff.

The problem, as any Google search will tell you, is that there are some guidelines but no definitive answers on those outside government and military realms.

The business owner who called said he was going to follow the national days of mourning, which ended with Ford’s burial Wednesday afternoon, and raise his flags back to their normal height today. But he wasn’t sure if that was the right thing to do.

A call to the American Legion Post 342 on Lincolnton Road got the 30-days lowered answer, as did the city manager’s office in Salisbury.

Boyd Morgan of Veterans Service for Rowan County said the state, county and city will follow the president’s proclamation, but it’s not dictated to private citizens or businesses.

“Private entities can do what they want. That’s freedom of speech,” Morgan said.

Various Web sites, such as www.legion.org and www. usflag.org offer guidelines on how to display the American flag.

Contact Paris Goodnight at 704-797-4255 or pgoodnight@ salisburypost.com.

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