US Flag Oceanside

Memorial Day 2017

Memorial Day – Monday May 29

Well, the good weather has finally arrived here in San Diego and with it comes the unofficial start of our summer season, Memorial Day.   At Sunward Flag, Memorial Day means it’s time to remember those Americans who died serving our country while in the Armed Forces.  We honor them by lowering the flag at Liberty Station to half mast at dawn on this day and then returning it to full mast at noon.

This prominent 20′ x 30′ flag flies on a 110′ flagpole in the center of a former Marine training center. The military and civilian people who now frequent this area’s parks and restaurants all honor and acknowledge the symbolism of this magnificent flag display and are proud to see it flying.

As the unofficial launch of summer, Memorial Day is a time to break out the grills, dust off the lawn chairs and take in a parade.  If you are in the San Diego area this Memorial Day  and want a bit of “local” flavor, be sure to stop by the 2017 Kensington Annual Memorial Day Parade.  You are sure to see lots of flag toting tots, bands, puppies, vintage cars and lots of good old American spirit.

Be sure to let us know how we can help you to decorate your home or business for Memorial Day and the flag days ahead!

Kensington Memorial Day Parade(photos from kensington memorial day parade)

Nylon or Poly? Which Flag is the One for You?

American flags are widely produced in two main materials: nylon and polyester. They both have their benefits and their weaknesses, and each is best for certain environments and uses. Both Fabrics are good, but they have their differences.
Nylon or Poly

Look and Feel:
Nylon is lightweight and shiny. Its texture is slightly rough, and somewhere between fabric and plastic. On the other hand, polyester has a completely matte surface. It looks and feels like cotton, rougher and heavier than nylon and without a hint of shine.

Frequency of Flight:
When choosing between a nylon flag and a polyester flag, it is important to consider whether the flag will be outside 24 hours a day, from sunrise to sunset or just on holidays. In general, polyester is a better and more durable choice for more frequently flown flags. Nylon Flags are lighter weight than polyester – so are great for the occasional outing, as they are easier to fly.

Nylon is lighter than polyester, and therefore flies more easily in areas without high winds. It is a better choice for areas like the suburbs. However, if you live by the sea or in another place with high winds and wet weather, polyester is a better choice. Polyester Flags are slightly heavier, but are more resistant to weather conditions. These are great as something you may want to leave outside for short periods of time.

For example:
•If you wanted to have a flag to tie to a pole, like perhaps for your club or group, a nylon flag would be the better choice, as the lighter weight requires minimal wind to make them fly.

•If you wanted to have a flag to hold, or wrap around yourself at a Chargers game (Editors Note: IN SAN DIEGO! GET OUTTA HERE WITH THAT L.A. BUSINESS), a polyester flag would be a better choice, as it is slightly stronger, and more weather resistant.

However – if you are buying a flag to hang in your bedroom, lounge room, shed or any other indoor place – either fabric is fine.

Vexillolophile: Do you know one?

Vexillology is the scientific study of flags and related emblems. It is concerned with research into flags of all kinds, both modern and historical, the creation of a body of practice for flag design and usage, and of a body of theory of flag development. Vexillology seeks to understand and explain the important part played by flags in the modern world.

The word is a synthesis of the Latin word vexillum, meaning “flag”, and the suffix -logy, meaning “study of”. The vexillum was a particular type of flag used by Roman legions during the classical era; its name is a diminutive form of the word vela meaning sail, and thus literally means “little sail”. Unlike most modern flags, which are suspended from a pole or mast along a vertical side, the square vexillum was suspended from a horizontal crossbar along its top side, which was attached to a spear.

Vexillolophile image example

The term was coined in 1957 by the American scholar Whitney Smith, the author of many books and articles on the subject. It was originally considered a sub-discipline of heraldry, and is still occasionally seen as such. It is sometimes considered a branch of semiotics. It is formally defined in the FIAV (Fédération internationale des associations vexillologiques) constitution as “the creation and development of a body of knowledge about flags of all types, their forms and functions, and of scientific theories and principles based on that knowledge.” A person who studies flags is a vexillologist; a person who designs flags is a vexillographer; and any person who simply likes, admires, or enjoys flags is a vexillolophile.

American Flags should be made IN AMERICA

Made in China American Flag

Check your labels. Sunward Flags Flag are 100% Made in America.

As of 2014, American flags made in foreign lands are no longer flying over military bases.

Under a new law signed as part of the 2014 omnibus appropriations bill, any flag purchased by the Defense Department is required to be 100 percent made in America. Rep. Mike Thompson, D-Calif., who wrote the legislation, said he did so for economic as well as symbolic reasons.

“I thought it was appalling our Department of Defense would have flags made in other countries,” Thompson, told CBS San Francisco shortly after the legislation was signed into law. “But it’s also important because we need to be making more in America.”

