Why I ever thought of the Permanent Military Professor program, I will never know.
Last fall Vice Adm. Jeffrey Fowler, the Academy's superintendent, ruled that the American and Brigade of Midshipmen flags were no longer to be marched down the center aisle and dipped before the altar during religious services.Hat Tip Over-the-hill-Spook.
Because his authority is somewhat supreme within the walls of Annapolis, you'd think that would have been the end of the discussion.
But now the flags are back in the chapel and reportedly it is the admiral who has avoided the Protestant services for the past two Sundays.
A spokeswoman for the Naval Academy would not say directly whether Fowler is boycotting the services, which is what advocates of the flag ritual claim, but only that "attendance at religious services is a personal and private matter and is optional for all faculty, staff and midshipmen."
Fowler was unavailable for comment on this story because he was on travel, his spokesman said.
The 11 a.m. Protestant service at the Academy's famous chapel is the only one throughout the Navy where the flag has been incorporated in that way, and there is no authority for it, an Academy spokeswoman told Military.com on Feb. 22.
The practice of dipping the flags before the altar at the Protestant service goes back about 40 years, Academy spokeswoman Deborah Goode said. In a statement issued to Military.com Feb. 22, Goode explained their return somewhat cryptically: "Following continued evaluation, parading and dipping the flags was incorporated back into the 11 a.m. Sunday Protestant services."