MOUNT PLEASANT -- Keeping a steady supply of American flags at Patriots Point is never in doubt.
With the nation marking Flag Day today, officials at the Charleston Harbor site report they are well-supplied with replacement flags ready to switch out when those on display become too worn to fly, usually falling victim to a constant barrage of sun rays or the whipping winds off the water.
In an average year the museum has to:
Butch Hills, spokesman for the Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum, said the annual flag budget for all the banners flown at the museum runs about $2,000 per year.
While there are no set plans to officially celebrate today's holiday, Hills said the museum may start a regularly scheduled flag disposal service next year for the general public. Visitors would be encouraged to bring in a flag that has fallen into poor condition for ceremonial burning, he said.
Though a date has not been determined, the event probably would be scheduled for the day after Flag Day, to draw more attention to the observation, he said.
Flag Day stems from several movements to set aside a day to honor the flag, including a leading effort by the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, a fraternal order dating back to the 19th century. In 1911 the group's governing body made it mandatory that all lodges to observe June 14 as the anniversary of the country's adoption of the 13-star flag.
Years later in 1949, then-President Harry Truman, himself an Elk, signed an act of Congress that established the national Flag Day.
Locally, one area flag seller said Flag Day is not big on individual sales but that it is more of a reminder day for members of the public to start shopping and be ready for the approaching July 4th Weekend.
"Flag Day is one of those indicators where people start thinking about the Fourth of July," said Jason Brooke, owner of Carolina Flag and Banner.
Another popular seller as of late is the Gadsden Flag, or the "Don't Tread on Me" flag that features a coiled rattlesnake in a yellow field. The city of North Charleston began flying the flag in front of City Hall to signify its battle with the state of South Carolina over railroad lines. Also, a variation has been adopted by groups opposed to cruise ships in the city of Charleston.
The high point of Gadsden sales came after Barack Obama was elected and the tea party movement began to emerge, Brooke said. Recent sales numbers haven't matched that.
"It's not as big as it was in 2010," Brooke said.
Also today: A reception is being held today onboard the Yorktown for Medal of Honor recipient John McGinty from 6-8 p.m. McGinty, who was awarded his medal for service in Vietnam, recently moved to Hilton Head Island, and a reception is being held to welcome him to the state. The gathering is closed to the general public.
Reach Schuyler Kropf at 937-5551.
American Flag etiquette: