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Should the US team dip the flag at the 2012 Olympics' opening ceremonies?I read this LA...

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Jessica Gardner | High School Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted July 26, 2012 at 5:21 PM via web

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Should the US team dip the flag at the 2012 Olympics' opening ceremonies?

I read this LA Times article about the century old tradition of the US Olympic team not dipping its national flag when passing in front of the games' host country's leaders at the opening ceremony. In the past, it seems that this was inspired in the spirit of protest, either on behalf of Irish liberation or in defiance of Nazi Germany. However, the US continues to be one of the only teams that doesn't perform this act of courtesy, even when the games are held in countries it is at peace with (like Australia and Canada).

I doubt that this will change at the opening ceremonies in London tomorrow, but in the spirit of goodwill and humility, should it? Or do you think there is an important message to be upheld here? 

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wannam | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted July 26, 2012 at 6:56 PM (Answer #2)

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I am unfamiliar with this courtesy, but I would argue that the US should follow it.  One idea behind the Olympics is to inspire unity and to allow nations to gather in peace.  I would suggest that we should honor such an ideal by participating in this simple gesture.  While I can understand the past protests, there is certainly nothing to protest between the US and UK.  If this is a practice the US has never followed, I wonder why.  What purpose does it serve to refuse participation?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted July 26, 2012 at 9:42 PM (Answer #3)

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I don't really think it matters.  To me, the idea that the Olympic Games are about peace and international friendship is not really that valid anymore (if it ever was). Today, the games seem to be about nationalism (who wins the most medals) and about making money for sponsors.  I don't see much idealism going on and so I don't really think the flag etiquette matters a lot.

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mwalter822 | Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

Posted July 26, 2012 at 11:30 PM (Answer #4)

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I have never heard of this tradition. To tell you the truth, I wouldn't have much of an opinion either way. If we did dip the flag because it was considered a courtesy I don't think it would reflect badly on us. If we did not, well, we just shouldn't expect anybody to dip to us when the games are held in the US.

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rrteacher | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted July 26, 2012 at 11:47 PM (Answer #5)

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I hadn't heard about it either, except the famous 1936 incident in Berlin. Ultimately, I don't think it's all that important either, though I'm sure that if we did dip the flag, it would become a very big deal among some Americans. Flag etiquette and symbolism are still important to a lot of people in the United States. It strikes me as a non-issue, though. 

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litlady33 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Assistant Educator

Posted July 27, 2012 at 1:38 AM (Answer #6)

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I, too, was unaware of this traditon. It seems to me that the USA has a reputation among other countries for arrogance. Now, some people think that we have a right to be arrogant or proud, and I won't express my opinion on that, but if we continue to refuse to dip the flag, I think our image of arrogance would be upheld.

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literaturenerd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted July 27, 2012 at 7:35 PM (Answer #7)

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I, like the others, had no clue about the tradition. I would hope that the US would uphold the tradition so as to show their support of unity and acceptance.

Given that the US has its own strong traditions with flags, I would hope that they would dip the flag.

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Kristen Lentz | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted July 27, 2012 at 8:45 PM (Answer #8)

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We earned our independence from Great Britain.  If there was ever a year NOT to dip our flag it would be this year!  I realize that the British are now one of our most loyal allies, but it would seem to dishonor all those who sacrificed in the American Revolution to dip our flag... even now.

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etotheeyepi | Student, Undergraduate | Valedictorian

Posted July 27, 2012 at 10:28 PM (Answer #9)

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Maybe the United States should dip its flag in London to say thank-you for the common law, the Magna Carta, the Bill of Rights, and the epistemology of John Locke

Ravi, my mother's boyfriend, says we should also thank you for Scotch Whisky.

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted July 28, 2012 at 5:21 AM (Answer #10)

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Since England is purportedly our ally and the U.S. has come to its aid on countless historical occasions, it seems fitting that respect be shown England, even if it is not what it once was--neither is America.

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