Sam I Am Blog

My Newspaper of News, Lifestyle,Culture

Raise The Colors !

with 15 comments

by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

I love to see a flag flying in the breeze.

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  The Saldana Family proudly flies their Republic of the Philippines flag in Barangay Baras among the coconut and guava trees.

  Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.


Thanks to my brother-in-law, Ramon Q. Saldana Jr.,in a matter of days, we had a beautiful, tall, functional flagpole in our front yard. 

In the United States of America when a military installation or a government agency is ready to begin business, there is a formal ceremony that focuses on the raising of the United States flag to announce the”official” commencement of operations. Even homes, in the United States, with a flagpole usually has some type of ceremony before the flag is raised for the first time. 

Once a flagpole is ready, you need to understand your feelings toward the flag that will rise up the standard.  If the banner is a national flag, then, you need to understand your emotions and beliefs about patriotism.

Patriotism involves your love of your country and the respect to honor the memory of the people who have sacrificed their lives for your country.  If you don’t love your country or feel little to no emotion for the people who have sacrificed their lives for your country; then, you have no business flying a national flag.

In observing my nephews and nieces, they have shown care, concern and compassion for their community and have demonstrated their responsibility in their schoolwork, which translates to me as responsible citizenship.  I’m proud to watch them show an interest in current events and Filipino history, which I also view as personal pride in their country. 


When you fly a national flag, you should always be aware of your nation’s flag protocol.  In the United States Armed Forces, I was taught customs and courtesies, which addressed guidelines for the use and display of the United States flag.  And, I know there are detailed procedures for the use and display of the US flag at embassies, consulates and official government agencies.  I would theorize that most governments probably have similar procedures and guidelines for the display and use of their national flags.


I explained to my nephews and nieces that proper display of the flag is their responsibility and suggested they ask a teacher or go online and research Republic of the Philippines protocol for the display of the national flag.








  Ramon Q. Saldana Jr., and Marife Saldana Roa adjust the flagpole line. 

  Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.





















Before we raised the flag, Ramon and Fe asked me if we were going to do “a formal flag ceremony ?”  I smiled and answered, “I’m retired.  My days of military protocol are behind me.”  The truth is before putting together anything like a formal flag ceremony, I wanted to be sure that the flagpole and the flag would work without any flaws. 








Christy Warren and Ramon Saldana hold the banner while Marife threads a tie through the top grommet to tie the banner to the flagpole line.

Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.















Since I had not tested the flag raising procedure, I didn’t want to risk the kids being assembled for a flag raising and have the line hang up so that the flag did not rise or discover that the grommets were not tied properly and have the flag come loose and fall to the ground.  My favorite “Uncle Sam” had taught me to always hope for the “Best Case Scenario” and to be ready to expect the “Worst Case Scenario.”  Without a “dry run” to test the procedure, I suggested that we just try to raise the flag the next morning.


Ramon and Fe make sure the top grommet is securely tied to the flagpole line as a part of the process to raise the banner. 

Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

I simply hoped that we would have the colors flying when the kids returned home from school the next day.


Nephew Marlon Saldana climbs up a nearby guava tree to snatch the flagpole line which came loose from the bottom of the banner and did not allow it to rise in the first attempt.The failure revealed that the line should pass through the top grommet and the bottom grommet.  To keep the banner attached to the line, then, the bottom grommet would also have to be tied to the nylon flagpole line to allow the flag to rise with the line up to the pulley at the top of the staff.  Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

February 1, 2012, Christy, Ramon and Marife, three of the adult children of Ramon and Nenita Saldana, raised the colors in the front yard for the first time. I, of course, photographed the event.

Murphy’s Law – “Anything that can go wrong; will go wrong,” seems to pinpoint first time events.  The initial flag raising did not go smoothly.


None of us had ever tied a flag to the line before.  The tie at the bottom grommets of the flag did not hold and the bottom of the flag came loose as it was raised.

Fortunately, the flag did not touch the ground. U.S. Flag protocol states that if the flag falls and touches the ground, then, that flag must be destroyed.

When we attempted to lower the flag, too much of the line came through the pulley at the top and the line rushed through until the knot at the end of the line caught in the pulley.   My nephew, Marlon Saldana climbed up the nearby guava tree and retrieved the knotted line caught up in the pulley and brought the line back down.

By the second attempt, the glitches had been remedied and the colors rose up the line to the top of the flagpole.








