Friday morning U.S. Secretary of Defense Dr. Mark T. Esper issued a memo of guidance for military bases. It encouraged the display of the U.S. flag, and listed other flags that are permitted for display. The nine-item list did not include the Confederate flag, and the memo specifically calls for “rejecting divisive symbols.”
Dr. Esper made the memo public in a tweet Friday morning. With a subject line of “Public Display or Depiction of Flags in the Department of Defense,” the two-page notice opens with the assertion that supporting service members and civilian contractors requires “mutual respect, responsibility, and accountability.”
…It signifies unity for our country. Our service members wear it proudly on their uniforms & display it across our installations. Each of us must create & maintain an environment of cohesion across the Joint Force. One way to do that is to always honor our American Flag." (2/2) pic.twitter.com/1i5A5PUhN6
— The Joint Staff 🇺🇸 (@thejointstaff) July 17, 2020
The memo notes that flags are powerful symbols, and therefore “the flags we fly must accord with military imperatives of good order and discipline, treating all our people with dignity and respect, and rejecting divisive symbols.”
Consequently in addition to the American flag, Service members and civilian employees are authorized to display or depict representational flags that promote unity and esprit de corps, including
- Flags of U.S. States and Territories and the District of Columbia;
- Military Service Flags;
- Flag or General Officer flags;
- Presidentially-appointed, Senate-confirmed civilian flags;
- Senior Executive Service (SES) and Military Department-specific flags SES flags;
- The POW/MIA flag;
- Flags of other countries, for which the United States is an ally or partner, or for official protocol purposes;
- Flags of organizations in which the United States is a memer (e.g., NATO); and
- Ceremonial, command, unit, or branch flags or guidons.
Today I issued a memorandum to the force on the display of flags at @DeptofDefense facilities. With this change in policy, we will further improve the morale, cohesion, and readiness of the force in defense of our great Nation. pic.twitter.com/YQPc3kxf4V
— Archive: Dr. Mark T. Esper (@EsperDoD) July 17, 2020
The memo goes on to list where this applies, including office buildings, facilities, naval vessels, aircraft, government vehicles, individual offices, cubicles, break rooms, common areas in barracks, training facilities, parking lots, and publicly visible areas of military housing.
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Steph Bazzle reports on social issues and religion for Hill Reporter. She focuses on stories that speak to everyone's right to practice what they believe in and receive the support of their communities and government officials. You can reach her at Steph@HillReporter.com