If you are thinking of flying a frayed version of Old Glory, think again, because Rosemary Reder might just give a stern admonishment.
A recent transplant to Brevard, Reder, the Emily Post of American flag etiquette, has spent her lifetime educating people around the country on the proper way to treat the American flag.
"People have to respect the flag," she said.
She founded the American Flag Society to fan the flames of patriotism while simultaneously instructing the public on the rules of flag etiquette.
"Ms. Reder spends countless hours volunteering her time to share information about the American flag with her community and communities around the United States," the 11th architect of the United States Capitol Stephen Ayers said in a statement.
Ayers orchestrated flying a flag over the Capital honoring Reder and the American Flag Society on Veterans’ Day, 2010.
Reder believes her community spirit is in her blood.
"My family always had big hearts, and we were very patriotic," said the Long Island native who studied hospitality at Cornell University before combining a career in the hospitality industry with service in the United States Coast Guard.
After her father suffered a stroke, Reder took over the family business, which included running several stores, including military surplus outlets. It was here that the Coast Guard connection began.
"Because we had so much maritime stuff, members of the Coast Guard became frequent visitors to borrow some items," Reder said.
One particular representative suggested over and over that Reder consider becoming a "Coastie" until Reder eventually agreed. Her service led her to 19 duty stations from the Atlantic to the Pacific. As a logistics expert, she managed property, purchasing and personnel.
Eager to see the American flag receive the respect it deserves, Reder began speaking to groups on flag etiquette, programs that took her everywhere from West Point and Walter Reed Hospital to Lord & Taylor in New York City and schools across the country.
She would routinely conduct flag patrols around her communities, occasionally with a television station crew in tow, to pinpoint tattered American flags that she would replace for free. Reder also helped during the inaugurations of Presidents Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, and both Bush father and son.
"She is an example that all should follow as citizens of the United States," Ayers added.
For more information, go to americanflagsoc.org.