Friday, June 16, 2006

The aftermath

We are less than a week into the World Cup, but I already have a question about the aftermath. What will Germans do with all the flags that have found their way onto balconies, cars, store fronts, and everywhere else imaginable, after the tournament finishes? Some flags still be in good shape and could be used for the next spontaneous display of German pride. But what about the ones that will have seen better days?

In the States, it is fairly common knowledge that a flag is never supposed to touch the ground, be left in the rain, only be out at night with a spotlight on it and should be burned when it no longer becomes useable. In the spirit of not freaking- out my German friends with American patriotism, I will say that Americans might know of these rules but we don't militantly follow them. But the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) groups do advertise that they will burn your used flags for you when they are no longer suitable to fly.

What got me thinking about this was a video I saw of a guy placing the German flag on the street and kissing it after Germany's victory over Poland on Wednesday. I didn't know what to consider first... that Americans don't put flags on the street or that such a display by a German would have be unimaginable just a few years ago.

I looked up the history of German flags, but do not see anything about flag etiquette. I suspect that the military does have rules on how to dispose of flags, but don't have any proof. Since I doubt there are VFW groups here, perhaps Germany needs a German spin on flag disposal: plastic flags probably have the "gr├╝nerpunkt" on them and could be recycled. It would be like the country giving back to the earth:-)


At 6:44 PM, Blogger Bense said...

In the military, a flag shall not touch the ground and it's being brought down during the night, no matter how many spotlights. And it's not being burned. Being not able to fly anymore, it gets an honor place in the main base building or is just being auctioned for charity.

In private, I guess our flag can stand rain and is colourproof enough to be hung out at night and during rainstorms. And yeah, you can put it down on the soil and kiss it with the soil - holy soil :-) I own a 5x3 meter flag. It actually HAS to touch the ground when I'm trying to get it back into a storing-friendly shape.

At 3:08 AM, Blogger Erin said...

I figured one of the smart readers of this blog would more than I do about this topic. Very interesting! Thanks!

At 9:57 AM, Blogger kelly said...

according to my new hubby, who was in the german military (mandatory service) for a year, there are rules for official flags, but strange soccer fans are allowed free rein. by the way, i saw that clip on tv, and did you notice the overt acting like a Muslim praying?? as in using the flag as a prayer carpet?? if anything i thought that was the offensive part. I was waiting for a reaction to it, but none seemed to come... probably for the best :-)


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