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Old 11-12-2007, 02:46 PM
R. Dale Flick R. Dale Flick is offline
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S.A.
Posts: 1,573
Default 'Flag Etiquette on DELTA QUEEN/'Snake Flag.'

Steamboating colleagues:
Just catching up with postings on the web. Lance larsen's deleted 'AMIE Call' with references to certain flags/banners etc. on the DELTA QUEEN at present got me to thinking. The DQ, being a vessel under power, is indeed entitled to fly/display a 'house flag' of her present owner being either square or triangular pennant ['pennon']. 'House flags' can/have been flown from the mainmast or another short mast at the bow. Flags by ancient tradition can be: Engisns, Jacks, Rank flags, Pennants, House flags, Burgee, Citations, Signal flags. The American flag's proper position on any vessel is traditionally flown from the stern or a gaff rigged over the stern. American flags can also be flown from other masts, rigging as has been done on the DELTA QUEEN or other river vessels. The rule that no other flag should be flown above the national ensign doesn't apply on a vessel with the stern appearing flag always being in a superior position to any other. The 'Union Jack'--blue field with 50 stars, is always displayed on a forward jackstaff.

A 'celebration' pennant [*pennon] can be very long or trianglular with 'tails' at the end to mark a launching or christening; 'fast trip' or sea voyage, meritorious service etc.

Signal flags representing each numeral and letter of the alphabet are still used today. Modern communications between vessels have in many respects relegated the signal flags to something more for decoration. Yet, there was a day when even a river steamer landing in certain inland ports were expected to be 'properly dressed' with notes being filed at the local Custom House or port captain if one wasn't. A big flap has of late erupted in certain U.S. deep sea ports with foreign flag vessels arriving and refusing to display the American flag in the proper manner.

The mention of the "flag with a snake" flying on the DELTA QUEEN could be solved if we had a picture posted. All I can think is this, possibly, the old 'Gadsen Flag' of 1776 bearing the coiled snake on a yellow field with the saying "Don't Tread On Me." [?] If so, then again there's no real argument.

R. Dale Flick
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