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Port Arthur Public Library
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Port Arthur Public Library
4615 9th Avenue
Port Arthur, Texas
77642
Corner of 9th Ave & Hwy 73
Phone: (409) 985-8838
Fax: (409) 985-5969

The United States Flag:
"Immigrants Wall of Honor" and its Flags

On January 4, 2005 the Port Arthur City Council authorized the "Immigrants Wall of Honor to be relocated next to the Port Arthur Public Library from its previous location behind the Civic Center, where it had been located since 1993.  Port Arthur Resolution # 05-001 authorized this move,  reviews the history behind the monument, and explains why the flag of Italy is the only foreign flag flying at the Wall.  The Wall is located on City property and is maintained by the American-Italian Club of Port Arthur.

Since the Wall's relocation to it's present place next to the library, several objections to the height and position of the flags next to the monument have been brought to us.  Our position is simple: We should follow the laws of the State of Texas and the United States in regard to the display of flags.  If you have read the flag laws and still have any problems with the display, we encourage you to bring your concerns to us.  The relevant sections of code to our display are:

U. S. Code of Statutes: Title 4, Chapter 1 - "The Flag." (contains most of the United States flag regulations).
Texas Code of Statutes: Title 11, Subtitle A, Chapter 3100, Subchapter A - "State Flag General Provisions"

Note that there are often 3 flags on the two flagpoles located at the Immigrants Wall of Honor: The U.S. flag, the Texas State flag, and the flag of Italy (not to be confused with the flag of Mexico, which bears a distinct emblem).  From the observer's perspective (primarily viewed from Hwy 73), the U.S. and Texas Flags are flying on the left (Texas under the U.S.), while the Italian flag is flying to the right (same level as the U. S. flag).

According to Sec. 3100.057(a) of the Texas code, the Texas flag:

(1)AAshould be, from the perspective of an observer, to the left of the other flag on a separate flagpole or flagstaff; and

(2)AAshould not be above the other flag on the same flagpole or flagstaff or on a taller flagpole or flagstaff than the flagpole or flagstaff on which the other flag is displayed.

Also, U. S. Title 4, Ch.1, Sec. 7 code requires for the U. S. flag that:

(c) No other flag or pennant should be placed above or, if on the same level, to the right of the flag of the United States of America,

(g) When flags of two or more nations are displayed, they are to be flown from separate staffs of the same height.

(Note that the first paragraph of Sec. 7 clarifies that "right" in this case is right from the flag's perspective (which is the observer's left).

Since only two flagpoles are present and the U. S. and Texas flags cannot fly on the same pole as the Italian flag, then they must fly on the same pole, which is permitted, provided that the Texas flag fly under the U. S. flag:

U. S. Title 4, Sec 7(f) When flags of States, cities, or localities, or pennants of societies are flown on the same halyard with the flag of the United States, the latter should always be at the peak.

TX Sec. 3100.055(a) If it is necessary for the state flag and the flag of the United States to be displayed on the same flagpole or flagstaff, the United States flag should be above the state flag.

So, in our situation, the flags should fly with the U. S. over the Texas flag, both on the observer's left side with the flag of Italy flying on the right side.  Most of the comments expressed to us about the height of the flags concern the fact that the Italian flag is flying at the same height as the U. S. flag (and perhaps its height in relation to the flag of Texas).  The Texas code does not make any mention of the height of a foreign nation's flag in relation to the Texas flag when flown from separate flagpoles.  However the U. S. code does; in the third sentence of Title 4, Ch.1, Sec. 7(g):

(g) International usage forbids the display of the flag of one nation above that of another nation in time of peace.

Flags of foreign nations are displayed at the same height as the U. S. flag in times of peace.  This is regardless of the particular nation, its location, or the social perceptions of it by United States citizens.  Unless the U. S. is officially at war or some other non-peaceful status with that nation, its flag (if flown at all) should fly on a separate pole, to the left of (observer's right), and at the same height as the United States' flag.

Which is exactly how the flags are currently being flown at the Immigrants Wall of Honor next to the Port Arthur Public Library.