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Off the News

For Tuesday, June 14, 2011


A grand day for Old Glory

"You're a grand old flag, you're a high-flying flag

And forever in peace may you wave ..."

Go ahead: Today is Flag Day, the perfect occasion in which to sing that classic song by George M. Cohan, written as a patriotic tribute to the U.S. flag. Flag Day itself was created in 1916, when President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed June 14 as an annual day to honor the flag.

A few flag-flying protocols of note, as outlined by political blogger Andrew Malcolm:

No tattered flags, period. If it is left flying past sundown, a flag should be illuminated. And, if the flag is hung vertically in a window or on a wall, the blue star field should be on the viewer's left. Similarly, if the U.S. flag is arrayed with other flags, it should be positioned on the viewer's left. Give Old Glory the glory it deserves.

Read Aloud, or just read

Read Aloud America spends $1.7 million each year to encourage children and their parents to read. But the state's fiscal crisis has decimated the program's funding. Now fewer schools will enjoy Read Aloud's lively sessions of games and prizes that try to make reading fun.

Of course, there are less flashy but proven ways to get kids to read. Give them books instead of toys. Read to them — every day. Turn off the TV and computer. Set a good example and be a reader, too — of books, magazines, newspapers or e-readers. When reading is a big part of a family's daily life, the kids will grow up more literate, more confident and ready to take on the world.

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