In the early morning hours, I find the absence of the raucous, busy, and fast pace of the city to be easy on the body and mind, if only for a brief period. And so it was on Independence Day, only it being a national holiday the serenity lasted a bit longer with fewer people on the streets and the traffic, although always present, less than usual.
Walking the streets, lined with private homes, I noticed with some degree of sadness how most of the dwellings had no American flag adorning their exterior, especially on this special day. Those few who did, in many cases, the flag was in disarray, some were even torn and weathered. It was apparent that, although unlike those homes that did not display their nation’s flag, those that did were uninformed as to the protocols of the stars and stripes.
While proceeding along, the quietude slowly diminishing into the shouts and screams of children in back yards expectantly waiting for the start of festivities, it occurred to me that perhaps these folks were in need of a brief refresher course of the rules and regulations when displaying the American flag. And so, without being too presumptuous, why not take out a little time to compose some helpful hints as to the U.S. Flag Code that defines the etiquette and adherence for displaying the flag, and pass it on to these patriotic Americans.
Upon returning home I sat down and drew up a listing of the fundamental rules for residences when handling and displaying Old Glory. I made it a point to visit those same homes that I passed on Independence Day, where there was a flag, and placed copies along with a brief introduction in each of the mailboxes. I thought perhaps you the reader might be interested.
1. The American flag must never be allowed to touch the ground or any body of water.
2. When a flag becomes too faded, weathered, or torn, and is no longer a fitting symbol of the nation, it should be destroyed in a respectful and dignified manner, preferably by burning. If you have any reservations about taking this action, you can bring the flag to any American Legion of VFW Post. [Take note, these radical street thugs and so-called activists you might see on television or in the news media protesting by burning the flag are not showing respect, their mindless flagrant disrespect insults the flag and nation.]
3. When displaying on a flagpole, it should be hoisted briskly and lowered slowly.
4. When the flag is to be flown at half-mast, again on a flagpole, it must be raised to peak and then lowered midway down, and when the memorial is ended, the flag is to be raised to peak, lower it to ground, and then raise it back up to peak.
5. When the American flag is displayed on a flagpole, no other banner should ever be flown higher. The American flag must always take precedence.
6. When the flag is displayed off the front or side of a residence or any building structure, and other banners accompany it, the American flag should always be on the furthest left when facing it.
7. If the nation is at war, the flag is usually flown each day the length of the conflict, and if left out at night, it should be illuminated.
These rules may seem burdensome to some, but remember this is your nation’s banner; it has flown in times of war dating back centuries; remember Iwo Jima. It covers the casket of every soldier who has made the ultimate sacrifice. The flag is flown in the front of private homes, and by just about every business type, from major corporation complexes to the small mom and pop store, ballparks, and even in houses of worship.
Honor and fly the American flag, do so with pride and respect for what she stands for; the symbol of a great nation and her people. As someone once said, “Some might burn her, tarnish and spurn her, or treat her like a faded old rag; but none can diminish, imprison or finish her, for she is worthy and more than a flag.”