Ask the Expert: Is the American flag ‘backward’ on Scout uniforms?

Ask the Expert: What happened to Bugling merit badge?If you look at the right sleeve of a Boy Scout and of a U.S. soldier, you’ll see American flags on both.

But there’s one big difference. While the Boy Scout’s flag has the blue field of stars at the top left, the soldier’s flag is a reverse-field flag; the field of stars is at the top right.

So which is correct?

Both, as it turns out. The American flag is pre-sewn on all Cub Scout, Boy Scout and Venturing uniform shirts, meaning it’s correctly placed when you buy it.

But even though the BSA does the patch-placement work for you, some Scouters, especially those with military ties, have questioned the flag’s direction. They, correctly, argue that the military reverses the flag so it looks as if the soldier is moving into battle, not retreating. Imagine someone carrying the U.S. flag on a pole while running forward, and you’ll get the picture.

flag-sleeve-jamboreeI first blogged about this subject four and half years ago, and in the time since I’ve gotten this question quite a bit.

The Boy Scout Handbook is pretty clear. On Page 76, it reads: “Following the guidelines of the U.S. Flag Code, it [the flag patch] is placed with the blue field to the flag’s own right (to the left, as someone views it).”

It goes on to explain that the U.S. military uses the reverse-field flag and that either is correct. The key is to follow the guidelines of the organization responsible for the uniform in question.

But for an even more detailed explanation, let’s check in with the expert. In this case that’s Peter Self, team leader, youth development, program impact and council operations with the BSA. He recently heard from a Scouter who’s also a U.S. Army staff sergeant. Here’s the original email and Peter’s response:

Original letter

Dear Sir/Ma’am,

I would first like to say that I am glad to have been a member of the Scouts when I was an adolescent.

I am currently a 15-year member of the United States Army and a supporter of the Scouts when I have time to volunteer. As a member of our nation’s military I have been deployed in the service of our country three times.

My question is about the Scout uniform.

I am not sure if you are aware, but the Scouts and the U.S. Army both wear our country’s standard on our right shoulder. There is however one large difference. Looking at a soldiers uniform you will see that the flag “Looks backwards” that is to say the stripes are on the left and the stars are on the right. That was not an accident, although to some it may look funny, the reason the flag is positioned that way is because the flag is flying in the direction of the wind. The soldier is always moving forward. Think of what the flag would look like in a parade if it were walking past you.

On the Boy Scout uniform the flag is turned the other way. Watching that same parade the Scouts would be marching backwards. Retreating, if you will.

As both a Scout and a soldier I can understand that Scouts are not soldiers. But when I was a Scout I wanted nothing more than to be a soldier. To serve my country. I wanted to be a soldier because Scouting taught me that not everyone can be a soldier. Not everyone is strong enough for that sacrifice, not everyone has such a strong sense of duty.

Scouts do.

Scouts are strong, for others who don’t have the strength.

Scouts are brave, when others feel fear.

Scouts are trained, where other lack knowledge.

“To do my duty for God and Country”

Wearing the flag on the Scout uniform in the same manner as the military does not go against US Code Title 4 or US Code Title 36.

I understand that changing the uniform may be a daunting logistical feat, but I do believe that our nation and of flag are worth it.

The expert’s response

Dear Sir,

Thank you for your thoughtful and well-articulated question. Your sense of dedication and committment not only to our country, but also our youth is obvious.

As you can imagine, we are frequently asked why the patch of the United States flag, as worn on the right should of the official BSA uniform, has the blue field of stars (known as the canton) in the upper left hand corner, and it is worn facing the opposite direction by members of the US Army. There are really two parts to this question.

The first question is “What gives each of these organizations the right to wear the flag as a part of their uniform?” This permission is granted in Title 4 of the US Code, which is often referred to simply as the Flag Code. Under § 8, paragraph (j) it states:

“No part of the flag should ever be used as a costume or athletic uniform. However, a flag patch may be affixed to the uniform of military personnel, firemen, policemen, and members of patriotic organizations. The flag represents a living country and is itself considered a living thing. Therefore, the lapel flag pin being a replica, should be worn on the left lapel near the heart.”

I think we can agree that members of the Boy Scouts of America have permission to wear the patch as members of a patriotic organization.

While Title 4 gives several examples of how the flag is to be displayed when used in ceremonies, during meetings, in parades, in auditoriums, or even at funeral services. It does not cite a single example of how the flag should appear when worn as a patch or affixed to an article of clothing. All we are given is the permission to wear it as noted above. In the absence of any specific direction, we can only assume it should be worn in the same fashion as described in numerous other paragraphs, which is with the canton at the upper left corner.

