In Washington, the U.S. Navy Memorial recently got a flag make over but leaves some onlookers skeptical and unimpressed.
The National Park Service recently decided that the U.S. Navy Memorial needed some dressing up. Officials decided to fly signal flags, which are a very colorful symbol but an archaic form of ship-to-ship communication.
When visitors enter the military memorial, they are presented with two flag poles designed to look like masts from a ship. Flying from the masts are 14 signal flags that each represent a letter of the alphabet. Together all the flags are supposed to spell, “U-S-N-A-V-Y-M-E-M-O-R-I-A-L.”
However, not all witnesses with a nautical background agree with the meaning of the signal flags. Robert Royer, a lawyer and a yachtsman, stepped up and voiced his opinion. Royer believes that a true representation would show the flags at sea, which should read as codes and not letter. For instance, the letter ‘O’ by itself means man overboard and the combination ‘MO’ reads ‘I have struck a shoal.’
Carol Johnson is the spokeswoman for the National Mall and Memorial Parks. She reported that Mr. Royer’s concerns were taken into account, but no changes were made. Johnson said, “It is a memorial, it is not a ship. It’s meant to be symbolic.”
Today there are 51 standard flags that make up the International Code of Signals. These flags include one for each letter of the alphabet, combinations of letters, numbers, and specialized symbols. Click HERE to read a blog post for more information on the Code of Signals and history behind Nautical flags.
Credit: WSJ Online