Patt Morrison for July 23, 2012

Should ‘Old Glory’ dip during the Olympic opening ceremonies?

Winter Olympics - Opening Ceremony

Getty Images/Getty Images

Team United States lead by Mark Grimmette enters the stadium during the Opening Ceremony of the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics at BC Place on February 12, 2010 in Vancouver, Canada.

At this Friday’s opening ceremonies for the 2012 Summer Olympics, thousands of athletes from 204 countries will parade before throngs of spectators in London’s Olympic Stadium.

As each delegation passes the box where world leaders are seated most countries’ delegations dip their nation’s flag as a show of respect. The American flag, however, has traditionally not dipped — at least not since 1908 when shotputter Ralph Rose refused to lower the staff as he marched in that year’s London Olympics ceremony.

“This flag dips for no earthly king," was the reason given by Rose, but his motivations may not have been so patriotically simple.


Should the American flag be lowered out of respect for the host nation or should it remain upright? Which is more disrespectful, and to whom?


David Wharton, staff writer for the L.A. Times

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