Lowering the Flag

Flying the Flag at half-staff is a recognized way of showing respect for the loss of life of those serving the public.  In March, Governor Gregoire of Washington State ordered flags to be flown at half mast on the day of the memorial service for slain Washington State Patrol trooper Tony Radulescu.

One of my friends, a businessman on his way to the service at the Kent ShoWare Center drove past a popular fast-food restaurant and noticed the flag was not lowered.  The outlet was directly on the route of the service and only a couple of blocks from the memorial.

When my friend called, it became clear no one in the restaurant had any clue that they SHOULD have lowered the flag, didn’t know HOW to lower it and weren’t empowered to do so.

Obviously this was a corporate issue so my friend contacted the headquarters of this national fast-food chain.  Another frustrating conversation ensued with more “clueless” employees.

My friend has now written a letter to the President of this fast-food chain and has personally boycotted the restaurant from that moment.  He told the story at the Easter Brunch we shared with a group of friends and we are all waiting to hear the outcome of his correspondence with the top executive.

I applaud and encourage every business in the United States to proudly fly the flag at your place of business.  I’ve not named the fast-food chain because I don’t want to discourage them from flying the flag.

However, this should serve as a reminder that it’s important to have a simple policy regarding the flag.  It should include replacement when the flag becomes worn, proper disposal of the tattered flag along with guidelines for lowering the flag.  Certainly a national chain can’t stay on top of the mandates of every municipality but local management can and should.   In Washington State, you can sign up to receive an email when the Governor orders flags to be flown at half-staff using this link.

In those situations where an edict or occasion is missed, please train all your supervisors and managers how to lower the Flag and when you get NOT ONE, but SEVERAL calls from customers pointing out the need to lower it – DO IT!  It’s a simple way to show your commitment to the community, honor those who make it possible for you to be in business and bond with your customers.

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