Why then does the US Army wear it in reverse fashion? That answer can be found in US Army Regulation 670-1, Chapter 28, Section 18, which states:

“The full-color U.S. flag cloth replica is worn so that the star field faces forward, or to the flag’s own right. When worn in this manner, the flag is facing to the observer’s right, and gives the effect of the flag flying in the breeze as the wearer moves forward. The appropriate replica for the right shoulder sleeve is identified as the reverse side flag.”

This statement in the Army regulations appears to be the only written description of how a patch of the flag should be worn, which makes it unique to the U.S. military. Of course this begs the question, “Can the Boy Scouts of America adopt the same policy?”

The answer to this question can be found in Article X, Section 4, Clause 4, Paragraph (b) of the Rules and regulations of the Boy Scouts of America. Here we find the following:

“Imitation of United States Army, Navy or Marine Corps uniforms is prohibited, in accordance with the provisions of the organizations Congressional Charter.”

Because the reverse side flag is unique to the military, it would be considered an imitation of the uniform and is therefore prohibited.

I hope this helps clear up the difference, and once again thank you for your dedication and service.

– Peter Self


Solider photo from Flickr: Some rights reserved by DVIDSHUB; BSA photos copyright Boy Scouts of America: First photo: Eagle Scout Chase Glidewell from Atlanta Georgia Troop A323, Second photo: Life Scout Will Freder from Greenwich, CT Troop B330 upon arrival.

143 thoughts on “Ask the Expert: Is the American flag ‘backward’ on Scout uniforms?

  1. CG wrote in part:
    “Saw your comments below a few minutes after my reply. Never say “never.” None in my collection spanning the period have flags anywhere except the shoulder, and none of my vintage Uniform Guides has it anywhere except the shoulder. Going off S Moore’s assertion that’s where they went “in the 1980s,” I pulled up the Boys’ Life archive and saw no photo evidence for his claim there. So both S Moore and I are wrong 😛 ”

    I can’t post photos here (Bryan correctly disabled that ability from his blog…*smiling*) however let me see if I can find old references to the U.S. Flag emblem “in the 70’s or early 80s”. If so, I will post the images on the Badge and Uniform Site. Bryan, if you could walk downstairs to Council Solutions (last time I visited the National offices, they were on the first floor and you guys were on the second floor…it may have changed since then!) and ask them to please find images of Cub Scouts wearing the U.S. Flag emblem above the pocket, this would help this discussion a bit!! Thanks!

    (as a reminder: I am NOT a national staffer….just some aged volunteer, a balding Black man who has a lot of interest in the BSA…*heheheheheheee*)

    • As a follow up to my previous post: because I’m not in Minnesota where all of my resources are, I’ve asked my Sweetie to please scan me some pages from various Insignia (Control) Guides as well as the Wolf Book from the 60s and 70s which illustrates the placement of the (optional) U.S. flag emblem on the Cub Scout uniform. This only applied to the Cub Scout uniform. I also did my own online search for Cub Scout uniforms from the 60s, 70s and 80s. I’m posting all of this on the Badge and Uniform Site in a couple of hours at http://www.scoutinsignia.com/usflag.htm — you have to go to the bottom of the page to see the photos and explaination…it will be linked.

  2. It is not only the Army that wears the “reversed” flag. (Reversed from the standard orientation, although a real flag has both orientations when viewed from both directions). All of my fire department uniforms have a flag with the union to the right (part number FLAGREV from our uniform vendor) on the right sleeve. Many police departments also wear a flag on their right shoulder, and many of those use the “reversed” flag. For the Scout uniform, the authority is the Guide to Awards and Insignia. Page 25 shows a picture, describes the patch, and addresses the orientation. The “reversed” flag is not in compliance with the standard for wear on the BSA uniform.

    • It is not only the Army, Marine Corps, and Navy that wear the “reversed” flag, but all of the United States Armed Forces do. This kept bothering me. Many organizations wear the U.S. Flag “reversed”. Many Boy Scouts dream to enlist or be commissioned in the military, we (Boy Scouts of America) have very similar customs.

  3. I thought we used to used to wear it above our pocket, like the one shown in previous comments.

    The military isn’t the only ones displaying the flag like that. Commercial airlines have had the US flag displayed the same way on their fuselage as long as I can remember.

    Saying we cannot imitate the military is a poor deduction is it not? The uniforms are para military; epaulets, olive drab pants, khaki shirts. I don’t understand the difference or where exactly the line is drawn.

    • First, which branch of the military? Many don’t sport the flag at all.
      Second, which class of uniform? The BSA field uniform is by no means a combat uniform. Some nickname it “Class A” (I guess because it can sport as much or more insignia than the typical military Class A uniform). There is no flag on the military “Class A” uniform.

      Should the boys imitate airplane fuselages, or the wall behind a speakers’ podium?

