The American flag is one of the most significant symbols in military culture. More than a symbol of freedom and liberty, a rising flag is a marker of territory, a proclamation of victory, and a symbol of resistance. Thus, it is not surprising that the red, white, and blue symbol and the metal pole on which it stands are the subjects of military lore.
According to folklore, in order to protect the flag from falling into enemy hands should the world spiral into war, either the last remaining soldier or a courageous volunteer must destroy the Old Glory and provide her with a proper burial.
According to many believers, the items to complete the task are already hidden near the flag.
First, the soldier has to scale the flagpole and reach the golden sphere on top called the final ball or the truck.
A razor blade, a match, and a bullet can be found inside the golden ball. The soldier must then use the edge to cut the stars and stripes off the flag and burn the remains to the ground with the match. Finally, the bullet must be employed to defend yourself against the enemy or take one’s own life, depending on the circumstances.
Several other versions also claim that the truck contains a set of instructions, a pistol, food provisions, or even a single penny so America will never truly be insolvent.
However, even though this knowledge is considered a sentimental bit of lore, it is also wildly impractical.
First, if a base is being attacked, the military has much bigger problems than the flag, and the station’s top Commander will most likely need all available manpower to counterattack, as the military Code of Conduct orders all soldiers to resist the enemy as long as possible.
According to journalist David Mikkelson, while the flag is of significant importance, actually defending the bases has far more direct significance, and tanks, ships, and classified documents are far more critical.
As stated in his article ‘Finial Duty:’ [QUOTE] "It’s hard to imagine any right-minded soldier’s taking time away from his duty of repelling invaders to engage in ritualistic flag destruction."
Finally, only the fittest and healthiest service members would be actually able to climb the metal flagpole, which can reach heights of 75 feet.
Still, hundreds of military members have spread this piece of lore, and the sentimental tale is still believed by many.