Rules for Displaying your American Flag
Just in time for the summer: A quick refresher on American flag displays
From Memorial Day to Flag Day to Independence Day, the American flag plays a prominent role in our summertime activities. You see the flag everywhere. But it isn’t always displayed correctly. And that’s a pet peeve of mine.
You might know that the “Flag Code” is actually part of federal law, though you’ll sooner discover a diamond mine in your backyard before seeing anyone enforce that law. Still, through respect for the country in which we live, there are some simple guidelines we can all follow. Here, too, we can take a moment to provide a lesson for our kids about paying respect to the flag and what it represents.
I won’t bore you by listing the entire manner in which a flag is supposed to be displayed — frankly, some of it could reasonably be considered a bit tedious — but paying attention to the major points is a good idea.
Here’s one: If the flag remains on display at night, it should be illuminated. According to the American Legion, that means the preferred method is to have a light dedicated to that purpose or, failing that, have a light source that can illuminate the flag “so that it is recognizable as such by the casual observer.”
Here’s another: There are specific guidelines about disposing of a flag. Though it seems a bit strange, in a way — given how anti-America sentiment sometimes manifests itself in the burning of our flag — the proper way to dispose of a flag is to burn it. This helpful list of do’s and don’ts reports that many American Legion posts conduct a dignified flag burning ceremony, often on Flag Day (June 14). If you have a flag that has reached the end of its life, drop it off at your nearby American Legion post. They’ll surely be happy to handle it.
So take a few moments of your holiday to give yourself a quick refresher on flag displays. It will be time well spent.