American Flag Week starts June 10
by Rima Austin | June 7, 2018 7:01 am
June 10 through June 16 is National Flag Week and of all the controversies in American History, one of the top ones have been about the American Flag. Arguments have swirled for decades as to the proper handling and treatment of the flag.
President Donald Trump is set to announce National Flag Day, which is June 14. This will be the day that the president urges all Americans to fly the flag. The key word is to “fly” the flag only.
“Wearing the flag on your clothes or as clothing is not right, it’s disrespectful,” says U.S. veteran Paul Poss. “In the Army, we did not even wear an American flag patch.”
Some are not aware that there is a U. S. Flag Code that objects to wearing the American flag as clothing or adornment. While the code cannot be enforced under any law, many see wearing the American flag as clothing as offensive. Since 1923 the U.S. Flag Code has read as follows:
“The Flag Code addresses the impropriety of using the flag as an article of personal adornment, a design of items of temporary use, and item of clothing. The evident purpose of these suggested restraints is to limit the commercial or common usage of the flag, and, thus, maintain its dignity.”
In 1976 however, there was an amendment to the code that allowed American troops, firemen, and policemen and women to wear a flag patch or pin on the left side of their uniform close to their heart. The flag code was created to be followed on a volunteer basis and intended as a guideline to give the flag proper respect.
Here are some basic guidelines for the proper handling of the American Flag during Flag Week and any other time one decides to display the stars and stripes:
- When the flag is hung vertically on a wall, window, or door, the Union (blue section) should be to the observer’s left. When the flag is hung either horizontally or vertically against a wall, the Union should be to the observer’s left.
- In a procession, the American flag should be to the right of any other flag or, if in a line of other flags, in front of the center of that line.
- When displayed from a staff projecting from a building, the union should be at the peak of the staff.
- When the flag is displayed otherwise than by being flown from a staff, it should be displayed flat, whether indoors or out; or so suspended that its folds fall as freely as though the flag were staffed.
- When displayed over a street, the flag should be suspended vertically with the union to the north in an east and west street, or to the east in a north and south street.
- On a platform, the flag should be above and behind the speaker, with the union uppermost and to the observer’s left.
- When displayed from a staff in a church or auditorium, the flag should occupy the position of honor and be placed at the speaker’s right as he faces the audience.
- When the flag is used to cover a casket, the union should be at the head and over the left shoulder.
Hoisting and lowering the flag:
- The flag should be hoisted briskly and lowered ceremoniously.
- When flown at half-staff, the flag should be first hoisted to the peak for an instant and then lowered to half-staff position. It should again be raised to the peak before it is lowered for the day. Half-staff is one-half the distance between the top and bottom of the staff. The flag must be flown at half-staff on all buildings on the death of any officer listed below, for the period indicated:
-For the president or a former president: 30 days from the date of death.
-For the vice president, the chief justice or a retired chief justice of the United States, or the speaker of the House of Representatives: 10 days from the day of death.
-For an associate justice of the Supreme Court, a member of the cabinet, a former vice president, the president pro tempore of the Senate, the majority leader of the House of Representatives, the minority leader of the House of Representatives: From the day of death until interment.
-For a United States senator, representative, delegate, or the resident commissioner from the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico: the flag should be flown in the metropolitan area of the District of Columbia, on the day of death and on the following day; in the state, congressional district, territory, or commonwealth of such senator, representative, delegate, or commissioner, from the day of death until interment.
-For a governor: Within the state, territory, or possession, from the day of death until interment.
Displaying the American flag on a vehicle:
- The flag should not be displayed on a float except from a staff, nor draped over the hood, top, sides, or back of a vehicle.
- When the flag is displayed on a vehicle, the staff should be fixed firmly to the chassis.
Displaying the American flag alongside other flags
- In the United States, no other flag should be placed above the American flag or, if they are to be placed on the same level, to the right of the American flag.
- The United Nations flag may not be displayed above or in a position of superior prominence to the United States flag except at United Nations Headquarters.
- The flag, when displayed with another against a wall—both from crossed staffs—should be on the right (the flag’s own right), and its staff should be in front of the other staff.
- The American flag should be at the center and the highest point when displayed with a group of state flags.
- When flags of states, cities, etc., are flown on the same halyard, the American flag should be at the peak.
- When flags of two or more nations are displayed, they are to be flown from separate staffs of the same height, and the American flag should be hoisted first and lowered last.
How not to display the American Flag
- The flag should not be dipped to any person or thing, including government officials—even the president.
- The flag should never be displayed with the union (stars) down, save as a signal of dire distress.
- The flag should never touch anything beneath it, such as the ground, the floor, water, or merchandise.
- The flag should never be carried flat or horizontally, but always aloft and free.
- The flag should never be fastened, displayed, used, or stored so that it might be easily torn, soiled, or damaged in any way.
- The flag should never be used as covering for a ceiling.
- The flag should never have anything placed on it.
- The flag should never be used for any advertising purpose, nor embroidered on cushions or handkerchiefs, printed on paper napkins or boxes, nor used as any portion of a costume.
How to properly dispose of an American flag
- When the flag is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem, it should be destroyed in a dignified and ceremonious fashion, preferably by burning. The American Legion holds an annual ceremony to retire old or worn flags; contact your local chapter if you are not able to dispose of your flag yourself.