At first I was all, Sit down, dude:
Visitors to the [US Navy Memorial] today encounter two flagpoles designed to look like ships’ masts, on which 14 signal flags are arrayed in four groups. Each flag represents a letter. Together, they are supposed to spell: U-S-N-A-V-Y-M-E-M-O-R-I-A-L.
Robert Royer is a lawyer and a yachtsman, a terrible combination as far as memorial officials are concerned. He says the flags represent a classic example of low seafaring standards. Mr. Royer, picking a fight with the Navy memorial officials, says at sea the flags would be read as codes, not letters.
Indeed, there are several different ways to read signal flags. “Vomiting is present. Man overboard,” the flags on one yardarm would read. M-E-M is the signal for vomiting. O means someone has fallen into the sea.
…but then I decided that everybody needs a hobby. Robert Royer’s is going to the US Navy and nagging them about their signal flags, which I suspect comforts the US Navy on some hidden level. Somebody still cares about this! Tradition is not dead! I figure that this is why they won’t change the flags; if they do Robert won’t come around to complain any more, and they’ll miss him.
Or something. I’m running around right now. I don’t even know where I saw this first.