      It does imitate the military uniform in the sense that it’s purpose is to convey a story to the public in not-so-many words. But it also is intended to signify a peaceful endeavor. Some of us feel that the movement is mostly about retreating into, and gaining inspiration from, our precious wild lands.

  4. Change the BSA uniform standard and wear it on the left shoulder. It would be closer to the wearer’s heart and also canton-forward.

    • Don’t quote me on this, but I believe its worn on the right shoulder because being on the right side of something is considered a position of honor. For example, in a military platoon formation, the squad leaders are always on the far right, the most senior of the leaders being in the front. Everyone else then forms off of them

  5. We should remove the flag from the right sleeve and have a flag about 1/2″ long as part of the “Boy Scouts of America” strip above the right pocket. (Like how many other scouting organizations in the world.) It would help reduce the clutter and “Christmas Tree” effect of the BSA uniform.

    • Very good idea!. This is the common method in Europe where I’ve seen such combined country and flag strips above the pocket! I even have one that says “DANMARK” in my collection that I bought in Copenhagen in 1965.

  6. And I’d just like to post that we had no flag on our uniform for 60 years, and no one mistook us for invading enemy army or anything other than scouts. (Every once in awhile while I am in uniform, someone at either a state park or national park will ask me a question as if I were an employee)

  7. The Army didn’t always have patches with the flag’s canton/union facing the wearer’s front. These paratroopers from the 502nd Parachute Infantry Regiment are wearing flag armbands/patches with the canton/union on the left.
    [img]http://ww2militaria.files.wordpress.com/2011/12/abn_armband.jpg[/img]

  8. I’m a fairly recently retired Major in the US Army National Guard and an Afghanistan Vet. It angers me to no end that the US military decided to make the patches backwards! It is wrong and it confuses people. I very strongly hope that no one else even considers adopting this. I don’t particularly care about the reasoning they give. It is not a flag on a pole and it is not waving. They wore them properly in World War II, why not now!

    • Thank you for your service Major. I agree that a canton on the Starboard Quarter, doesn’t look just right no matter which way the wind is blowing. Some people like to “change” just for “change sake”.

      • Uniforms have been changing for many different reasons throughout the years, This is not change for change sake, its a change in the regulation, for a specific reason. The regulation is quoted in the article. And the flag is not made backwards, if its worn on the right arm its in reverse view. And your correct it’s a patch not a flag, so how its displayed on the uniform becomes interpretive, and thats why they call this a debate. Dave B’s interpretation sounds sound too. I like it, So does the Army’s left sleeve reverse view. Wendy makes a good point on the left sleeve, All these points of view are interesting, but I would prefer to wear it correctly, with the canton facing front. Its also another opportunity to talk to people and create dialog about the flag, the uniform and about scouting in the USA. Isn’t that what its all about in the end?

    • I agree with you. And thank you for your service. The Army’s reasoning is flawed as well, for saying the flag is “flying as if the wearer was moving forward; that only works if the wind is blowing toward his face, if the wind was blowing from behind him the flag would look as it does on the scout uniform.

  9. Not noted in the post above is that the US Army changed their rule in December 2005. During all my time in the service (before that obviously), the flag patch was always the conventional display with the blue field in top right regardless of which shoulder the patch was on.

    Yes, other non-military forces (police and fire) have also started to follow the reversed-flag practice. Those are recent innovations. (The paintings on vehicles such as planes and the Space Shuttle are not strictly analogous because they are trying to emulate the flag flown on a ship.)

    • Yes the flag flown on a pole, or a shop or plane. That’s why if it’s on the right shoulder, the canton would be out in front, and thereby look reversed. If it’s displayed on the left, the canton would also be out in front and look typically correct. It depends on the shoulder. The army regulation denotes this, the always moving Foward (denoting not retreating) is more of an add on. The point was to correct it’s display! But hey in the end it’s just a patch and not a flag. So either way is fine.

      • The US military doesn’t seem to have to follow the US Flag Code. They’ve made their own camouflaged version of the flag – which is against the US Flag Code. The military’s use of the flag on uniforms was not standard in 1990. During the Gulf War, some units used a flag, others did not. Some wore normal flag patches, some wore backward flag patches. And I think the first “camo” flags appeared back then, too. So it seems like the military has only recently sorted this all out – and to think that they are “proper” and the BSA is not is mistaken. The US Flag Code doesn’t address the proper placement of the canton of the flag on a uniform.

        • Yea that’s what I meant, the code does not address the canton. I was just throwing out the fact that it’s done differently for different reasons. The article is very good, it does make a great case for leaving it the way it is. My feeling is more personal.. I like the canton facing Foward as a tribute the the men and women that “always move Foward” and defend the nation. But as a good soldier I will abide by the BS BSA regulation. So I’m at peace with it! But I would like to change the regulation to reflect my wish that the patch be a tribute to those who serve. The uniform is a perfect place to do this in my opinion, I know others feel I’m way off, and that’s ok! Still like being a Scouter!