Dale Coots, marketing manager for Annin Flagmakers, in Roseland, N.J., said the new legislation is a positive step, but says other issues regarding flag imports remain unresolved, including the Federal Trade Commission’s lack of enforcement on flag labeling.

“An American flag is considered a textile,” she said. “And a lot of flags that sell online don’t have any origin label, which is required under U.S. law.”

At Sunward Flag, we pride ourselves on using 100% American supplies and labor. When you purchase and fly and American Flag, it represents something. Using and displaying a Chinese made American flag isn’t illegal (as a private citizen)…or even uncommon. But isn’t it worth it to spend a little more to support American labor? It’s the principle of the matter!

In all honesty, nobody is going to stop you and demand to see the tag on your flag, but don’t you want the peace of mind of knowing that your symbol of Patriotism and America, was made using domestic materials. If you want to buy your ceramic tiles or stuffed animal clothing from China, knock yourself out but when if there’s one thing you don’t want to buy on the cheap, it’s your flag.

Support everything America stands for. Buy American. Your conscience will thank you.

Made in American image

Sunward Flag: San Diego’s Guidon Specialists

In addition to taking care of San Diego’s flag and flagpole needs, Sunward Flag also specializes in custom flags and military guidons. Now, if you’re a civilian, the term “military guidon” may be something you have never heard before. What is it? Well, allow us to shed some light….

Marine class with guidon

The significance of the guidon is that it represents the unit and its commanding officer. When the commander is in, his guidon is displayed for everyone to see. When he leaves for the day, the guidon is taken down.

It is an honor to be the guidon carrier for a unit, known as a “guidon bearer”. He or she stands in front of the unit alongside of the commander, and is the rallying point for troops to fall into formation when the order is given. In drill and ceremonies, the guidon and commander are always in front of the formation.

The guidon is a great source of pride for the unit, and several military traditions have developed around it, stemming back from ancient times. Any sort of disgrace toward the guidon is considered a dishonor of the unit as a whole, and punishment is typical. For example, should the guidon bearer drop the guidon, he must fall with it and perform punishment, often in the form of push-ups. Other units may attempt to steal the guidon to demoralize or antagonize the unit. Veteran soldiers know not to give up the guidon to anyone outside their unit, but new recruits may be tempted into relinquishing it by a superior, especially during a unit run.

Each branch of the U.S. military has their own customs and procedures…..


Army Guidon

As described in Chapter 6 of Army Regulation 840-10, guidons are swallow-tailed marker flags in branch-of-service colors, measuring 20 inches at the hoist by 27 inches at the fly, with the swallow-tail end forked 10 inches. Old guidons show letters and numerals reversed as if printed through on the reverse of the guidon. Current guidons are made so that letters and numerals read correctly on both sides.

Marine Corps

Marine Guidon

A Marine guidon is always rectangular, 22 by 28 inches, with a scarlet field and gold lettering, and an Eagle, Globe, and Anchor centered.

Recruit training units do not have any branch of service indication on their guidons; boot camp platoon guidons only display the platoon number in yellow/gold against a scarlet background. During the first phase of training, the guidon’s foreground and background colorations are exchanged, yielding a red platoon number against a yellow/gold background


Navy Guidon USS Missouri

Navy ships and squadrons may display a unit guidon while parading ashore. It measures 20 1⁄8 by 27 3⁄4 inches  with a 10 inches swallowtail, is blue with white text, and depicts a fouled anchor within a diamond. Prior to World War II, a red flag was used for naval artillery units. In addition, companies of the Brigade of Midshipmen attending the United States Naval Academy utilize a gold guidon with blue numerals.

Air Force

Air Force Guidon

In the Air Force, guidons are ultramarine blue wool and nylon, nylon, or polyester bunting, 20 by 27 inches to end of the swallowtail, and forked 10 inches. An Air Force yellow American Eagle design appears on the front of the guidon and on the reverse side as if printed through. Above the design is the designation of the parent unit; below it is the designation of the squadron. When the number of the squadron and the parent organization are the same, the lower line indicates only the alphabetical portion of the squadron designation. Numerals and lettering are yellow, from 1 3⁄4 by 3 1⁄2 inches tall, and in varying widths. Lettering and numerals appear on both sides of the guidon, reading from left to right on both sides

And there you have it. Now you know what a guidon is, and how it works. Not a bad way to start a Monday…..

20 Fun Flag Facts (To Break Out at the New Years Party).

Betsy Ross image

1. The author of the Pledge of Allegiance, Francis Bellamy, an editor at the Youth’s Companion magazine, created it in 1892 for students to help commemorate the 400th anniversary of Columbus’ voyage to the New World, and as a way to help immigrant children and the children of immigrants build loyalty to the United States.

2. A small-town Wisconsin schoolteacher, B.J. Cigrand, first conceived of, and worked for, the idea of a national June 14 Flag Day in 1885.

