“On my honor, I will do my best to do my duty…”
By Chris Michlewicz; photos courtesy of Michael Conner
Decades after reading his Boy Scout Handbook, Michael Conner still remembers – and follows to the letter – the rules for flying the flag.
Conner, a Castle Pines resident for 14 years, still has the handbook that imparted those lessons when he was earning his Boy Scout merit badges as a child in the 1970s, including the citizenship badge. He recently shared photos of the handbook and its contents with his neighbors via social media, and spoke of his respect for properly handling the stars and stripes. The post generated about 150 comments, the vast majority of them positive.
Conner has been flying the 13-star Betsy Ross flag outside his home for the past year, dutifully placing it in its post in the morning, taking it down in the evening, and bringing it inside during inclement weather, per the rules.
The former Air National Guardsman owns eight American flags, three of them flyable. He has another five that he won’t or can’t fly, including two that have been flown over the U.S. Capitol. They came from family friends Ed Pease (Conner’s lifelong advisor and mentor) and John Myers, both of whom served in the U.S. House of Representatives.
In all, Conner owns a total of about 25 flags, and although some tend to spark a lot of public discussion these days, Conner has a fun collection of flags to mark each holiday, including Halloween and Valentine’s Day, and an Irish flag to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.
“I’m pretty faithful about it. I’ll fly a Halloween flag, and then when my wife gets out the Thanksgiving decorations, I get out the (flag) with the corn and everything else on it,” said Conner, who says his wife thinks his hobby is “kind of cute.”
Conner also has a Jolly Roger pirate flag, an Ontario provincial flag and a Colorado “Don’t Tread on Me” flag. His consistency in flying a flag outside his home daily has started a trend on his street, and Conner’s social media post was intended to teach others about some of the etiquette that governs flying the U.S. flag. Conner, a married father of a son, considers himself a “traditions guy” and said he’s happy to help his neighbors learn the rules he’s known by heart for nearly his entire life.