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On Sept. 18, with Hurricane Isabel bearing down on the District, Metro commuters weren’t the only ones hanging in the wind. At the Washington Monument, the National Park Service left the 50 American flags that ring the structure to weather the storm at full mast. By Friday morning, the strong winds had ripped many of the flags to shreds. Some were knotted around themselves; others were torn into individual stripes. Mike Buss, a flag-etiquette expert with the American Legion, says that on days with inclement conditions, only weatherproof flags should fly. “There are no civil penalties for breaches of flag etiquette,” Buss says. Vikki Keys, acting superintendent for the Park Service’s National Capital Region, says the agency never considered taking down the flags. A complete set of replacements was in place on Saturday morning. Felix Gillette