June 14th is one of our favorite holidays – it’s Flag Day!
On this day, we celebrate the date in 1777 when the original United States flag was adopted:
"Resolved, That the flag of the thirteen United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation."
We felt this was a perfect time to raise awareness of the Flag Code, and wrote a blog post to remind us all of what it means to respect the flag.
United States Flag Code
Did you know that there are rules, or rather, a code, on how to treat the US Flag? This distinction in language is important. While the flag code is considered federal law, it is only providing guidelines on the respectful treatment and conduct involving the United States flag. This means that the act of breaking these rules is unenforceable (cases are usually struck down as freedom of speech,) but it is still important to understand these guidelines. Following the code is the most respectful way to honor not only the flag, but more importantly the ideals for which it stands.
Here are a few rules from the US Flag Code that are great to remember:
“The flag should never touch anything beneath it, such as the ground, the floor, water, or merchandise.”
This is a great lesson in simply being respectful and paying attention.
“The flag should never be fastened, displayed, used, or stored in such a manner as to permit it to be torn, soiled, or damaged in any way.”
Even if your neighbor feels like they’re being patriotic by flying a tattered flag behind their truck, that is actually considered to be quite disrespectful … which leads us to the next fact.
“The flag, when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning.”
Yep, that’s right! If you’ve flown your flag to the point where it’s faded or frayed, it’s time to respectfully burn it. The Department of Defense has a great article here, but just remember that many organizations including VFW posts, police stations and Boy and Girl Scouts collect them and then hold flag retirement ceremonies to properly, respectfully destroy them.
During the National Anthem and Pledge of Allegiance, US Military members in uniform perform a military salute, and military members and veterans not in uniform may salute. For those not in the military, men should remove their hat, and everyone should stand at attention facing the flag with their right hand over their heart.
A flag must be hoisted briskly and lowered ceremoniously. It is customary to display a flag only from sunrise to sunset. When displayed at night, it must be properly illuminated.
A question we’ve received a few times here at PatrioticMe is whether or not it’s allowed to wear an item of clothing that looks like the United States flag.
After research, we have found an eloquent answer from the American Legion. “Unless an article of clothing is made from an actual United States flag, there is NO breach of flag etiquette whatsoever. People are simply expressing their patriotism and love of country by wearing an article of clothing that happens to be red, white, and blue with stars and stripes. There is nothing illegal about the wearing or use of these items.”
Join us in celebrating Flag Day today by wearing your favorite flag shirt, but most importantly, by upholding the values for which the flag stands.