PHOENIX — He has no charity in mind like the Ice Bucket Challenge and doesn’t want to start a passing fad such as the Kylie Jenner Challenge, but Arizona resident Bryce Wagoner does want you to participate in his display of patriotism.
A little more than a week ago, he posted a short video on his Facebook page asking for action and sharing. He was in front of his house, and an American flag waved in the brisk breeze in the background.
“This is for all the videos I’ve seen on the Internet of people stomping on their flags and stuff. … I challenge everyone to go get a flag, go put it on your front lawn and put it in your front yard and display it proudly and show you’re proud to be an American,” he said in his 23-second video, picking up the tabby cat at his feet halfway through.
Wagoner’s challenge came in response to another social-media challenge issued last month, called the Eric Sheppard Challenge. Sheppard was part of a protest at Valdosta State University in Georgia in which demonstrators against racism trampled the American flag, a legal form of free expression under the First Amendment. But police said they found a gun in a book bag that they believe belongs to Sheppard and asked for a warrant for his arrest; he remains at large.
“I think there’s been a lot of negativity,” Wagoner said in an interview with KPNX-TV, Phoenix.
Wagoner’s personal Facebook page had so many hits, more than 2 million, that he’s had to build several others that also have “blown up,” he said.
“I’m glad the message went this far. It’s a simple message but it has a lot of meaning to a lot of people,” Wagoner in an interview with WTSP-TV, Tampa-St. Petersburg, Fla.
Brent Greer painted his Bradenton, Fla., home like a giant American flag last year and agrees with Wagoner’s message.
“You don’t respond to these idiots by getting in their face and getting violent,” Greer said. “You put the flag out and you stand for what it stands for.”
Since Wagoner’s initial request, he said he’s heard people say that they didn’t think they legally could display their own U.S. flags.
That’s not true.
At one point, some homeowners associations did restrict the display of flags in some subdivisions, but in 2006, President George W. Bush signed the Freedom to Display the American Flag Act of 2005 that prohibits condominium, homeowners and real-estate management associations from banning display of a U.S. flag on residential property.
Remember, too, that U.S. Code has some rules for display of an American flag. Flags:
• Should be displayed from sunrise to sunset unless illuminated at night.
• Should not be displayed during inclement weather except when an all-weather flag is used.
• Should never be displayed with the union — that’s the field of 50 stars — down except as a signal of dire distress in instances of extreme danger to life or property. The union should always be at the peak of a flag staff if the flag is at an angle.
• Should be displayed in a window so that the union is to the left for an observer on the street.
• Should never touch anything beneath them, such as the ground or water.
The government encourages the flag to be displayed on all days but especially on 19 federal holidays that include Armed Forces Day on Saturday, Memorial Day on May 25, Flag Day on June 14, Independence Day on July 4 and National Korean War Veterans Armistice Day on July 27.
“This is just a simple message for people,” Wagoner said. “Just go put a flag up and display that you’re a proud American.”
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