Date: May 12, 2010
Byline: Julie O'Connor
N.J. woman points out American flag displayed incorrectly at Mayor Cory Booker's re-election victory speech
NEWARK — When Joan Bury saw a front-page photo of Mayor Cory Booker giving his re-election victory speech at Newark’s Robert Treat Hotel on Tuesday night, she was immediately peeved — not at the politician, but by the American flag hanging behind him.
When displayed vertically, the flag’s stars should be on the left side, not on the right side as it was. According to federal law, it was wrong.
"It’s just an eyesore to me," said Bury, a 74-year-old Aberdeen resident and self-described "flag fanatic," who learned the United States Flag Code in elementary school during World War II. "We have etiquette and it should be followed, just like using your napkin."
Esmeralda Diaz Cameron, a Booker spokeswoman, today blamed the error on the hotel. "Hotel management was responsible for these logistics," she said. Bill Gibson, head of the hotel’s banquet department, declined comment.
This is one of the most common mistakes of flag display, said Carter Beard, whose family has owned the flag-making company Annin & Co for 150 years, now based in Roseland.
While hanging a flag backwards is not a "grave error," it should be corrected, he said.
"The flag is the physical representation of the ideas of our country, and I think that’s why there’s so much controversy around treating the flag properly," Beard said.
Bury has complained about vertical flags hung backwards in stores, banks, and even at the World Trade Center site during a ceremony several years ago. When a flag is hung either vertically or horizontally against a wall, the stars must always be to the observer’s left, she said — "by your heart."
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