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District of Columbia: Our flag deserves some respect too

November 13, 2012|By Richard Simon
  • Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, (D-D.C.), right, is putting pressure on the Pentagon to include the D.C. flag with displays of state flags.
Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, (D-D.C.), right, is putting pressure on the… (J. Scott Applewhite / Associated…)

WASHINGTON—District of Columbia officials are pressing the Pentagon to pay some respect to the D.C. flag and fly it whenever flags of the states are displayed. 

The request grows out of a complaint from a D.C. couple upset that state flags were flown for each of the graduates at a Naval Station Great Lakes graduation ceremony, but not the home flag of their son.

"Our residents have long recognized that if we allow the country to overlook or exclude us from the signs and symbols of equal citizenship, we will retard our progress toward equal citizenship,’’ said Eleanor Holmes Norton, the district’s delegate in the House who took up the cause for the couple.

She said the district has pushed to have a commemorative coin, celebrating native son Duke Ellington, a D.C. stamp, and recently, the Frederick Douglass statue, which will represent the district in the Capitol along with the statues from the 50 states.

The D.C. flag plea is the latest from a district that has long complained that its 600,000 residents pay federal taxes and can vote for president but have a nonvoting delegate in the House and no representation in the Senate -– a gripe that is displayed on D.C. license plates reading "Taxation without representation.’’

Norton is urging the Senate to accept a provision of a House-approved defense bill that would require that the flags of the District of Columbia and the territories be displayed by the armed forces whenever the flags of the 50 states are raised.

There was no immediate response from the Pentagon.

The Department of Defense, according to Norton, has encouraged military departments to display the D.C. flag but left the final decision to discretion of commanders.

"We must ask whether the Department of Defense would leave to the discretion of the services whether to display the flags of our neighbors, Maryland and Virginia, for their men and women of the military,’’ she said.

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Richard.simon@latimes.com

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