Custodians take pride in flag etiquette

Nick Eddinger, Staff Writer

Freedom, hope, resilience: words reminiscent of the flag soaring near Tappan gym. We see it every day, yet few know the intricate steps taken to maintain it.

According to Senior Custodian James Mellett, the flag is too large to accommodate a daily raising and lowering, so the flag stays on the pole, even throughout the night.

“We leave it up most of the time because it’s illuminated, so you don’t have to take it down every day,” Mellett said. “If we didn’t have a light on it, we’d have to take it down at sunset everyday and put it up at sunrise everyday.”

When the flag is supposed to be at half-mast, Mellett receives emails from the government notifying him.

“The president can do it, or the governor,” Mellett said, “I signed up for email alerts, so I’m aware every time.”  

According to Mellet, there is a proper etiquette of how to treat and handle the flag when taking it down.

“The flag is never supposed to touch the ground, or the trees,” Mellett said. “That one’s a bit of a challenge because there’s a lot of trees, and when we’re bringing it down and there’s any kind of wind, sometimes there’s nothing you can do. We do everything we can to make sure it never touches the ground.”

According to Mellett, it is important to keep a fresh looking flag for specific dates, such as graduation and national days of remembrance.

Taking care of the flag requires one to follow many steps, some that may seem insignificant, but it results in what is, according to Mellett, a show of respect in memory of the men and women who defended this nation.

“It’s a nice gesture for all the soldiers that did everything over the years that most people don’t even realize,” Mellett said.