On Saturday, we commemorate National Flag Day, the day the Second Continental Congress adopted the American flag. It was officially established by proclamation in 1916 by President Woodrow Wilson and again in 1949 by an act of Congress.
If you’ve never demonstrated pride in your country and support for the military by displaying the flag, Saturday is a good day to begin. But whether you’re a first-time flag exhibitor or you fly one 24/7, it’s important to know that because the flag represents a living country, it comes with official guidelines for proper display and respect.
This is true whether your flag is a free downloadable and printable coloring page for the kids or a silk antique.
Guidelines from the flag code include:
• Generally, where buildings and stationary flagstaffs are concerned, one only flies a flag from sunrise to sunset.
• Illuminate your flag at night if you plan to fly it round the clock.
• In bad weather, fly only flags made of all-weather material.
• Don’t drape your flag over the hood, top, sides, or back of your vehicle.
• Other flags and pennants should not fly above, at the same level or to the right of the American flag.
• The flag must never touch the ground.
• Flags should not be worn as clothes, costumes or other apparel; treated negligently; used for advertising; or serve double-duty as bedspreads or food containers. Eating your bratwurst from a paper plate with an American flag design is not the best way to show your patriotism.
• Storing your flag: Balling it up and tossing it in a corner or stuffing it inside a box won’t do. Properly fold your flag before putting it away. The American Legion gives illustrated, step-by-step instructions at www.legion.org/flag/folding. Or ask a Boy Scout to demonstrate it for you. He’ll be thrilled that you asked.
• When a flag becomes too tattered or soiled for use, throwing it away in the garbage can is a no-no. Call an American Legion. Members will perform an unserviceable flag ceremony to give your flag a dignified ending. If you dispose of the flag yourself, you must burn it.
Ultimately, the American Flag represents the freedoms upon which this country was founded and the blood of brave men and women that fought to preserve them. Please remember to treat it as such. For more federal regulations on the American flag, visit www.usflag.org/uscode36.html