Ramon Saldana examines the flagpole line to make sure  it passes through the grommets of the banner to allow the cloth to rise up the line.  Christy Warren straightens the material, so that the cloth should rise like the sail of a ship up to the top of the mast.  Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.













The colors raised – there was only one item missing – a breeze.















The flagpole line raises the flag up to the top of the flagpole on the second attempt.  Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.














Time passed. The kids returned home from school, but the flag was not flying. That fact was a disappointment. Unfortunately, there was no breeze.

The irony is ,it was about, a week and a half later before the flag waved.  Typhoon winds off of the ocean actually spawned enough of a breeze to unfurl the colors.


The colors unfurl.  The Republic of the Philippines flag flies above the Saldana Family residence in Barangay Baras, Tanauan, Leyte. 

Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

If you pass through Barangay Baras, keep looking through the tall coconut trees.   When you see a flash of colors in the trees look for the flagpole.  The Saldana Family flagpole stands proud and unfurls the colors of the Republic of the Philippines against the sky.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons license.

15 Responses

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  1. It is so refreshing to see a ” true Filipino ” proudly flying the colors of his country. Obviously Sam is well versed on Philippine history. As an ex-United States military man, he undoubtedly knows the blood that was shed by brave American and Filipino military men. One wonders if this history is being taught in Philippine schools today.


    March 2, 2012 at 11:30 AM

  2. ezrajoy04,

    I appreciate you taking the time to leave your comment. My wife, Christy, is the “True Filipina.” Once we arrived int “The States”, Filipina girlfriends asked her if she had already started studying for her “American Citizenship “to become an American citizen. Christy frowned at them and alway responded from Day One, “Why would I do that ? I’m a Filipina and I’m proud of who I am and I am proud of my country.”

    When we decided to return to the Philippines, of course, she had to renew her expired Philippines passport. And a curious question from a Chicago Philippines Consul General employee, again, brought out Christy’s Philippine Pride Side. The employee asked, “You’ve been in the United States for more than 20 years and you have never applied to become a US citizen; why ?”” Christy gave the government employee over the phone the same answer.

    There is no doubt my wife, Christy, is a proud Filipina. In the United States, she introduced my family and friends to Filipino cuisine from adobo to pork sticks. And she always did her best to keep up on the news in the Philippines.

    I probably am not as well versed on Philippines history as I should be. I was fortunate enough to be the editor of “he Philippine Flyer,” the Clark Air Base newspaper, for awhile during my tour. My enduring claim to fame is I designed the lines used to create the Mount Arayat and sun rising logo that was used in the newspaper’s flag. I was also fortunate to be “on the ground, in country,” when Filipino history was being made in the late 1980s.

    My love of history has always inspired me to dig deep and as a result I learned World War II history in the Pacific that never made it into the history books. I was fortunate to meet some Filipino Scouts, who served in WWII and interview one retired United States Air Force master sergeant, who became a Prisoner Of War when Clark Field was overrun and he survived the Bataan Death March.

    I have a nephew in the Leyte Normal University, whose curiousity about World War II ships sent me to US Navy websites to find the answers to his questions.

    I have another nephew who seems determined to wear a military uniform and serve either in the Armed Forces of the Philippines or the United States Armed Forces.

    My younger nephews are bringing home good grades in Filipino history. And, I reminded them “To always be proud of who they are and where they came from.”

    I have tried to impress upon my nieces and nephews that President Thomas Jefferson was right about a democracy only works if there is an “informed citizenry.”



    March 2, 2012 at 1:47 PM

  3. Thanks for that awesome posting. It saved MUCH time 🙂

    Under 25 Car Insurance

    March 19, 2012 at 6:03 AM

    • Under 25 Car Insurance,

      Thanks for your comment on my “Raise The Colors” feature. It is nice to know that I saved you time. I hope you have a nice flagpole to raise your nation’s colors.



      March 19, 2012 at 11:41 AM

  4. I just unfurled a Philippine flag to celebrate Independence Day…However, it seems that my sister isn’t so proud of the fact that a Philippine flag was flying at our house, saying that I made our home “a school”…I was saddened by what hey said, but I just ignored it…I really love seeing the brilliant colors of the Philippine flag dancing in the wind…(^-^)

    • Jayson,

      Patriotism is always a personal issue. It is what you feel in your heart. In a democracy, everyone has their own opinions. In the United States, for instance, it is almost always a sore issue for veterans to watch on TV or see in a newspaper photo an American flag being burned in protest. The irony is in a democracy, you should have “Freedom of Expression” and the “Right of Assembly,” which means even though men and women died to guarantee that right somehow it just does not seem right that a flag that symbolizes those rights should be burned in protest.

