Star spangled tangle


We just received a call here at JTA’s marketing department about an ad for the Jewish Chaplains Council, depicted at right, which runs in our Daily Briefing email newsletter. The caller, who identified herself only as a “well-connected Republican,” took umbrage with the display of the American flag upon the soldier’s uniform, which she claimed was “backwards,” and demanded that we explain our purported desecration of the flag.

After my co-worker politely explained that we were not responsible for the content of the advertisement and that there was no harm intended on JTA’s part, the issue was brought to my attention.

I quickly noted that as a long-time volunteer in my father’s Jewish War Veterans post and, therefore as someone who, in his day, has hung his fair share of American flags, I know quite well that the U.S. flag, when displayed on the right shoulder of a soldier’s uniform, is intentionally worn in reverse.

As explained on the Web site of military uniform retailer Marlow White:

The blue field of stars should always be in the highest position of honor. When viewing the flag on a wall, the highest position of honor is the upper left when displayed horizontally, and at the top (upper left) when displayed vertically. When displayed on a “moving object” like a person or vehicle, the highest position of honor is the front, and not the rear; so the field of blue should be displayed to the front.

Though another co-worker, JTA managing editor Uriel Heilman, has urged me to temper my snarkiness, I must insist that if you are going to call into question the patriotism of our news organization over such trivialities, at least know the protocols that you accuse us of violating. Oh, and of course, also make sure that we’re the ones supposedly violating them. In this case, it was a coalition of American Jewish military chaplains, who we all know hate America.

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