Town’s flags flying against code

By Ryan Cornell

MIDDLETOWN — Town Council recently received a lesson in flag flying.

At its meeting on Monday, council was approached by a trio of representatives from Rolling Thunder’s Winchester chapter in regard to how the flags flying in front of Middletown Town Hall were ordered.

Prior to the meeting, the flags were ordered with the U.S. flag on top, the Virginia flag second and the prisoner of war/missing in action flag third.

But according to federal protocol, the POW/MIA flag should be flown directly below the U.S. flag and above any state flags when flown on a single flagpole.

Rolling Thunder Chapter 1 Vice President Rich Orndorff said they contacted the governor’s office and were told they should follow federal protocol because there are no rules for flying the POW/MIA flag specific to Virginia.

“And the way that the flag is being flown now, we’ve had several veterans approach us and they feel that it is sort of a disgrace to them, to the POWs and MIAs, and that is why we’re approaching you to address this issue right now,” he told the council on Monday.

Federal protocol states that flags should be flown in the following order, starting from the top: U.S. flag, POW/MIA flag, state flag, flags of U.S. territories and military establishment flags. If flown on separate flagpoles, the U.S. flag should always be placed to the right of other flags.

Council members expressed that they were unaware of the federal protocol of flying the POW/MIA flag.

Contact staff writer Ryan Cornell at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or

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