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Giant American Flag Spotted Laying on the Ground Before Obama University Event [Update: School Apologizes, Removes Picture, Then Backtracks]


"The flag should never touch anything beneath it, such as the ground, the floor, water, or merchandise."

Update: ‘Nothing Improper Occurred’: College Spokesman Now Denies Flag Mistreated by Campaign at Obama Event — But Experts Say Otherwise

Today, President Obama is slated to travel to the University of Iowa to campaign in the crucial battleground state. The Obama campaign's "advance team" has been making preparations for the president's appearance since Monday, sources at the university tell TheBlaze.

But no one was prepared for the photo that was taken at the Obama speaking location as the Democratic National Convention wrapped up in Charlotte, N.C.

The photo is of the preparation for the president's speech on the quad of the historic Iowa campus.  In the near distance sits the stately old Iowa Capitol, and sitting on the ground, a gigantic American flag.


The American Flag Code  states clearly that the National Colors should never, ever touch the ground.  Section 8 of the code is entitled "Respect for flag" and notates:

"No disrespect should be shown to the flag of the United States of America; the flag should not be dipped to any person or thing. Regimental colors, State flags, and organization or institutional flags are to be dipped as a mark of honor."

It continues:

"The flag should never touch anything beneath it, such as the ground, the floor, water, or merchandise."

The photo was posted on the University of Iowa's official Facebook page with the caption: "Preparations continue on the Pentacrest for tomorrow's Presidential visit."  The image has sparked outrage and disgust from many viewers.

Others argued that the commenters were overreacting and should give the union labor who staff these events a break.  One annoyed person infers that the flag loses some respect when it is "made by little children in Asian countries making pennies a day."


As per protocol, the Obama campaign has been in charge of the preparations for the speech, according to officials at the University of Iowa. However, at the time of publication, we had not heard back from the Obama campaign about whether the work to place the flags was contracted out. Visible in the picture is a forklift, a clear security perimeter and other various professional equipment. Also seen in the photo are what seem to be many workers milling about.

Flag code is comprised of a strictly enforced set of official regulations not to be trifled with. The preamble for the code states that there are harsh criminal penalties associated with violating or willfully disrespecting the American flag.  The only exception is if there had been an executive order allowing a violation. The order must be in the form of a presidential proclamation.

"The laws relating to the flag of the United States of America are found in detail in the United States Code. Title 4, Chapter 1 pertains to the flag; Title 18, Chapter 33, Section 700 regards criminal penalties for flag desecration; Title 36, Chapter 3 pertains to patriotic customs and observances. These laws were supplemented by Executive Orders and Presidential Proclamations."

UPDATE: The University of Iowa has just released this statement via Facebook and removed the original photograph:

After further outcry, the university attempted to clarify:

Follow Benny on Twitter @Bennyjohnson

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