We live in a country that can be very patriotic. We just celebrated President’s Day. We honor our military on Memorial Day, Armed Forces Day, Flag Day, July Fourth, Veterans Day and more. And in schools, coffee shops and offices around the country we can see Old Glory hung with pride on many indoor walls year-round. This summer, I’m sure we’ll see more flags fly as the Olympics stoke our pride in our great country.
But it boils my red-blooded American veins that so many of my fellow citizens do not know how to hang the United States flag properly. Per our country’s Flag Code: “The flag represents a living country and is itself considered a living thing."
Several times over the years I have stopped and kindly informed home owners and shop owners their flag was hung wrong (most of the time, I think they appreciated the education). It’s is disrespectful and un-American to hang our flag incorrectly especially when so many of our ancestors, relatives and friends have fought for it.
So in the interest of patriotic education, here are basic rules when you hang the Stars and Stripes:
1. The union (the stars) is ALWAYS in the upper left corner, whether the flag is hung horizontally or vertically. Always. If your flag faces the street the union should be on the upper left from the street view. (FYI – when the union is shown at the bottom of a hung flag it signals great distress)
2. The flag should always be lit (sunrise to sunset). If you display the American flag on your home, bring it inside at night unless you illuminate it with a light all night long.
3. If the Stars and Stripes accidentally touches the ground, that’s OK. If it’s dirty, wash or dry clean it. When it’s unfit for display (filthy, tattered), it should be destroyed in a dignified manner – preferably by burning it. Burying the flag is also acceptable. Your local VFW can help you do it properly, if you’d like help.
Why bother with flag etiquette? Isn’t displaying the flag good enough as an American citizen? For more than 200 years, our country's military, firemen, police, and other service personnel have practiced these measures faithfully, treating our flag with the highest esteem. These three simple rules is one way we can meet the high standard they have set.
By, Kira Perdue | @kperdue