      I can understand and appreciate your dilemma.

      I have observed in the Philippines, it does seem that the majority of the Republic of the Philippines flags unfurl outside of schools and government buildings. Perhaps, your sister is in a “conform to the norm” state of mind.

      It always takes courage to step away from the status quo and follow your heart.

      Never apologize for your patriotism. Your ancestors gave you the right. Some, no doubt paid in blood. Always be proud of who you are and where you come from.

      My wife, Christy spent 21 years living in the United States of America. Her Filipina relatives and friends in the United States became naturalized citizens as soon as they could. What does that tell you about Christy ? She is a proud Filipina.

      Forget the naysayers.

      Always be proud of yourself, your country and your flag. I applaud you. Fly that flag, whenever your heart tells you.



      May 18, 2012 at 6:42 AM

      • I just unfurled a second flag last night…(^-^)
        I am not sure if I violated the Flag and Heraldic Code, since the second flag I unfurled was one my mother bought for me (when I was in primary school) 10 years ago, and the red color has faded…I don’t want to burn the flag (as was dictated by the Code) since the flag has a big sentimental value for me…

        By the way…I wish I can have a flag following the original 1:2 flag ratio…What local bookstores only sell are flags with a ratio of 2:3…

        I would also like to commend the detail of the sun’s rays and stars…Philippine flags that follow the original 1:2 ratio with suns and stars sewn with attention to detail makes me feel ecstatic…(^-^)

        In connection to this, may I request that you answer these questions:
        1. Speaking of stars, are the stars on the US flag sewn, embroidered, or printed…?
        2. How much does the flag cost?
        3. How did your neighbors react with the flagpole?

      • Too bad my grammar isn’t perfect…tsk

        May I clarify that questions 2 and 3 pertain to the Philippine flag shown in the photos on this page…

      • Jayson,

        I’m sure your grammar is fine. Never apologize for your grammar. Language is always first and foremost a form of communication. As long as you get your message across to the person or people you intended, then, you have succeeded. In the United States, the only true sticklers and disciples of grammar are English teachers. When I was in the United States Armed Forces Military journalism school – the Defense Information School “DINFOS” – at Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indiana – they required us to learn two books from cover to cover on the English language ” The Associated Press Stylebook and Libel Manual and a book on grammar rules called Strunk and White something or the other. Strunk and White were two guys, who set down all these meticulous rules about the use of English from artiles and prepositions to pnctuation. As I recall, these guys were alive back around the 1920s. Today, if they were to see text messages on cell phones or in emails, these two men were return to their graves and rotate like tops.

        Overall, English grammar rules are okay to get everyone on the same page for communication, but since grammar is a part of language and language is always changing – thus, grammar must also change.

        When people would criticize my grammar, I could remind them that Prime Minister Winston Churchill liked to end some of his sentences in prepositions, which is a big no-no in formal English. Winston Churchill served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. during World War II, he spoke and wrote English comfortable to him and, thus, developed his own “style.” He broke a “strict” grammar rule and the fate of the Free World did not come crashing down.

        Then, there is the story of American sports broadcaster, “Dizzy Dean.” During his career, he drove American English teachers nuts because of the way he spoke English on the air. He made a living and ended up in American history. Where did his critics end up ? Obscurity ?

        Usually, I would smile at the critics and tell them my favorite English joke about “grammar”:

        The salesman knocks on the door. The little boy opens it.

        “Good morning, young man, is your father home ?”

        “Work,” the boy replies.

        “Is your mother home,” the salesman asks?

        “Don’t know,” replies the boy.

        The salesman frowns and scolds the boy. “Young man, your grammar is atrocious.”

        The boy smiles and throw wide the door: “She’s in the living room.”

        Obviously, the joke relies on the play on words of the word “grammar” sounding a lot like the word, “grandma,” but, it drives home the point that sometimes people get so wrapped up in the details that they forget the overall purpose of communication is understanding, conversation and expression.

        Be yourself, Jayson, and always be confident of your skills.



        May 21, 2012 at 12:50 PM

  5. But I suggest you move the flag to a more open position, or cut the branches of the tree that extend above the flagpole, since it seems that some tree branches are obstructing the flagpole…As Section 11 of the Flag and Heraldic Code states:

    “If planted on the ground, the flagpole shall be at a prominent place and shall be of such height as would give the flag commanding position in relation to the buildings in the vicinity.

