On June 14, 1923, Flag Day, members of The American Legion and representatives of 68 other patriotic and military organizations met to draft a code of flag etiquette. These rules came to public law in 1942, commonly referred to as The Flag Code.
Interestingly enough, there are many myths that we, as American’s, tell each other about flag etiquette. Let’s dis-spell some of these myths:
4 Common Flag Myths
Myth 1: A flag that has covered a casket cannot be used for any other purpose
A flag that has been used to cover a casket can be used for any proper display purpose, including a display from a staff or flagpole.
Myth 2: You cannot display a United States flag with less than 50 stars.
It does not matter the number or arrangement of stars, a U.S. flag never becomes obsolete and can continue to be displayed until it is no longer serviceable.
Myth 3: You must destroy a flag when it touches the ground
How many times have you heard that you have to destroy a flag that touches the ground? It’s actually just a myth. It is out of respect that we try to keep our nations colors off the ground, but it is not in The Flag Code that we have to destroy a flag that’s touched the ground.
Also, there are no provisions that keep you from washing a flag. It comes down to if it is a washable material. As long as the flag is still fit for display, it may be displayed.
Myth 4: It isn’t required to have a flag illuminated during hours of darkness
It’s a busy world out there. We are often out the doors starting our daily commute before the sun rises and still out and about well past sunset. We aren’t at our homes to follow the custom of retiring the colors at the end of the day.
According to The Flag Code, the flag may be displayed day and night if it is properly illuminated during the hours of darkness.
Displaying the Flag
On a flag pole, briskly raise the flag and lower it slower or ceremoniously and out of respect. Display the flag from sunrise to sunset, unless adequately illuminated.
Displaying the flag vertically on a wall or in a window, place the stars uppermost and to the left of the viewer.
When the flag is not on display, properly fold it for safe keeping. Typically you see the flag folded into a triangle. First, it is folded lengthwise twice. Then, starting at the end with the stripes start folding it in a triangle over itself. Follow this pattern until all you see is the field of stars.
The American Legion often referred to a flag that is “fit to be displayed.” This refers to coloration, free of rips and tears, stitching still in good shape. The American Flag is our national symbol of hardiness and valor, purity, vigilance, perseverance, and justice. Treat it with respect.
Retiring Your Old Flag
With Flag Day approaching, we have partnered with other businesses in the community as designated drop off locations for flags no longer suitable for display. There are red boxes at: Wittler Orthodontics, Busby Eye Care, Parker Mortgage, First Merchants Bank in Westfield, as well as our office. Drop off your old flags during regular business hours June 1-June 14, 2019. Cub Scout Pack 129-Westfield, we will properly dispose of the old flags.
We Have A Flag For You
We don’t want to leave you empty-handed. Join us on June 14 from 11:30-2:30 pm at our office for a Community Picnic and Flag Exchange. You can bring your old flags at this time too to exchange for a new flag. Or just come to pick up a new flag. We will also have a picnic lunch to celebrate Flag Day.
Dean Ballenger Agency, 3501 Westfield Rd, Westfield, IN 46062
Check out the American’s Legion’s Top Ten list of Flag Myths and see what else you thought was part of The Flag Code, that may not actually be written in there. Also, you can look through The Flag Code, and you may learn something new.