NOTE MAY 3, 2013: This page is become the permanent “filing cabinet” for information about the events which began March 5, 1968, with the Declaration of World Citizenship by the City of Minneapolis and Hennepin County, and continue on. The primary document is the blogpost for March 5, 2013, which is accessible here. Added material will be dated, and begins ‘below the fold’ after the hotel flag photo below.
On World Law Day Wednesday, May 1, 2013, the Minneapolis Star Tribune carried two commentaries directly related to World Law Day and the United Nations Flag, written by Dr. Joseph Schwartzberg of GlobalSolutionsMN.org and Minneapolis resident Jim Nelson.
The evening of May 1, at Gandhimahal Restaurant in Minneapolis, 40 attended a dinner celebrating World Law. Here is a blogpost written about the event.
Flags at Lincoln Center Elementary School, South St Paul MN Apr 16, 2013
Here’s a photo of the flags at Hennepin County Government Plaza taken Tuesday April 9, 2013, from the same steps where Gov. Elmer L. Andersen spoke May 1, 1968, on the virtues of World Citizenship and flying the flag of the United Nations at the Plaza.
(click to enlarge any photo)
Flags on Hennepin County Government Plaza April 9, 2013
UPDATE April 2, 2013: United States, Minnesota and United Nations flags et al, at Fairview Southdale Hospital, France at Hiway 62, Edina, April 1, 2013
(click to enlarge)
One year ago today – March 27, 2012 – the Hennepin County Board quietly passed Resolution No. 12-0167, rescinding Resolution 86-7-539 and directing “to fly at the Government Center North Plaza solely the flags of the United States, Minnesota and Hennepin County, in compliance with the U.S. Flag Code.”
I wrote at length on the issue on March 5, 2013. That commentary is accessible here. In that commentary I noted on March 5 that “I’m still searching for more facts” on the U.S. Flag Code, and contemporaneous with my column I wrote my Congresswoman and both MN U.S. Senators seeking more definitive information on the legislative history of that Code.
Sen. Franken’s office was first to respond to my request, with 40 pages of information, including the Congressional Research Service (CRS) document on the United States Flag prepared by John R. Luckey, Legislative Attorney, February 7, 2011. (Citation on the cover: Congressional Research Service 7-5700 www.crs.gov RL30243). Two pages of this report included highlighted sections (see attached pdf U.S. Flag Code (portion)001). In addition, a dozen pages of Legislative Documents were included, including this statement by then ND Sen William Langer, May 12, 1953: Flag Code (1953 Langer 001. Also received, another dozen pages of Congressional Record entries between January and June, 1953 Flag Code (1953 Cong) 001. All of these pages are included.
Some personal observations, at this point:
1. Whoever initially advised Hennepin County Commissioners on the U.S. Flag Code in 2012 was speaking opinion and not fact:
A. The Section of the code cited, 7, relates to the flag “when carried in a procession with another flag….”
B. In addition, the CRS analyst notes later that aforementioned Section 7 contains two subsections on point and these provisions appear to be contradictory (Subsections 7(c) and 7(g).
2. In reading the assorted documents, including the rhetoric in the Congressional Record, I noted these facts:
A. The Flag Code was originally passed June 22, 1942
B. The amendments to the flag bill, particularly relating to the United Nations flag, were first proposed on August 22, 1951, in the 82d Congress. They were ultimately passed in the 83d Congress in the Spring of 1953.
C. The key legislative actors at the time appear to be these: U.S. Sens Martin, Hendrickson, Knowland and Langer; Reps Reed (Illinois), Gross and McDonough.
D. The bill finally passed apparently included this language: “(b) Whoever knowingly violates the provision of this section shall be fined not more than $250 of imprisoned not more than six months, or both.” (Flag Code (1953 S 694) 001) To my knowledge, no such penalty language remains in the Flag Code, and apparently has not appeared there for many years.
3. I am old enough to remember well the post-WWII days of the police action in Korea, Sen. Joe McCarthy…. I was a teenager in rural ND when the 1953 amendment was passed. There was near hysteria, then, about allegations of “Communists”, including additional animosity towards the very existence of the United Nations. What happened in Hennepin County a year ago has all the appearances of a latter day manifestation of the same paranoia that caused our country so much grief in the Sen. McCarthy era.
It appears that the Hennepin County Board made its decision March 27, 2012, on at minimum incomplete information, perhaps without any debate. All but one of the Board members who approved the initial action remain on the Board, and it is time to reopen this file, and give the issue of the United Nations flag the dignified and public hearing it deserves.
POSTNOTE: As noted in the March 5 column, I had not paid much attention to flags, generally, including their arrangement, etc. This has changed. Recently I spent some time at a hotel in Orlando FL. The hotel is part of a world-wide chain, and I noted the flags out front: the U.S. flag, posted slightly higher than the Florida flag, with the Corporate flag in equal standing to the Florida flag. Flags do carry a message about us….
Here they are (click to enlarge):
Hotel, Orlando FL, March 24, 2013
The Hennepin Co Plaza flags as seen from inside Minneapolis City Hall April 12, 2013
CONTINUING INFORMATION ON THE HENNEPIN COUNTY/UNITED NATIONS FLAG ISSUE:
April 14, 2013
This issue will remain an active one until it is re-addressed. As information becomes available or changes, it will be posted here.
Friday April 12, 2013, I hand-delivered two letters to all Hennepin County Commissioners, and the uninvolved in the issue but nonetheless parties at interest, the Mayor and City Council of Minneapolis. The relevant portions of the letters is here: Henn Comm Ltrs 4:12:13001 As of May 3, 2013, there have been zero responses to my questions.
The listing of all Hennepin County Commissioners, their districts, and office addresses can be found here.
Former Governor Elmer L. Andersen’s speech at the United Nations Flag Raising at the Minneapolis City Hall May 1, 1968: Elmer Andersen I Trust..001
Timeline of Historical Events in the year 1968: 1968 Timeline001
Where the United Nations Flag used to fly before being removed after March 27, 2012. Photo taken May 7, 2013