Monday, May 20, 2024

Year-round courthouse flags placed on seasonal holiday schedule

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The colorful flags that have surrounded the Hood County Courthouse on a year-round basis will now be placed on a seasonal holiday schedule following a unanimous vote by the Hood County Commissioners Court April 23.

Phil Harris, president of the Sons of the Republic of Texas (SRT) David Crockett Chapter, spoke to the commissioners early last week regarding the weather damage on several of the flags.

"Some time ago, we started with 80 flags around the courthouse,” he said. “The most destructive item for flags is the weather. It doesn't take long for a very nice flag to look like a tattered old flag that needs to be retired — and that's where we are today.”

Back in March 2023, the Hood County Commissioners Court unanimously decided to extend the period in which American flags will be displayed around the courthouse after Hood County Judge Ron Massingill noted how nice it is to see flags there — especially with the new lighting that was put in place. He noted he would like to see flags at the courthouse year-round except at Christmastime when holiday decorations are in use.

With the exception of a two-month break for the Texas and CASA flags, American flags were placed around the courthouse year-round last year — leading to many damaged flags.

“We're down to probably 10 or 15 American flags in the basement of the courthouse and maybe half a dozen Texas flags in the courthouse that are still probably in some condition of flying but they're not,” Harris said.

He explained that the new schedule will focus on the front of the courthouse facing the Granbury Opera House, where flags will be up for a nominal 10- to 14-day period around the holidays.

"(The flags will be up) seven or eight days before the holiday and then three days after the holiday, we take them down. That way, the public coming into town can see, ‘Oh, there's something coming up. I wonder what that is.’ ‘Oh, that's Memorial Day.’ ‘That's Fourth of July,’” Harris said. “We're going to propose that for four holidays.”

The four-holiday schedule is listed below:

  • 20, each year– install Texas Flags for Texas Independence Day, remove March 6 (SRT and Texas Heroes Foundation).
  • May 16, each year – install American Flags for Memorial Day, remove May 31 (SRT).
  • June 24, each year – install American Flags for Independence Day, remove July 8 (SRT).
  • 1, each year – install American Flags for Veterans Day, remove Nov. 15 (SRT).

Harris said he also has an agreement with the Texas Heroes Foundation, where the SRT will borrow 12 Texas flags and place them in front of the courthouse around March 2.

“I think it’s a very good idea and I like this schedule here that you’ve got,” Massingill said.

Precinct 2 Commissioner Nannette Samuelson made a motion to approve the schedule for the placement and removal of flags along the sidewalk surrounding the historical courthouse. The motion passed unanimously.

The next item on the agenda referred to County Auditor Stephanie Matlock setting up a nondepartmental budget line allocating $500 each year for the purpose of replacing the damaged U.S. flags.

“You’re saying borrow the flags from the Texas Heroes Foundation, so you’ve got the Texas flags covered. What you need is just the American U.S. flags?” Massingill asked Harris.

“Yes, and because the flags are only up about 10 days at a time instead of 365 days a year, I expect the life of flags to be much improved,” Harris said. “My view is $500 is kind of a max — up to $500. We want to buy American-made sewn cotton flags that will look good in front of the courthouse.”

Harris said he is going to take an inventory of the flags that are in the basement and make note of which ones are usable.

“I’d like to start with 12 brand new flags, and put the other flags in reserve,” he said. “We have somewhere between 10 and 12 flags in the basement where the condition is unknown.”

Harris requested the county purchase the flags for the courthouse, noting the 3-by-5 flags normally cost between $35-$45 each.

"There's at least half a dozen American makers in the United States that make good flags,” he added.

Samuelson made a motion to direct the county auditor to set up a nondepartmental budget line allocating $500 each year for the purpose of replacing damaged flags. The motion passed unanimously.