SAN DIEGO -- Several community members on Monday night wondered why the rainbow flag on the Hillcrest Pride Flag pole did not look right. The rainbow flag, which had been taken down yesterday so the American flag could be flown in honor of Veterans Day, was inadvertently placed on the pole upside down when replaced last night.
While there is said to be no "right side up" to the rainbow flag, traditionally most organizations fly the flag with the red stripe on top.
The Hillcrest Business Association (HBA) maintains the flag and corrected the problem first thing this morning after being alerted about the situation. HBA has partnered with the local Lions Club to ensure that the American flag is flown on major U.S. holidays including Veterans Day, Memorial Day, Flag Day, Independence Day and other days as may be proclaimed by the President of the United States.
After flying the American flag all day yesterday, Lions Club volunteers returned to the pole before dark to remove the American flag and replace it with the rainbow flag, which flies on the pole most days of the year. The volunteers mistakenly flew the purple stripe on top, when traditionally the red stripe goes first.
HBA officials say they are using this error as an opportunity to educate the Lions Club on the significance of the rainbow flag and how the colors are to be properly flown, to prevent this from happening again.
Johnathan Hale, board president of the HBA (and publisher of San Diego Gay and Lesbian News), is currently traveling out of state but worked quickly to ensure that HBA representatives could fix the problem as soon as he was notified.
"We take our responsibility as stewards of this community treasure very seriously and are glad we were able to catch the issue and correct it so quickly," Hale said. "The LGBT community is a vital part of the fabric of the Hillcrest neighborhood and we will continue to ensure that the flag flies proudly - and correctly - on this monument for years to come."
The Hillcrest Pride Flag was unveiled over San Diego Pride weekend in July 2012 and has since become an important gathering point for the community. While it displays the rainbow flag most days of the year, it has been lowered to make way for the American flag, transgender pride flag and the leather pride flag on certain days of remembrance. The transgender flag will replace the rainbow flag on Nov. 20 in honor of Transgender Day of Remembrance.
The rainbow flag was designed in 1978 by Gilbert Baker, a San Francisco artist, and quickly became the prominent symbol of the LGBT community. The original design had eight stripes, with the the hot pink and indigo colors not appearing on most flags anymore. According to several accounts, the flag can be flown with either the red or purple side up as Baker never declared either end as such. However, it is traditionally flown with the red stripe on top.
The Hillcrest-Mission Valley Lions Club has a long history of service to the community and for many years has put American flags along the sidewalks in the neighborhood in honor of major holidays and other special occasions. The club recently partnered with the HBA to fly the American flag on the Hillcrest Pride Flag pole.
Visit the Hillcrest Pride Flag on Facebook HERE.