Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Columns

February 26, 2014

Show flag etiquette

On Monday, Mexico commemorated the adoption of its flag. Here in the U.S., we celebrate our Flag Day June 14.

President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed the date a national observance for the American flag in 1916. Congress established National Flag Day in 1949.

Lots of folks fly the flag every day as a show of patriotism, but what many might not know is that there are specific rules outlined in the U.S. Flag Code concerning its display.

For example, flying the flag 24 hours a day, 365 days a year is not necessarily appropriate. If you fly the flag at night, it should be properly lighted, meaning that the stars and stripes can be seen from a reasonable distance.

It is OK, though, to fly the flag in bad weather, so long as the flag has been constructed to withstand the conditions.

According to the Flag Code, the flag should never be dipped to any person or thing. It is flown upside down only as a distress signal. The flag also should not be used as a drapery, for covering a lectern, draping a platform or for any decoration in general.

Bunting of blue, white and red stripes is available for these purposes. The blue stripe of the bunting should be on top.

The code also prohibits use of the flag for advertising. It should not be embroidered, printed or otherwise impressed on such articles as cushions, handkerchiefs, napkins, boxes or anything intended to be discarded after temporary use. Advertising signs should not be attached to the staff or halyard.

The flag also should not be used as part of a costume or athletic uniform, except that a flag patch may be used on the uniform of military personnel, firemen, policemen and members of patriotic organizations.

When the flag is lowered, no part of it should touch the ground or any other object; it should be received by waiting hands and arms.

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