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What’s Really Inside The Gold Ball On Top Of Military Flagpoles?
Picture this: International diplomacy fails, and the world spirals into war. Foreign armies invade America, dealing crushing blows, and you are the only person left to defend your base. Weapons are scant, but you need to keep Old Glory from falling into enemy hands. What do you do?
It’s simple. Scale the flagpole. At the top sits a little golden sphere — the finial ball. Inside is a razorblade, a match, and a bullet. You must use the razor blade to cut the stars and stripes from the flag, the match to burn the remains, and the bullet to defend the base or shoot yourself … depending on the circumstance.
At least, that’s what the legend says. And you’ll be hard pressed to find a service member who hasn’t heard that story.
The boring truth is that the finial ball is there for pole maintenance.
“Their purpose is to ornament solid flagpoles and keep water out of hollow ones,” according to Snopes. “A number of military flagpoles were at one time topped with gold-colored eagles, but these proved impractical because flags would become hopelessly entangled on them during high winds; the switch to spheres eliminated this problem.”
Despite how logical that sounds, all kinds of rumors about the contents of the ball continue to swirl across the services.
Some say instead of a razor blade, there is a single grain of rice meant to give a soldier strength to burn the flag and take his or her own life. Others suggest there is a penny, so America will never truly be insolvent.
In truth, if you find yourself alone, overcome by foreign fighters on American soil, the odds of being able to perform this flag protection ritual are highly unlikely. And it’s probably worth noting that capturing the flag isn’t exactly how nations win wars.
The FBI is treating the recent shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida, as a terrorist attack, several media outlets reported on Sunday.
"We work with the presumption that this was an act of terrorism," USA Today quoted FBI Agent Rachel Rojas as saying at a news conference.
WASHINGTON/SEOUL (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump said on Sunday that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un risks losing "everything" if he resumes hostility and his country must denuclearize, after the North said it had carried out a "successful test of great significance."
"Kim Jong Un is too smart and has far too much to lose, everything actually, if he acts in a hostile way. He signed a strong Denuclearization Agreement with me in Singapore," Trump said on Twitter, referring to his first summit with Kim in Singapore in 2018.
"He does not want to void his special relationship with the President of the United States or interfere with the U.S. Presidential Election in November," he said.
The three sailors whose lives were cut short by a gunman at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida, on Friday "showed exceptional heroism and bravery in the face of evil," said base commander Navy Capt. Tim Kinsella.
Ensign Joshua Kaleb Watson, Airman Mohammed Sameh Haitham, and Airman Apprentice Cameron Scott Walters were killed in the shooting, the Navy has announced.
The Pentagon’s troop deployment denials means nothing when the White House screams ‘fake news’ all the time
The Pentagon has a credibility problem that is the result of the White House's scorched earth policy against any criticism. As a result, all statements from senior leaders are suspect.
We're beyond the point of defense officials being unable to say for certain whether a dog is a good boy or girl. Now we're at the point where the Pentagon has spent three days trying to knock down a Wall Street Journal story about possible deployments to the Middle East, and they've failed to persuade either the press or Congress.
The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday that the United States was considering deploying up to 14,000 troops to the Middle East to thwart any potential Iranian attacks. The story made clear that President Trump could ultimately decide to send a smaller number of service members, but defense officials have become fixated on the number 14,000 as if it were the only option on the table.
This article originally appeared on Business Insider.
SIMI VALLEY, Calif. – Gen. David Berger, the US Marine Corps commandant, suggested the concerns surrounding a service members' use of questionable Chinese-owned apps like TikTok should be directed against the military's leadership, rather than the individual troops.
Speaking at the Reagan National Defense Forum in Simi Valley, California, on Saturday morning, Berger said the younger generation of troops had a "clearer view" of the technology "than most people give them credit for."
"That said, I'd give us a 'C-minus' or a 'D' in educating the force on the threat of even technology," Berger said. "Because they view it as two pieces of gear, 'I don't see what the big deal is.'"