        • Ha! Funny. I read the BS BSA as “Boy Scouts Boy Scouts of America.” Guess my brain was in BSA mode.

          As to having the flag be a tribute to those who served, I think that’s limiting the flag in its scope. The flag is for those who served, those who didn’t, those who are citizens, those who serve in government, those who fought and fight for our freedoms who are not in the military (re: Martin Luther) and just for us average Joes and Janes. I think we can certainly read into the flag those who fought and died for us, but it encompasses a lot more and shouldn’t be limited IMHO.

        • I don’t disagree with Mikes point, the flag is for everybody, well everybody in the USA i guess, if the flag is worn on the uniform canton foward it does not preclude what you say it stands for, but does make a statement, I actually like the green and tan version of the flag, like what was done with troop numbers, moving away from red and white. Not to disrespect the flag, but make it personal to the BSA. I know the red white and blue and all is how it is, and I’ve seen that on uniforms too. But I just think the correct orientation for the right shoulder on any color is the it should be worn… Again, we’re talking about a patch, not an actual flag, it’s a rendering.. By the way, I have some I speak brooklyninese patches for the uniform too if anybody wants them.. It’s an easy language to learn.

      • I noticed a Military Cargo plane from Sweden at our local AFB and the Starboard flag was reversed. I would expect Denmark, Greece, Iceland, Beligum , even Vatican City and others use the reverse flag on the sides of their aircraft.

        • As has been stated here many times before how a flag is displayed on a vehicle, shop or aircraft is totally irrelevant under the US Flag code to a patch on uniform. The recent US army internal reg wit a weird reversed flag isn’t followed by any of the other military services either.

  10. This thread goes to show how militarized the American culture has become, much to the dismay of our founding fathers strong warnings, and the reason for our nation’s low rating today in Global peace. The concern should not be whether the “flag is correctly sewn onto” a Boy Scouts uniform, but that we even, as a culture, have military “might” so interwoven into our moral fabric and more so into our political/economic model keeping USA as a war economy—even COMPARING a “Boy Scouts uniform” to that of a “solider”, as if a Boy Scout would be a “soldier” anymore than a Girl Scout or Victoria Secret’s model for that matter. Many of us are educated on the self-destructive glorification of our bloated MIC, and not bringing up our sons to be indoctrinated, inoculated into some blind obedience to violence as some form of “duty to God and Country”. We are bringing them up to be truly “morally straight” to understand God’s commandment you shalt not kill. This religiously radical/political overture interwoven into Scouting in the main reason many of us are wise enough to have our son go through Cub Scouts for the good part…environmental stewardship, “do your best”, be trustworthy etc….but hesitant to move onto Eagle Scouting. Too many of those young men are conditioned into the dark side of what is deemed “morally straight” for war profits. If we took the marching, militarized, over the edge “worship” of the flag thing, and target shooting out of Scouting, it would be a more positive overall experience for the boys, to shape them into more well rounded, global thinkers fighting nonviolently for clean air, clean water, a clean soul. “Service” to nation does NOT equate to military combat…anyone thinking so has been manipulated by media and “His-story”, where “his” story was to suit special interest turning USA into fascism police state today.

    • I’m willing to bet that 99.5% of American parents don’t come anywhere close to putting that much thought into Scouting, the Military, social/political expectations and what not. You’ve way over thought the issue, IMHO. The 1% of the 1% of the 1% of the Scouting population that read and post on this blog probably in no way represents anywhere near a majority in Scouting as you perceive.

      And a suggesting on writing/blogging: use a paragraph every so often. It helps us readers. Thx.

    • Are you serious? As with most organizations in the United States, the BSA is a fully voluntary membership organization. If you feel it doesn’t represent your values, you are fully able to go somewhere else. But I fail to understand why you must denigrate something many of us hold dear to our hearts, Military-Industrial Complex conspiracy theories and all. Actually, most of us can have the choice to join or not join thanks to that evil MIC. I bet you must have voted for Bush…

      • Am I “serious”? About what? The fact this article and thread reflects how militarized our nation has become? USA spends more than half the world combined on war/weapons, market spinning it to the American people as “protecting security and freedom” when it is all about the war economy we’ve built up at the expense of our “freedom and security”.

        This is not about my many shared “values” with BSA. My only child went to his Bridging Ceremony just last night where he walked across the bridge & “Arrow of Light” crossing over from Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts. He has loved his experience, and I share MANY of the positive values of environmental stewardship–“leave no trace”, be clean in outdoor manners, careful with fire, be a conservationist ,minded citizen, do your best, be trustworthy, KIND, courteous, mentally awake, “morally straight”. The great outdoors, staying physically strong, he won First Place in Pinewood Derby…so many good things that kept us in it for past few years.