    If attached to a building, the flagpole shall be on top of its roof or anchored on a sill projecting at an angle upward.

    If on a stage or platform or government office, the flag shall be at the left (facing the stage) or the left of the office upon entering.”

    • Jayson,

      I understand your suggestion. No doubt, on flag protocol you are correct. Once at Clark Air Base, we received an “official scolding” from the American Embassy. After an exercise that the wing had done extremely well in and been recognized by higher headquarters, entnusiasm was at an all time high. To show their overwhelming pride and patriotism, some of the flightline troops positioned a school-sized American flag on a jeep. It was held securely and centered in the rear of the bed. As the “Philippine Flyer” reporter, we took a picture of the jeep traveling along the flightline and the flag unfurling in the breeze. It was a really patriotic shot. Monday morning with the United States Embassy in Manila got their copy of the newspaper, we got a call.

      First, we got a “Shame On You, you should know better. Then, they pointed out in U.S. Flag protocol – “Only the United States Ambassador is authorized to fly an American flag on his vehicle. If the President of the United States of America visits a foreign country, only the vehicle carrying the president is authorized to fly the American flag on his vehicle. Basicaly, there can never be more than one American flag flying on a vehicle in a foreign country and it has to be either the ambassador of the president. That was the Official United States Government flag protocol position.

      I respect that, but, with all due respect to government officials – they seem to forget sometimes in their adherence to protocol, that in a democracy citizens fight and die for their country and the flag. Thus, if a citizen decides to fly a flag in a manner not covered by government protocol so be it as long as it is done in a respectful manner. And, no disrespect is intended to the flag.

      In this issue – I have a bureaucratic out. I encouraged the establishment of the flagpole. But, it belongs to my Filipino nieces and nephews – it is there flagpole and flag, thus, it is their decision as citizens to determine the flag protocol they wish to observe for their flag.



      May 18, 2012 at 6:22 AM

      • I do agree that your nephews’ right to decide on where to place the flagpole is their inalienable right…But I will still suggest that the flagpole be moved somewhere else, or parts of the tree (which are directly above and near the flagpole) be removed…This is to give the flag a more dignified position in the house, and so that it can be seen easier by everyone who passes your place…

        As a kid, I also dreamed of having a Philippine flag flying on a flagpole easily seen by everyone…Unfortunately, we own no piece of land (where I can place a flagpole) and only rent a house…I would like the flag to fly in a flagpole that does not have any single obstruction on top of it…Besides, I’m pretty sure that it will be easier for the breeze to fly the flag, should my humble suggestion be followed…(^-^)

      • As for the American flag dilemma, I have to admit that I am not well-versed on the American flag protocol…But I believe that the protocol is based on the principle that it represents the American nation with honor and dignity…

        To be honest, I was surprised to read that the US Embassy reacted that way…You didn’t do anything to disgrace your heraldic symbols, and you displayed the flag out of pride in your country, not mere ridicule…You do not deserve their “shame on you” ; they deserve it better because they did not consider your situation…

      • On active duty, I came in contact with information about flag protocol. It halped at Clark that the Protocol Office was next door to the Public Affairs Office. At Barksdale Air Force base, Headquarters 8th Air Force, I was assigned to the 2nd Bomb Wing Public Affairs Office and one of my closest friends was Harold “Buck” Rigg. Buck Rigg was the living, breathing, walking and talking incarnation of the Smithsonian Institution. If you had an American history question or a military history question, I always went to Buck. Buck loved to talk history, airplanes and the United States Air Force. He was the driving force behind the 8th Air Force Museum. Like Benjamin Franklin, Buck was a natural born diplomat. I have no doubt that the only reason the 8th Air Force museum got as many airplanes as they did was because of Buck. I answered several phone calls from the United States Air Force Museum at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio and took messages to pass on to Buck.

        When it comes to United States Air Force aircraft, the Museum at Wright-Pat is like an overprotective parent. You have to appreciate their diligence to make sure a retired weapons system is shown the respect and dignity it deserves. It is better for a retired B-52 Statofortress to sit out in the sands of the Davis-Monthan Air Force Base “boneyard” and slip into the sands of time, rather than ever be placed in a position of dishonor. The men and women of the United States Air Force Museum at Wright- Pat make sure “dishonor” does not happen to the planes and memorabilia. God Bless Them. Thus, poor Buck, would have to put the individual at ease and assure them that the airplane or memorabilia that he was requesting would be exhibited in an “honorable” fashion. When he convinced the Museum to allow a B-52D be displayed at Barksdale, I thought, Buck was going to have to promise his “first born” to the Wright-Pat museum director. At the time, Buck was single and a devoted historian. But, Buck kept the faith and a B-52D retired to the 8thAir Force Museum.

