The Flag of the
evokes such strong emotion as seeing the flag, either a ceremony
honoring a great event or draped over a coffin as a a sign of mourning
for a hero or loved one.
Its unfurled banner which symbolizes the love and pride that we have as a nation, is a poignant reminder of America's greatness and or fortune to live in a country which values freedom above all else. It signifies the commitment made by our fallen comrades who battled bravely to defend the honor of this sacred emblem - our American unity, our power, and our purpose as a nation. And it exemplifies the devotion of our leaders who continue to uphold its promise of liberty, justice and freedom for all.
Our nation reveres the flag, not out of a sense of unquestioning worship but out of a deep sense of our national heritage. Strengthened by our noble deeds, splendid accomplishments, and untold sacrifices, the flag reflects America's pledge to uphold democracy and work for peach throughout the world. It is America's strength in honor, as dignified in the stars and stripes of the flag, which helps to establish the moral character of our national foundation.
The flag, endearingly referred to as "Old Glory," represents all people of America. We, the people, are America. It is little wonder that the people of America are moved when saluting the flag as it passes by, reminding us that we are a part of this great land. We are "one nation under God."
With Liberty an Justice for All
Even before the American Revolution, flags bearing the familiar red and
white stripes, which symbolize the unity of the original 13 colonies of
America, began to appear. These stripes were later combined with the
British Union Jack to produce the Continental flag that flew over George
Washington's headquarters during the siege of Boston.
Pledge to the Flag
pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the
republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with
liberty and justice for all."
Our National Anthem
The "Star Spangled
Banner" has been designated as the national anthem of the United
States of America. During the playing of the anthem when the flag is
displayed, persons not in uniform should stand at attention facing the
flag with their right hand over their heart. Those in uniform should
begin saluting the flag on the first note of the music, and hold the
salute until the last note of the anthem is played.
Displaying the Flag
When displaying the flag, it is important to
remember certain guidelines of proper flag etiquette. They are:
When the flag is unfurled for display across a street, it should be hung
vertically, with the start to the north or east.
¶ During a time of national mourning, the flag can be flown at half mast by order or proclamation of the President of the United States. When flown at half mast, the flag should be hoisted to the peak for an instant and then lowered to the half staff position. The flag should be raised to the beak before it is lowered at the end of the day. On Memorial Day the flag should be displayed at half mast until noon, then raised to the top of the staff and flown until sunset. Local customs regarding the lowering of company, city, or other flags to half mast are directed by the executive officers of those service areas.
¶ When the flag is used to cover a casket, it should be placed with the stars at the head and over the left shoulder. The flag should not be lowered into the grave or be allowed to touch the ground.
Respect for the Flag
The Flag Code, a national guideline on ways in which the flag is to be respected, states that no disrespect should be shown to the flag of the United States of America. Specific ways in which a flag should not be used, according to the code, are:
¶ The flag should not be
dipped to any person or thing, and can be flown upside down only as a
When lowering the flag, make certain that no part of it touches the
ground. It should be received by waiting hands and arms. To store the
flag, ceremoniously fold it length wise in half, then repeat with the
blue field on the outside. Finally, while one person hold it by the blue
field, another then makes a triangular fold in the opposite end,
continuing to fold it in triangles until only the blue shield shows.
FLYING OUR FLAG
It is proper to display the flag from sunrise to sunset on all days the weather permits. The flag may also be displayed at night if illuminated by a light. But it is even more important to display the flag on national holidays and days of importance, including:
Other days the flag may be flown at half mast may be proclaimed by the President of the United States.
The information on this web page was provided by the:
Guidelines for Display of the Flag
|Public Law 94-344, known as the Federal Flag Code, contains rules for handling and displaying the U.S. Flag. While the federal code contains no penalties for misusing the flag, states have their own flag codes and may impose penalties. The language of the federal code makes clear that the flag is a living symbol. In response to a Supreme Court decision, which held that a state law prohibiting flag burning was unconstitutional, Congress enacted the Flag Protection Act in 1989. It provide that anyone who knowingly desecrates the flag may be fined and/or imprisoned for up to one year. However, the Supreme Court in a 1990 decision that the Flag Protection Act violates the First Amendment free speech protections challenged this law.|
|Important Things to
Traditional guidelines call for displaying the flag in public only from sunrise to sunset. However, the flag may be displayed at all times if it's illuminated during darkness. The flag should not be subject to weather damage, so it should not be displayed during rain, snow and wind storms unless it is an all-weather flag.
It should be displayed often, but especially on national and state holidays and special occasions.
The flag should be displayed on or near the main building of public institutions, schools during school days, and polling places on election days.
It should be hoisted briskly and lowered ceremoniously.
When carried in procession with other flags, the U.S. flag should be either on the marching right (the flag's right) or to the front and center of the flag line. When displayed on a float in a parade, the flag should be hung from a staff or suspended so it falls free. It should not be draped over a vehicle.
When displayed with another flag against a wall from crossed staff, the U.S. flag should be on its own right (left to a person facing the wall) and its staff should be in front of the other flag's staff. In a group of flags displayed from staffs, the U.S. flag should be at the center and the highest point.
When flags of states, cities or organizations are flown on the same staff, the U.S. flag must be at the top (except during church services conducted at sea by Navy chaplains).
When other flags are flown from adjacent staffs, the U.S. flag should be hoisted first and lowered last. It must be on the right of other flags and no other flag should stand higher than it. Flags of other nations should be flown from separate staffs. International custom dictates that flags of different nations be displayed at the same height in peacetime and be approximately the same size. If the flag is suspended outdoors from a rope stretched from a building to a pole, the flag should be hoisted out from the building with the union first. When the flag is displayed other than from a staff, it should be flat or suspended so that it falls free.
When displayed against something, such as a wall, the union should be at the top and to the flag's own right, the observer's left - whether displayed horizontally or vertically.
When displayed over a street or
sidewalk, where it can be seen from either side, be sure the union is to
the north on an east-west street, and to the east on a north-south
street. The same directions apply to a building lobby or corridor
with entrances to the east and west or north and south.
When displayed flat against the wall on a speaker's platform, the flag should be above and behind the speaker with the union on the left side as the audience looks at it (again, the flag's right).
The flag may cover a casket, but should not cover a statue or monument for unveiling. It should never be draped or drawn back in folds. Draped red, white and blue bunting should be used for decoration, with the blue at the top and red at the bottom. On a casket, the union (blue field) should be at the deceased person's head and heart, over the left shoulder. But the flag should be removed before the casket is lowered into the grave and should never touch the ground.
The flag may be flown at half-staff to honor a newly deceased federal or state government official by order of the president or the governor, respectively.
On Memorial Day, the flag should be displayed at half-staff until noon. Whenever the flag is displayed at half-staff, it should be first raised to the top. Lowering from half-staff is preceded by first raising it momentarily to the top.
Other Things Not to Do with the Flag
(Information provided by Kenneth Klee, Americanism Director, Michigan Overseas Veteran Newspaper, April 2003).
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