The Protocol of Patriotism

Wide angle photo of a tattered American flag blowing in the wind over a distant city lit by golden sunset light

With Flag Day (June 14) and the 4th of July coming up, perhaps you’ve considered displaying an American flag at your shop to show your love of country. Research suggests that, just as customers prefer buying locally-sourced or made products, they also like patronizing patriotic businesses.

Two rocking chairs and an American flag in front of a small town antique store
Two rocking chairs and an American flag in front of a small town antique store

But be advised: there are very specific rules you must follow if you choose to fly Old Glory. Here’s a basic rundown of the Flag Code:

  • If flown in a group of flags (with state, local or group flags), the U.S. flag should always be the highest, and should be raised first and lowered last. If flown with the flag of another nation, the flags should never be flown on the same pole, and the flags should be of even height, with the U.S. always to its own right (the viewer’s left).
  • If displayed in a window, the flag may be placed vertically or horizontally, but always with the Union (the stars representing the states) on the viewer’s upper left.
  • The flag should never be used for advertising purposes in any manner whatsoever. It should also not be embroidered on handkerchiefs and the like, printed or otherwise impressed on paper napkins or boxes or anything that is designed for temporary use to be discarded.
  • You may fly your flag at night, provided it is illuminated.
  • Unless you purchase an all-weather flag (nylon), you should bring your flag indoors during inclement weather.
  • Never let the flag touch anything beneath it (ground, floor, water, merchandise)
  • Never place anything on the flag, including letters, insignia, or designs of any kind.
  • Never use it for apparel, bedding or drapery.

When to fly the flag at half-staff:

  • May 15 — Peace Officers Memorial Day: half-staff from sunrise to sunset
  • Last Monday in May — Memorial Day: the flag should be displayed at half-staff until noon
  • September 11 — Patriot Day: half-staff from sunrise to sunset
  • Sunday, usually of week in which October 9th falls — Fire Prevention Week: half-staff from sunrise to sunset.
  • December 7 — National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day: half-staff from sunrise to sunset
  • When the President or your state’s governor proclaims you should

Proper flag dimensions:

20’ pole: 4’ x 6’ flag

25’ pole: 5’ x 8’ flag

30’-35’ pole: 6’ x 10’ flag

40’-45’ pole: 6’ x 10’ to 8’ x 12’ flag

50′ pole: 8’ x 12′ to 10’ x 15′ flag

60′ to 65′ pole: 10’x 15′ to 10′ x 19′ flag

Proper flag disposal:

The Flag Code states that unserviceable flags should be destroyed, preferably by burning. (Note: you do not need to destroy your flag if it touched the ground.) If you burn the flag yourself, do so discreetly so it is not perceived as an act of protest. You can contact your local American Legion chapter, which holds flag burning ceremonies.

A Symbol of Reverence and Gratitude


There are so many phrases that flowers express.

I’m sorry.

Thank you.


Feel better.

I love you.

This is a fact that every florist knows but one that’s not so obvious for consumers who have unlimited gift options for nearly every occasion.

But for the thousands of people who visited graveyards last Monday to celebrate the true meaning of Memorial Day, there was no denying the poignancy of a single rose.


The Memorial Day Flowers Foundation, which started in 2011 with three floral industry professionals handing out 10,000 roses to visitors in Arlington National Cemetery, has exploded in the last four years. Last week, more than 250 organizations, including flower farmers, wholesalers, retailers, non-floral businesses and civic organizations participated in cemeteries throughout the country (see below). Their task: hand each visitor a rose and ask them to place it on the headstone of a fallen soldier to memorialize his or her ultimate sacrifice.

MDFlowers Map

Nicola Parker, CFD, TMFA, the daughter of Staff Sgt. James Frank Whitmore, who served the Air Force for 40 years and passed away in April, became involved in the Memorial Day Flowers effort to work through her grief and to help others do the same. She and her siblings spent Memorial Day handing out 3,000 roses to visitors at the Sacramento Valley National Cemetery.

“I want to thank them with one rose,” she told local news reporter Hayley Guenthner.

Ryan Black, marketing and media director for Jet Fresh Flower Distributors, was among a small group of floral professionals from Miami, Fla., who trekked to Arlington National Cemetery to volunteer. Industry professionals worked alongside 150 cub scouts and boy scouts to distribute more than 100,000 roses.


Volunteers manned Arlington’s entrances, as well as Section 60, a 14-acre expanse where the soldiers from the most recent wars are buried. “This section had the most people visiting,” Black said. “It was very emotional. Tina [his colleague] didn’t make it five minutes before she was in tears.”


The Jet Fresh team was blown away seeing how visitors reacted to receiving a flower.