        Buck Rigg was also one of the people, who got me interested in “Flag Protocol.” Democracies like the United States and the Republic of the Philippines realize that the national banner is as much a symbol of the people as well as the Government. Not all nations make this distinction.

        In the early 1980s, I heard the story of a man who stepped on a Turkish coin and was sentenced to Life In Prison. And the story is that Disrespect To The Turkish Flag” meant immediate lifelong imprisonment and a possible death sentence. The importance of this story is to remind people when they travel around the world to at least find out about a nation’s policies about their currency and flag. The story about the man and the Turkish coin is sad because supposedly the man was a foreigner, who just accidentally stepped on the coin. Before you travel or live abroad, find out the country’s policy about their national symbols like currency and their flag.

        As of 2012, The United States of America has no formal flag code. Thus, the procedures are always suggestions – Not “Federal Law.”

        There are always three agencies of the United States Government that I have always admired and respected: (1) The United States Armed Forces – all the departments of the military. (2) The Central Intelligence Agency, which began as the Office of Strategic Services, during World War II. The civilian and military men of the OSS, collected the information necessary for the Allies to win World War II. By 1947, the National Security Act, converted the OSS into the CIA. Like the US Military, sometimes when the US Government messes up and they need a “scapegoat” to take the blame – Uncle Sam usually dumps the blame on either the US Military or the CIA. The US Military can never object because The Uniform Code Of Military Justice prevents military people from speaking out against govenment actions. And, the CIA is a US Government agency that is chartered to work in secrecy to provide policy makers with intelligence to make national policy, so they, like the US Military, MUST take the blame and bare it. I have always felt that Uncle Sam dumps too much blame on the US Military and the CIA, but, no other US Government agencies have the “class, style or stamina” to rise up out of the sewer of public opinion and press on with the daily business at hand.

        (3) The third agency of the United States Government that I have always respected is the United States Foreign Service – the men and women who truly are “the diplomats” who live in foreign countries and each day put their best foot forward to represent the “Heart and Soul of the United States of America; regardless of what mental head case sits in the chair in the Oval Office of the White House or what fool shoots off his or her mouth in the Congress of the United States of America, it is always “America’s true diplomats” that live and work in country to show people that Americans are good people, who do try to help their neighbors.

        The United States Embassy in Manila was right to correct us, when at Clark we flew the US Flag on a jeep on the flightline. The Department of the Air Force is a US Government agency, so, we airmen and NCOs should have known better than to fly the US Flag in that fashion. The diplomats were right to point out our error in protocol.

        Yet, with all due respect to the diplomats, they should also realize that while the US Flag is a symbol of the United States Government, even more important, the US Flag is a symbol of the American people. Governments come and go – people live on. As a symbol of the American people, the US Flag is also the American Flag of the American People, who have invested more than 200 years of blood and suffering in that national banner – while we did violate protocol – we upheld the higher American values of pride, patriotism and professionalism. We violated protocol, but we saluted the Pride, Patriotism and Professionalism of America, thus, we were within our rights as airmen and Americans to exercise our guaranteed Bill of Rights “Freedom of Expression.”

        Thus, the diplomats were right. Even more important, the maintenance flight line airmen of Clark were right to fly the US-American flag on that jeep driving along the flight line because they were displaying that in a democracy, freedom and liberty are values that should be displayed proudly and prominently every chance you get to remind citizens that they have a God-given right to live their lives with dignity, free from fear, and actively pursue their happiness.



        May 21, 2012 at 3:06 PM

    • Very well said, Sam….! I couldn’t agree with you more…

      Anyway, please reconsider my suggestion…I think the Philippine flag deserves as much prominence in your area as anywhere else in the Philippines…Let it fly in an area not obstructed by anything else…

      I long to see your (Philippine) flag flying on a flagpole without any single tree branch or leaf obstructing it…Should the flagpole be moved to a more open space, please notify me…I’d love to see it…

      By the way, I took a picture of the flags we had at home…The flag at the right is tied on a pole pointing upwards…The flag at the left had a fading red hue, and the flag was bought about 10 years ago…


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