Monday 3 December 2012

Why designated days actually make the Flag special

The designated days that the Alliance Party amendment ensured that the Union Flag will still fly over Belfast City Hall are key days to our Monarch.

It is rather ironic that a number of people have said that they didn't notice there was a Union Flag flying over City Hall on Twitter today. I used to work in a Government Office and the Union Flag was only flown on designated days. It always stood out as a special day when I could see the flag on the pole outside my window, it made me wonder what (and more often who) we were celebrating that day.

Indeed here is the recommendation and clarification from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport on when the Union Flag is to be flown. It is being misreported on the news that this will next happen on January 20th for the Countess of Wessex's birthday when it will actually be the 9th for the Duchess of Cambridge. There are now 18 of these Days that apply in Northern Ireland (again people are forgetting the addition of the Duchess of Cambridge last year). These days as you can see actually all honour either our monarch and her family, our fallen forces or each nation's individual identity.

Also the flag should only be flown from 8am until sunset (unless the flag is floodlit). This is why the military have their bugle calls for the raising and lowering of the flag at their barracks. They serve under the flag, hence its raising all 365 days and lowering at the end of the day. This is respect of the flag for them, they do not keep it up all day and night and let it get frayed, indeed they will repair it overnight if that is required.

So actually designated days helps keep the flag special, it honours the monarch and her family more so that flying it every day, all day throughout the year. It is a pity that there aren't more vexillologists around here in Belfast who understand that.

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