VFW 7764 decided not to post the flags for the Fourth of July this year due to a weeklong forecast of inclement weather. According to Post Commander Ronnie McCall, 7764 flag protocol is that flags are not to be posted in the rain. If flags get wet while posted, they require enough drying time to prevent mildew when stored.
Widespread rain was predicted for Saturday, July 2, through Thursday, July 7, 2022, with percentages tapering off toward the weekend.
“Since many of our members still have day jobs, it is difficult to round up enough people on a moment’s notice when the rain breaks (and the sun is out long enough to dry them) to collect the flags and store them,” McCall said. “It’s about an hour and a half operation, and if we get caught in a rainstorm with the flags in the trucks, we have to put them back out to dry or put them somewhere unfurled to dry. We don’t have space to unfurl 155 flags to dry. In addition, a wind and rain combination is really hard on the flags. I currently have tree limbs blown down in my yard that are piled up to be removed due to 26 mph winds three days previous to our posting date. We recently replaced 35 flags due to strong winds and rain during previous postings when no inclement weather was expected. We have at least 50 flags that are worn significantly and would certainly have to be replaced if posted and the predicted weather occurred. Bear in mind that flags have been in short supply in the last year due to COVID, and we are replacing them at a rate of about 25 at the time when we can get them.
“With that in mind, I decided not to post the flags. The damage that might have occurred and the fact that it would be difficult to get enough post members together on a moment’s notice to get them in quickly during a break in adverse conditions impacted the decision.
“I told Quartermaster Ronnie Thomas in advance that I am batting zero in these kinds of decisions. Regardless of the predicted weather conditions, Mother Nature is determined to remind me that she is in charge. In the 1980s we had two hurricanes brush through the area two years in succession with heavy rains during football season. When the first storm approached, we decided on Thursday morning to postpone the Reidsville High School Friday night game until the following Monday to give fans plenty of advanced notice. The weather was beautiful on Friday and Saturday night, and we played in a driving rainstorm on Monday. The following year when another storm approached, we decided to play the game on Friday night, and we had eight inches of water on the southeast corner of the field. At halftime we counted nine spectators in the stands.
“But, in retrospect, we should have put the flags out. We need the rain.”