History of Dipping the US Flag

Discussion in 'American Flag History' started by esoliz, Feb 7, 2011.

  1. esoliz

    esoliz New Member

    What is the reasoning behind the rule of not dipping the US flag to any person or thing? Does it have any thing to do with the 1936 Olympics?
  2. NAVA1974

    NAVA1974 Active Member

    No, the practice began with the 1908 Olympics. From wikipedia:

    "The flag of the United States had also not been displayed above the stadium before the opening. The United States' flag bearer, Ralph Rose, refused to dip the flag to Edward VII of the United Kingdom in the royal box. However, the flag was later dipped in the collective greeting of the royal family. Martin Sheridan, Irish American Athletic Club member and American team captain, is supposed to have supported Rose by explaining, "This flag dips to no earthly king." It is claimed that his statement exemplified both American and Irish defiance of the British monarchy. However, research has shown that this quotation by Sheridan was first reported in 1952, some 24 years after his death.[4][5] Despite international customs that encourage dipping the flag in respect to heads of state, since 1908 US flag bearers have not done so."

    Nick A
  3. Peter Ansoff

    Peter Ansoff USA Flag Site Admin

    The Wikipedia discussion is apparently based mostly on this 1999 article from the Journal of Olympic History:


    which seems to be a well researched analysis.

    The US flag *is* dipped at sea in response to dips from US merchant vessels and friendly foreign vessels. NAVREGS 1263 says:

    When any vessel, under United States registry or the registry of a nation formally recognized by the Government of the United States, salutes a ship of the Navy by dipping her ensign, it shall be answered dip for dip . . .No ship of the Navy shall dip the national ensign unless in return for such compliment.

    General international custom is for merchant ships to dip their colors to friendly warships. I don't know if US-flag merchant vessels follow this custom -- anyone?

    Peter Ansoff

Share This Page