Fly your flag April 28: Maryland statehood day

April 28, 2013

U.S. and Maryland flags flown together. Photo from the Maryland Secretary of State's office.

U.S. and Maryland flags flown together. Photo from the Maryland Secretary of State’s office.

Maryland’s convention to ratify the Constitution voted approval on April 28, 1788, the sixth of the former British colonies to ratify.

April 28 is considered Maryland’s statehood date.  According to the suggestions for proper times to fly the U.S. flag, Marylanders should fly their flags on April 28.

It’s only my opinion, but I think there is no grander display of a state and U.S. flag than with Maryland’s.  Maryland’s flag is a unique design in the state flags, and it features colors not common to state flags.  Our displays of both flags at our Maryland home often drew comments from passers-by (we lived on the street leading to the town’s Metro stop, so there was a lot of foot traffic.

Maryland’s flag features the two family crests of George Calvert, the First Lord Baltimore.  In Maryland law it’s described:

The Maryland flag is divided into four quarters. The first and fourth quarters consist of six vertical bars alternately yellow (representing gold) and black with a diagonal band on which the colors are reversed. The yellow and black quarters represent the family arms of the first proprietor of Maryland, George Calvert, first Lord Baltimore. The second and third quarters consist of a quartered field of red and white (representing silver) bearing a Greek cross with arms terminating in trefoils. The colors in the second and third quarters alternate, with red on the white ground and white on the red. The red and white quarters display the arms of Lord Baltimore’s maternal family, the Crosslands.

The flag was officially adopted only in 1904.  Maryland also has a detailed, but not too lengthy set of instructions on proper display and other care of the state flag.

Historic 15-star/15-stripe U.S. flag, and Maryland flag, in Baltimore

From the W&M Blogs: “American and Maryland flags flying high over downtown Baltimore. Just why does the American flag have 15 stars and stripes? Think about Baltimore’s Fort McHenry and Francis Scott Key.”

Baltimore Harbor is home to Fort McHenry, the fort whose siege inspired Georgetown lawyer Francis Scott Key to write a poem about the U.S. flag, which became our national anthem.  Partly due to this history, U.S. flags in Maryland often are the historic, 15-star/15-stripe flag that inspired Key.


Maryland flag on the cover of a Justice League of America comic book.

Maryland flag on the cover of a Justice League of America comic book.


“Dare to call for justice, get labeled ‘terrorist'”

October 10, 2008

This is where we are: Marylanders who exercised their rights guaranteed under the First Amendment, peacefully gathering to call for changes in law, were labeled “terrorists” by the Maryland State Police, and reported to federal databases that way.

Do you wonder why you get searched every time you fly?  Remember that letter you wrote to your Congressman complaining about high taxes?  Remember that phone conversation with your brother-in-law over whether either of you would serve in the military today, without the threat of a draft?

Remember that time you taught the Cub Scouts how to fold the flag?

All of these things used to thought of as patriotic participation in government by citizens.  But not any more.

All of these things are protected under the First Amendment.  But if you use those First Amendment rights, and you’re in Maryland, watch out.

The abuses of the system were discovered and exposed by the Maryland attorney general.

And if you don’t live in Maryland?  That doesn’t make you safe.  It only means your state’s attorney general has not investigated what the cops are doing.

Your vote on November 4 is important.

You can also vote in a poll at the Baltimore Sun, asking whether such surveillance is okay.  (No, it’s not.)

Below the fold:  The New York Times editorial on the issue.  Also, the editorial from the Baltimore Sun.

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