3. There is no historical evidence that Betsy Ross made the first American flag—nor that she helped design it. The preponderance of historical evidence points to the fact that Francis Hopkinson, a signer of the Declaration of Independence from New Jersey, designed the Stars and Stripes.

4. The Pledge’s words have been changed three times. The words of Bellamy’s original Pledge, which was used until 1923, are: “I pledge allegiance to my flag and the Republic for which it stands; one nation indivisible, with liberty and Justice for all.”

5. The American public did not learn the Betsy Ross story until 1870, when her grandson, William Canby, held a press conference in Philadelphia to report that his research, based on family stories, showed that his grandmother made the flag at the behest of George Washington.

6. The Stars and Stripes was not flown by Washington’s forces in the Revolutionary War. The flag most widely used by his forces was the Continental Colors, which had thirteen red and white stripes and the Union Jack in the canton. After-the-fact paintings such as “Washington Crossing the Delaware” that depict the Stars and Stripes in the war are inaccurate.

7. The first noon martyr in the Civil War was Col. Elmer Ellsworth, a close friend of Abraham Lincoln’s who was shot and killed in Alexandria, Virginia, in May of 1861 by the owner of an inn after Ellsworth tore down a Confederate flag flying over the establishment.  Ellsworth’s body lay in state at the White House and the slogan “Remember Ellsworth” accompanied by images of the American flag was popular in the north throughout the war.

8. Martin Van Buren was the first U.S. President to be born as an American citizen under the Stars and Stripes. Van Buren, our 8th president was born in 1782 in Kinderhook, New York. Andrew Jackson, his predecessor, was born in 1767, ten years before Congress adopted the first Flag Resolution on June 14, 1777.

9. “The Star-Spangled Banner,” which Key wrote in 1815, did not become the National Anthem until 1931.

10. The only battle deaths at Ft. Sumter were two men who were killed after the Union surrender during an aborted 50-gun salute to the flag order by Major Robert Anderson, the fort’s commander, as the flag was lowered over the fort.

11. Although many have speculated, we do not know why the American flag contains stars and stripes, nor why the colors red, white and blue were chosen.

12. It was almost unheard of for Americans to fly the flag at their homes or businesses until the fall of Ft. Sumter in April 1861. Until then, the flag was primarily used by the military as a communications device (mostly on Navy ships).

13. The first Union martyr in the Civil War was Col. Elmer Ellsworth, a close friend of Abraham Lincoln’s who was shot and killed in Alexandria, Virginia, in May of 1861 by the owner of an inn after Ellsworth tore down a Confederate flag flying over the establishment.  Ellsworth’s body lay in state at the White House and the slogan “Remember Ellsworth” accompanied by images of the American flag was popular in the north throughout the war.

14. On June 5, 1862, Union General Benjamin Franklin Butler, as military governor of New Orleans, gave the order to execute 21-year-old William Mumford for pulling down the Stars and Stripes from the U.S. Mint. In reaction, Confederate President Jefferson Davis issued a death sentence for Butler, and President Lincoln relieved Butler of his command.

15. U.S. Navy hero John Paul Jones has three flag firsts. As senior lieutenant on the Alfred in December 1775, he was the first person to unfurl the Continental Colors on a naval vessel. On February 14,1778, Jones arranged for his ship, the Ranger, to exchange salutes with a French Admiral in Quiberon Bay, marking the first time a foreign nation saluted the American flag. On April 24, 1778, Jones and the Ranger captured the British sloop Drake off the English coast—the first victory at sea for a U.S. Navy ship flying the American flag.

16. The consensus of historical opinion is that the story of 95-year-old Barbara Frietschie of Frederick, Maryland, defiantly waving the American flag troops as Confederate soldiers marched through the city on September 10, 1862, which was immortalized in John Greenleaf Whittier’s poem, is a myth.

17. The Star-Spangled Banner, the historic flag made by Mary Pickersgill in Baltimore in 1815, had 15 stars and 15 stripes. Three years later, Congress enacted the third and final Flag Resolution, mandating that official flags thereafter would have thirteen stripes and one star for each state.

18. The first African-American recipient of the Medal of Honor, William Carney, was honored for his actions with the Massachusetts 45th Regiment at the Battle of Ft. Wagner in South Carolina when Carney, severely wounded, picked up the American flag of his unit’s slain flag bearer and led the troops in the assault—the battle is portrayed in the movie, Glory.

19. The flag’s image became part of a national political campaign for the first time in the presidential election of 1840 when William Henry Harrison and his running mate John Tyler (“Tippecanoe and Tyler, too”) used a log cabin on campaign banners, bandannas, ribbons, and broadsides. The flag flew prominently beside cabins. The campaign also employed Stars and Stripes banners with Harrison’s name inscribed on them.

20. Only one state, Pennsylvania, observes June 14 as a legal state Flag Day holiday, and has done so since 1937.