        But when, as a parent volunteer, I was asked to help recruit boys I was hit with the biggest reason families are increasingly shying away from signing up— The unsustainable connotation to a military mindset with the rather militarized march “Color Guard Attention!, Color Guard Forward March!, like some blind obedience to violent action. People are waking up to realization every shooting such as at the elementary school in CT, a Safeway, a cinema, recent army base in TX–ALL were 100% directly linked to negative influence of our military mindset for profit in wrong direction. It is NOT “morally straight”…and if you are insisting BSA should continue with this practice, YOU are the one hurting the organization and not “supporting” it, not I. If you wish to keep BSA intact, take out the mind numbing indoctrination seemingly making some of the boys stand like rigid straight soldiers, unable to think for themselves. Keep the good stuff in reflecting true “US citizenship”. You think voted for Bush? You’ve got to be kidding me! The minute that tyrant declared war onto the American people, was the minute the so called “terrorist” won. This piece did nothing to help the BSA cause, it did the opposite. “What great luck for those of us in power to have people that don’t think” -Adolf Hitler-

        • Glad I did not read your diatribe, only pices that showed my your ifnoriMce is only outdone by your stupidity. Too bad you will never be welcome in any place that horbors such resentment on your heart. Please feel free to go somewhere else so you can be your living self.

        • I hope your son did his bridging ceremony to the Girl Scouts because his dad should be the Den Mom!

        • Wow. All of you who are slamming “openeyed” are forgetting the part about being “helpful, friendly, courteous”. You don’t need to agree with him. But you don’t have to act like middle school children and start name calling. jeez.

        • Thanks Dave B for your kind, courteous, respectful, friendly words. You’ve done a “good turn daily”! You must be a true “Scout”, unlike the others here. Funny though, you got the impression I am a “him”. No problem, I don’t get offended like apparently others do quite easily. You mention people name calling here act like middle school children. Have to say, as someone who volunteers weekly in an elementary school (kids younger than middle school)…The kids are better behaved than the few name callers here, and entirely more aware of what is going on in the world. Kids are innocent…until adults negatively influence them with certain violent beliefs, with violent video games, and our cultural “norms” I’ve already mentioned.

        • There is no resentment harbored within my heart Gene, sounds like you may be passing on your own inner turmoil. I personally do not harbor enough misplaced anger, sense of misdirected “revenge” or uneducated political/economic acumen to believe in the elementary, trite and cliche marketing spin of our nations perpetual aggressive foreign policy as some form of “service to nation”. It is a highly unhealthy, unsustainable & frankly mentally unstable mindset that is bringing our nation to its knees today.

          I only landed on this thread due to researching and searching my moral soul and strong heart to make decision of going forth with my son moving from Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts. I would LOVE him to be able to do so….but his article and discussion is telling me it just might be a wise decision not to go forward with it. As a marketing professional myself who grew to Executive level within corporate America here in Silicon Valley,, I can tell you this piece just market spun business away from BSA, and caused many people to think long and hard about keeping their son in BSA. Or joining. Quite sad, is its author had the opposite objective.

        • The “You must have voted for Bush” comment was sarcasm… calling the president a tyrant who declared war on the American people doesn’t really help. You may believe that, and you are welcome to your belief, but I personally feel the office should be treated with respect. I don’t like Obama’s policies, but I’m not going to going around saying he’s a fascist dictator who’s turned our country into a communist welfare state (I don’t think that, but have seen many twitter/facebook/website comments that use that crummy terminology).

          You’ve made it clear you feel the BSA is “militarized” and part of an overall global military conspiracy. You are welcome to your opinion. I respectfully disagree with your worldview, as I am sure you are of mine. Thankfully we live in the USA, warts and all, and have that freedom to disagree. Self-discipline, in the form of standing at attention and formality for a color guard presentation does not, to me, equate to militarism. When I make my soccer team stand at attention for the national anthem, I don’t believe I’m indoctrinating them to become blindly obedient to your MIC, but teaching them how to respect certain customs of the United States.

          I don’t know where you get the fact that recent tragedies were “100% directly linked” to any form of military mindset. I thought it was the guns fault! (Sorry, sarcasm again).

          You do what you feel is best for your child. I personally feel you would be doing him a disservice by pulling him out of scouting simply because of your personal military focus. As stated in the Rules of BSA, imitation of military uniforms is prohibited. Most scouters will tell you that there is very little “military” relation. In my 7 years as a scout and 5 years as a scouter, I have seen (and done) nothing to relate scout activities to the military. I help my boys to respect the flag (as a citizen), be aware of civic duties (know your reps, vote when of age etc) and other basic citizenship qualities. Nothing which requires blind obedience or mind numbing indoctrination.

