Image this: Worldwide diplomacy fails, and the world spirals into struggle. International armies invade America, dealing crushing blows, and you’re the solely particular person left to defend your base. Weapons are scant, however you’ll want to hold Previous Glory from falling into enemy arms. What do you do?

It’s easy. Scale the flagpole. On the high sits somewhat golden sphere generally known as the finial ball. Inside is a razor blade, a match, and a bullet. It’s essential to use the razor blade to chop the celebrities and stripes from the American flag, the match to burn the stays, and the bullet to defend the bottom or shoot your self … relying on the circumstance.

See more: What is the ball on top of a flagpole called

A minimum of, that’s what the legend says. And also you’ll be hard-pressed to discover a service member who hasn’t heard that story.

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However the boring reality is that the finial ball is there for pole upkeep. “Quite a lot of navy flagpoles had been at one time topped with gold-colored eagles, however these proved impractical as a result of flags would change into hopelessly entangled on them throughout excessive winds; the change to spheres eradicated this drawback,” a fact-checking evaluation from Snopes concluded.

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“Their function is to decoration stable flagpoles and hold water out of hole ones,” in keeping with Snopes, which mentioned it was not stunning that the flag was the “topic of legend which brings collectively patriotism, horror, and whimsy in a curious perception that celebrates the bravery of American troopers whereas reminding all that the responsibility anticipated of those warriors is limitless.”

Whereas score the parable as false, Snopes additionally famous that whereas “the flag has nice symbolic significance, defending the bases over which it flies from attacking forces has way more direct and sensible significance, and it’s onerous to think about any right-minded soldier’s taking time away from his responsibility of repelling invaders to have interaction in ritualistic flag destruction.” It’s additionally not believable {that a} soldier would see overrunning enemy troops and take the time to climb a flagpole to retrieve hidden gadgets, the positioning wrote. “Though it is a charmingly romantic little bit of lore, it’s additionally a wildly impractical one.”

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Regardless of how logical that sounds, every kind of rumors in regards to the contents of the ball proceed to swirl throughout the providers.

Some say as a substitute of a razor blade, there’s a single grain of rice meant to provide a soldier power to burn the flag and take his or her personal life. Others recommend there’s a penny, so America won’t ever actually be bancrupt.

In fact, if you end up alone, overcome by international fighters on American soil, the chances of having the ability to carry out this flag safety ritual are extremely unlikely. And it’s in all probability value noting that capturing the flag isn’t precisely how nations win wars.

A model of this text was first revealed on Feb. 9, 2017.

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