Unless it's raining, Claude Andrews follows a daily routine that involves raising the American flag each weekday morning at the pole outside the Augusta-Richmond County Municipal Building.
It's an honor shared by hundreds, if not thousands, of workers across Georgia and South Carolina.
"I've been here 12 years," the maintenance employee said. "But they were doing this long before I came along."
Today is Flag Day - the 228th anniversary of a resolution adopted by Congress June 14, 1777, reading, in part, "that the flag of the United States shall be of thirteen stripes of alternate red and white, with a union of thirteen stars of white in a blue field."
Although the number of stars in the flag has grown, the traditions that surround Old Glory are much like they always have been.
"We have flags at lots of buildings, all over the county," said Rick Acree, Augusta's assistant director for public service and facilities management. "We put them up and take them down at buildings where they aren't lit at night."
Mr. Acree estimates there are more than 100 government buildings around Richmond County, most of which have flags. They include parks, recreation areas, and government offices and facilities. Flags also can be found at schools, federal buildings and post offices.
The biggest flag in the area, Mr. Acree speculated, is likely the one at Augusta Regional Airport.
The rule that flags cannot be left out in the dark is found in Title IV of the U.S. Code, which suggests the flag be taken down before dark, but adds, "the flag may be displayed twenty-four hours a day if properly illuminated during the hours of darkness."
Riverwalk Augusta, for example, is well lighted, and flags there stay out at night, as they do on Broad Street, Mr. Acree said.
In Columbia County, most flags at government buildings are intentionally well-lighted and thus are allowed to remain flying day and night, Facility Maintenance Manager Tony Temples said.
The early history of the U.S. flag and Flag Day is a matter of debate, according to the U.S. State Department's Web site.
Both President Wilson, in 1916, and President Coolidge, in 1927, issued proclamations asking for June 14 to be observed as National Flag Day. But it wasn't until Aug. 3, 1949, that Congress approved the observance, and President Truman signed it into law.
Some of the do's and don'ts involving the American flag stipulate that it should not be worn as clothing and should never be used on napkins or things that are designed to be discarded, and that flags shouldn't be displayed during inclement weather.
Reach Rob Pavey at 868-1222, ext. 119, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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