          “The most important object in Boy Scout training is
          to educate, not instruct.” – Robert Baden-Powell

          “The uniform makes for brotherhood, since when universally adopted it covers up all differences of class and country.” – Robert Baden-Powell

          And my 2 cents… the flag should be left as is currently displayed!

        • Try googling about how The Scouting movement itself was started…it is traced back to Robert Baden-Powell’s militarism and in fact has been historically criticized for it’s too-militaristic connotation with respect to the whole flag ceremony and potentially twisted message the boys may receive with what specifically “civic duty” mean. For sure, WAY too many of our people oppressively believe it could entail war, which is exceptionally morally un-straight and mentally un-awake, purposely implanted into young minds to suit special interest—namely, our anti-American bloated profitable MIC taking our nation down today. Seriously T. Wilson, THINK about the words to our National Anthem we shove down our people’s throats, its all about bombs and claiming our “flag was still there” due to those disgusting bombs. We continue to glorify violence for profit. I would love to see BSA stay intact for all the good it does do…..but can tell you firsthand as someone asked to help recruit. The number ONE thing increasingly keeping parents from having their sons join is DUE to a conscious awakening of the nationalism, militarism, imperialism bringing America down today…..and the oppressive myth anyone’s boy could or should go that sinful, psychotic route anymore than anyone’s daughter. There are certain “customs” of the USA of which are self-destructing, unsustainable. We need to take the marketing myth out that anyone has or could ever “die for our flag” or “freedom”…..before people will want to continue to have their sons or daughters “respect the flag” so to speak. There is nothing pro-American about waving our freaking flag around and claiming some “civic duty” to the dam thing. Have the boys pledge an allegiance to the world, to themselves, to “do their best” to be kind, gentle, caring, and not fall submissive in mind, body and soul to the unhealthy sense of supremacy or believing USA “owns the world” we’ve all been conditioned with. Take another look at the picture that was posted with this article….try to convince yourself there is nothing too militaristic with this picture. Time to move our people away from our glorification of war…..and stop calling those victims of violence “heroes”. It only insults their lives, the truth, our nation, our people….it insults reality itself. You are wrong if you think the CT school shooting and Safeway shooting were not both 100% directly related to our military mindset, that both of those young men were not negatively influenced by this. In the former case, they were his mother’s military weapons, she took him to shooting ranges (something BSA should NOT do anymore), he was addicted to some violent “Call of Duty” video game that carry’s the oppressive myth war is a “duty to country”, in the latter, he was approached by unethical military recruiters at college and that caused the emotional pollution. If we start target marketing Barbie dolls to girls dressed in fatigues jumping into their army trucks, perhaps have one of the Barbie dolls legs blown off, and label the toy “True Hero” we’d start seeing young women committing as many violent acts. Marketing is a powerful weapon, and BSA is doing its share of negative marketing with its marching, saluting, “civic duty” message.

      • “I’m willing to bet that 99.5% of American parents don’t come anywhere close to putting that much thought into Scouting, the Military, social/political expectations” EXACTLY Mikemenn….that’s precisely my point! Too many people remain apolitical, the “A” in that word standing for apathetic. A blind, uneducated “obedience” to believing in our self-destructive wars as some form of “service” to nation. What helped me is traveling to every continent in the world, and actively listening to what people have to say about US Foreign Policy. Wake up!

      • @Openeyed… I Googled “Boys Scouts History Military” and found nothing about it being historically criticized for “it’s too-militaristic connotation”… I did find this; “On the issue of militarism and Scouting, Baden-Powell said he had seen enough of war and that ‘…the boys should be kept away from the idea that they are being trained so that some day they might fight for their country. It is not war Scouting that is needed now, but peace Scouting'”.

        What “twisted message the boys may receive with what specifically “civic duty” mean. [sic]” do you refer to? I see nothing twisted in making sure you vote and know your representatives.

        “WAY too many of our people oppressively believe it (a flag ceremony) could entail war”… I have to be reading your comment incorrectly as I have never heard 1 person (nor “WAY too many”) ever equate a Boy Scout flag ceremony to readying children for war. Make whatever military equivolence you want, but I would strenuously argue the number of people that feel that way are in a super-minority.