“It was a very somber occasion, but they were all so appreciative,” he said. “It was amazing to see Vietnam veterans thanking the boy scouts for THEIR service of handing out roses to bring these wonderful people some cheer.”

Click here to see Black’s photos of the event.

Click below to hear Raphael Sogueco, son of the Society of American Florists’ Chief Information Officer Renato Sogueco, talk about his experience with Memorial Day Flowers.



Alabama Florist’s Mother’s Day Arrangements Benefit Local Neonatal Unit

To their surprise (and delight), about 150 mothers in Tuscaloosa, Ala., opened their doors Friday to find a brawny fireman bearing flowers.

Mother's Day Flowers via Fireman

The early Mother’s Day gifts were part of “Celebrate Mom,” a fundraiser to help the local hospital, DCH Health System, purchase beds for its neonatal unit.

Finn & Quinley

Those extra special deliveries came from The Tuscaloosa Flower Shoppe, which donated proceeds from the delivery fee, as well as any tips the fire fighters received. The shop collected nearly $3,000, about half of which were straight donations, said owner Sarah Morrison.

Florist 2.0 caught up with her to learn the logistics of pulling off a holiday fundraiser and why she thinks more florists should follow suit:

KH: For Mother’s Day, when so many florists feel inundated with stress working under the wire, why did you intentionally take on a fundraiser?

SM: Actually, a holiday might be the best time to host a fundraiser. You have more traffic than usual, thus you can raise more money. You need extra drivers for the extra volume, so having volunteers help with deliveries saves you money. And there’s just a lot of excitement associated with holidays, which makes people want to go out and buy flowers. For the past five years, we’ve been doing something similar for Valentine’s Day; it’s called “Hearts on Fire” and it benefits Arts ‘n Autism.

KH: How did you get involved with DCH?

SM: They reached out to me and asked if I’d help them. The choice was a no-brainer.

KH: Why is that?

SM: It feels good to give. And it helps set us apart from the 13 or 14 other florists in town. We’ve acquired several new customers over the years who said they picked us because they appreciated our community and charity involvement.

KH: So logistically, what’s it like to organize a fundraiser on a holiday?

SM: Fun! Really, it is. For the most part, it’s business as usual…so a lot of overtime to fill orders. Yes, most of us came into the shop on Friday exhausted and little cranky. Then we saw the firefighters who we so cheerful and excited to be there. Their energy spread and, sure enough, the rest of us were excited too. Holidays can be hectic, but goodwill balances out the stress.

KH: How did you promote it?

SM: DCH promoted it, which allowed us to keep our marketing costs very low. We mostly used social media. We also sent out a press release through the Chamber of Commerce. As a result, we had four TV news crews come by the shop and there was a story in the local newspaper.

KH: Anything you’d like other florists to know?

SM: I really can’t emphasize enough the benefits of community involvement. Customers like to buy from businesses that lend a helping hand. Some surely ordered their Mother’s Day flowers from us because they wanted to participate in the promotion, but all year, we’ll get new customers who picked us because they remembered our name and that we worked with charities. If anyone wants advice about doing something similar in their own community, they can contact me:

Check out more ways flowers have been used for charity:

Tips for Choosing a Digital Marketing Partner

Choosing the right digital marketing partner can be a difficult task for any small business. There are countless new services launching almost daily and it’s hard to keep up with what really works today for marketing a florist business.

Here are 5 tips to keep in mind when choosing a potential digital marketing firm to work with:

1. Pay attention to what the digital marketing expert says. You don’t want a partner who focuses on keyword optimization, Google algorithm updates, or redesigning your website. While your website needs to be user friendly and aesthetically pleasing, your digital marketing should take a holistic approach. Together, you should be able to develop a plan for clear communication, direct calls to action, and influence your audience.

2. Get a feel for the digital marketing expert’s capabilities. There is more to digital marketing than backlinks. You need to partner with someone who has a wider scope and can think of ways to develop and use apps to reach your goals. For example, a beauty salon may benefit from a booking app that allows customers to quickly and easily make appointments. It makes the process easier for both the business and its customers.

3. Set your own goals. You know your business opportunities, so you are in the best position to set goals. You know who you need to reach, and your digital marketing partner can help you to reach them.

4. Make your expectations clear. Tell your digital marketing partner exactly what you need. Asking for great ideas is vague and lacks meaning while a more focused goal of a booking increase of 10% in Q4 is simple, but specific. Your partner can then tell you whether or not your expectations are realistic.

5. Decide on a method to track progress. It is important to measure progress resulting from digital marketing strategies. You should be able to review campaigns and clearly see the results.