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dccorpsfan

Question about Flag Presentation

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I know that a presentation of the national colors was mandatory once upon a time and corps would use other flags too (Their sponsors, their state, ect.); but what did they do with the flags after the shows got into full swing? Was there somewhere for the honor guard to set them down or did they just continue to march around with them somewhere off the field?

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The answer to this isn't as simple as it sounds, because the rules changed a few times over the years ... as did the organizations that enforced the rules (local circuits vs AL vs VFW vs DCI vs DCA vs RCA ad infinitum).

My simplified (believe it or not), hybrid explanation:

For most of my experience (late 60s to 1976), the Colors Section required at least 2 members comprised of the National Flag and someone carrying a weapon (rifle, sabre, pistol). Under some rules, a Sponsor Flag (AL, VFW) was also required. This sometimes required an additional weapon, but mostly not. The Flags were never abandoned -- translation: they were carried in a sling or posted with the bearer directly behind.

In a lateral line, the National Flag was always to the right of all other flags (measured by the direction of its bearer), and the weapon had to be within a certain distance at all times (I believe it was 4 feet front-back-side, and never separated unless by another weapon, but don't have quick access to any rule books right now). In addition to the lateral line rule, there was also a forward-back rule, which meant the National Flag always had to be in front of (or in an equal line to) all other flags, measured laterally.

Finally, the National Flag could be no lower than any other flag on the field at any time, and could be of equal height. This measurement changed from "when in use," (meaning that the tallest member of the guard had to bear the flag or use a taller pole within spec size) to "when measured at posting," which opened up the world of flag work to tossing, arm extentions, etc.

Keeping all this in mind, the Colors Section could only remain stationary for certain amounts of time, and marking time was usually a requirement of that. This meant that the Colors Section had to stay within the boundaries of the fields or floor and move from corner to corner (or wherever) without violation of the side-to-side and front-to-back lateral lines by members of the Flag Line marching and turning directions all over the place. The "safest" positions were facing diagonally into a corner (no flags could get in front or to the right) or facing forward along the sideline in a position furthest right along the boundary (no flag could get to the right). Changing directions when a Sponsor Flag was in presence was a bit tricky, and usually required column or pivot moves.

Every time we designed a new drill (corps or winter / summer guard), we would have a couple of the Timing and Penalties Judges from the local circuits come in to look over everything strictly from a T&P perspective.

I feel like I just channeled my dear and great friends Walter Kelly and John Collum in spelling all this out ... thanks for helping me relive this memory!

jo

Edited by JoSaints

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Joanne got it exactly correct!

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Joanne got it exactly correct!

Thanks for the vote of confidence ... I probably edited that posting a dozen times as other tidbits started flooding my brain ...

The brain cells holding all those rules from guard and corps days could really be put to better use at this point of my life! :bleah:

jo

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Very understandable answer to a hard question. It is probably harder to understand for someone who didn't march back then, or see what it was like. I do know that it was a nightmare for the drill writer,....he had to have everything just so, or there would be major penalties.

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Thank you for your answer, JoAnne. As much as I love this country and respect the roots of drum corps; I can see why they got rid of that rule.

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Thank you for your answer, JoAnne. As much as I love this country and respect the roots of drum corps; I can see why they got rid of that rule.

You're quite welcome!

For as much of a pain the rule was, there was still something gratifying about having a color presentation that brought the people in the stands to their feet ... some corps (and guards) treated that section of drill as a throw-away (after all, it was during the "tick" system era), but many of us put as much design effort into the color pre as the rest of the show. Some corps even used "fake" National Flags (i.e. a US flag with a 76 on the blue field with traditional stripes) that could be integrated into the show without violating Flag protocol.

Among the most memorable -- Garfield's peace sign during the VietNam War era ...

jo

Edited by JoSaints

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You're quite welcome!

For as much of a pain the rule was, there was still something gratifying about having a color presentation that brought the people in the stands to their feet ... some corps (and guards) treated that section of drill as a throw-away (after all, it was during the "tick" system era), but many of us put as much design effort into the color pre as the rest of the show.

Among the most memorable -- Garfield's peace sign during the VietNam War era ...

jo

Yes, I've heard of the infamous Cadets peace sign.

Personally, I'd still like to see more flags (national, state, sponsor, titles, ect.) But perhpas there should be a stand for the guard to keep them during the show.

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Very understandable answer to a hard question. It is probably harder to understand for someone who didn't march back then, or see what it was like. I do know that it was a nightmare for the drill writer,....he had to have everything just so, or there would be major penalties.

I was part of the National colour party in my rookie year. We didn't know all the rules and reg's as it were however we did know that while performing either in a parade, an exhibition or competition it was our job to guard the flag. Our guard captain made sure we knew and followed the basics:

1. Never EVER let the flag touch the ground. Ever. Period. No excuses.

2. Never EVER mess up with the drill we were given otherwise WE would be solely responsible for the penalties incurred should a flag or weapon be placed in a compromising position on the field (e.g standing, marching in front of the colour party - laterally).

3. Never EVER step outside the field lines.

4. Never EVER step over the finish line until our guard captain arrived and gave us the command but make sure you got your butt over it before anyone else did.

5. Be proud of the position you're in whether it was carrying the flag or guarding it..... be proud. (that was one she didn't have to teach us.... :) )

It was really very simple - don't break the rules.

The drill for the colour party was also very simple.

Start on the left hand starting line, backfield.

March to the center line, pivot on the center person to face backfield.

When the music for colour presentation started do a 180 pivot to face front and march down the center line to the front sideline.

Stop, execute the present arms. Listen to the crowd appreciation.

When the drum major gives the command pivot towards the finish line and march to about where the 30 yard line is today, pivot to face the front line and halt. Remain there for concert... always keenly aware of the fact that if our feet were not correctly together at the heels we would be responsible for the ticks on the T&P judges sheets......

After concert, pivot once again and march towards the finish line. I think we were allowed to halt at that point and then the captain would arrive just prior to the gun going off and give us the command to get across the finish line before anyone else in the corps proper did.

Do the march past, salute at the appropriate time until past the end of the viewing stands.

I'm old school, I like that kind of stuff. My girls are new school - I like their stuff too. The other thread about Troopers DM showing respect for the flag highlights a segment of this whole drum corps thing that, in my humble opinion, has lost it's way.

That is all.

kel

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Thanks for the vote of confidence ... I probably edited that posting a dozen times as other tidbits started flooding my brain ...

The brain cells holding all those rules from guard and corps days could really be put to better use at this point of my life! :blink:

jo

Marching in all those AL and VFW shows down in Wildwood sure paid off!!! :)

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