        While I disagree with most of your comments, I will not flat out dismiss your thoughts. For the sake of decency, please do not dismiss mine and state that I am “wrong if you think the CT school shooting…”. I wasn’t there nor had any contact with any party involved. I suspect the same for you. For you to make as absolute that it was “100% directly related to our military mindset” seems oppositional to your “open mindset” theme you’ve been putting forward. I’ve read quite a bit about that incident. I’ve read not one report that firmly and directly attributes 100% (or 5% for that matter) of the cause on anything military. Yes, the kid played Call of Duty. It’s a horribly violent and evil (in my opinion) game. I do not let my kids near it. I do not believe any branch of the current US military (or MIC for that matter) endorses that particular video game as it is not close to anything “realistic”. I’m pretty sure the BSA doesn’t endorse it. His mother was never in the military and the weapons used were not his “mothers military weapons”. Granted the Bushmaster he used can be modified for combat use, but the specific weapon itself would not see the inside of a military shooting range, much less a battlefield. I do not understand where you can attribute “100%” fault to a “military mindset”. None of the official reports say a word about any such link. Mental illness (non-military related) was attributed as the primary cause.

        Anyhow, this has gotten way too far off topic. The flag is our national symbol and I will continue to teach my boys to respect the flag without any references to a Military-Industrial Complex.

    • When I first crossed from Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts, in 1971, my BSA Handbook contained the statement, “My body strong to fight your battles.”

    • Wow, you’re joking right. Though in fairness I’m sure my Pack of Cub Scouts could successfully invade and hold most third world countries….Hard to type I’m laughing so hard.

      • Ugh, Cubmaster. NOOOO. We’ve been trying to ignore this guy who posted over 2 months ago and now you’ve opened up the proverbial can of worms again. So…. here it comes all over again.

        Learn from the web: don’t feed the trolls! 🙂

  11. Maybe you should read some more Gene Hart….learn about the American Culture that is destroying itself. Be a little more pro-American and realize there are changes we need to make…now, in order to prosper. I bet you think our biggest issue is “jobs and the economy”. Not quite….that issue is a mere symptom of our biggest issue, which you can see on great display within the budgetary pie at notmypriorites.org. Go ahead, make my day, check it out. Use your thinking cap. See the tiny slivers of pie dished out for “jobs and economy” in RIGHT direction, rather than our exploding so called “defense” budget?,

    With millions of Americans employed in the so called “defense” sector? If you really believe it has something to do with “defense”….you have no clue about what is transpiring in the world and our pivotal role in it. America has been sponsoring “terrorism” for decades, and there is nothing negative about saying so, its reality.

    Countries we once thought of as so “aggressive” or “oppressive” such as Germany and Japan now rank 15th and 5th most peaceful nations respectively in the world compared to USA slipping down to 88th, and even hitting 110th…., and its certainly not due to us “defending them” as misleading data would have us think. USA today, around the world, is being compared to Nazi 37. Time to stop our glorification of military, and teach kids there is nothing cool about being cowards hiding behind bombs and bullets.

    Try starting with the book “The American way of War” by Eugene Jarecki, learn how we’ve always taken our nation to war for entirely spurious reasons. Educate yourself on the truth. It will do your soul some good. Why do you think five of our founding fathers became highly anti-war,after their own horrific mistakes? They learned. “America will never we destroyed from the outside. If we falter, if we loose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves” – Abe Lincoln-

  12. Is there any real reason for these comments to be on this forum? Perhaps you two should do something more productive on some other forum. When you loose focus of the boys in scouting, you are just off task.

      • Kelly’s remark likely refers to such comments of which Dave B insightfully pointed out as “childish”…using terms such as “stupid” or saying anyone on this thread are “in prison”, While there is nothing “productive” about comparing a Boy Scouts (or Girl Scouts, makes no difference) uniform with that of our victims of violence, a soldier, there is much value and goodness associated with the comments I’ve made to help create awareness about the number one reason BSA is having difficulty recruiting more families in increasingly more and more pockets of America today—because of this militarized connotation which does not belong in the organization, as MANY families are realizing that “morally straight” and “mentally awake” means thinking outside the box of what we’ve all been conditioned to believe is so alluringly American. Even the callous, outmoded political jargon using the term “served” when referring to any military combat is advocating violence we as a nation need to “do a good turn daily” & move away from. As a Den leader myself this year, that is the biggest obstacle standing in the way of wise parents thinking twice about moving onto Eagle Scout. As you mentioned mikemenn, 95.5% of parents “dont’t think” so deeply into the political/economic/social issues motivating anyone to show oppressive pictures of solders next to a Scout. You fell right into the exact message I try to convey here. Our media keeps people misinformed rather than what people think it does, as CNN, Fox, ABC and most every “news” channel is owned by one of 3 huge war profiteering giants purposely keeping you programmed like robots. So carry on comparing that American flag soaked in innocent blood with that of the Scouts…..continue being morally unstraight. If I can help change the consciousness of just one person….it could spread to many. That’s “productive”. Not into name calling, but listen to Cranberries song “Zombie”. A profound message lies in the lyrics.

  13. This Backwards Flag Patch stands for the OPPOSITE of what America represents, LIFE, LIBERTY and Pursuit of Happiness. It is a ANTI-AMERICAN PATCH. Reverse American Flag patches/stickers represent the Opposite Symbolic Meaning!!

    Be a real American and oppose this brainwashed atrocity that has many fooled by using the “blowing in the wind” story, save it for a real flag!! HONOR YOUR COUNTRY and preserve the high standards and morals we hold our country’s flag to!

    • Ed, it is getting weird. But Dareck’s comments need to be removed, not the thread closed. And some of us old folks don’t know to leave Trolls alone which just fans the flames. ugh. :<

  14. You people here (some) are honoring a backwards American flag? THIS is what’s wrong with America, people who worship their flag backwards and don’t have any problem with it as long as they know the wind story behind it. I wouldn’t wear it. I don’t represent a backwards America and I don’t Ban people or call them trolls when I don’t know how to argue something. Typical, name calling, change the subject….. I can’t help your brain hurts when someone tells you something that makes common sense when you take into play design and meaning of symbols etc, which other countries do this? Refrain from the name calling and debate like an adult.

  15. Dareck, et al – you have all made a mockery of this question/debate. How about a little compassion when listening to other’s opinions? How about simply stating that I understand but don’t agree? This debate has gone on far too long and gone down hill almost since day one. And just because the Military has a tradition or wears a uniform in a particular way doesn’t mean either we as Scouts have to or that the military is “backwards”.

    • The only thing “backwards” is our unsustainable culture of being such the unbrave nation hiding behind bombs & bullets & believing there is even a REASON to HAVE military…as well as the primitive notion a Boy Scout would or should be part of such oppression more than any Girl Scout. There shoul not even BE a concern what the dam flag looks like. Typical indoctrination of blind “obedience” to violence

  16. If anyone should know about patches it should be the scouts!!
    –Don’t confuse wearing a backwards flag to represent your country with a true historic story of following a flag into battle–however true that is–Patch design and meaning and historic stories are 2 different things. You’re wearing the backwards flag under the guise of a true story-AND FALLING FOR IT

  17. This Backwards Flag Patch stands for the OPPOSITE of what America represents, LIFE, LIBERTY and Pursuit of Happiness. It is a ANTI-AMERICAN PATCH. Reverse American Flag patches/stickers represent the Opposite Symbolic Meaning!!
    The scouts of all people should know about patch design!!! Where are your morals?

    • Guys, guys. This guy is an internet Troll. Here’s the definition:

      “An Internet slang, a troll is a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people, by posting inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community (such as a forum, chat room, or blog) with the deliberate intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.”

      Stop feeding him. Ignore him. This is part of the internet. Don’t bother to reply to him. When you do, that’s exactly what he wants.

  18. Mike-
    Shut the front door, be a real American!! Oppose the filthy wind story and display your country’s flag correctly or don’t wear it at all and get court marshaled for not wearing your country’s flag backwards.. Typical backwards America–regardless of regulations, be a man and stand up for what’s right!!!

  19. So if the military patch is moving like into battle. What does the regular positioned patch says on a scout uniform. Resting?

    • How oppressive a question to even ask, reflective of how our violent culture for profit only & unsustainable military mindset has been so ingrained into the average Joe brains of the American people… One thinks type question can be “the norm”. As if a Boy Scout would be a “soldier” any more than a Girl Scout or “Ms USA” for that matter? Certainly no Scout raised mentally awake & morally straight as well as in touch with reality of political/economic model at drivers seat bringing USA down today . It’s a flag people, like every other flag in the world. Nothing to do w/our needless battles

  20. Aside from temporary armbands and such, members of the US military didn’t wear any US Flag patch on their uniform until the 1990’s when they began serving alongside A LOT of foreign services in the former Yugoslavia (more on that in a minute).

    Our local Sheriff Dept. wears a flag patch on the right breast opposite their badge, it is oriented with the canton upper left. Our local PD does not wear a US flag patch. I don’t know what our local FD wears. All of our local Veteran’s Organizations have “flipped” their patches to be canton forward since the Army made their change. But understand that ONLY the US Army and some air crew of other services wear the flag as part of their standard field/utility/combat/camouflage uniform.

    I was a Marine Reservist for 23 years, for 20 of those years we shared a drill center with a US Army Reserve unit. During the peacekeeping missions in the former Yugoslavia that Army unit was on a 1-year rotation; 1/2 the unit was home drilling, the other 1/2 deployed. After 1 year they would flip. While in the US they wore no US Flag patch, but when deployed they were to put on a “reversed” flag patch. I asked a member who used to date my sister why the “backwards” flag; he told me it was an identification (other nations all wore flags to ID them) and security measure (canton left patches could be bought a lot of places, backwards flags were only from the Army). The paragraph about the flag advancing in the Army Regulations sounds like it was made up after the fact.

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