Editorial

Even respectful display of flag should be done properly

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

The Stars and Stripes were an act of defiance when, tradition holds, they were first hoisted by the Continental Army at the Middlebrook encampment during the Revolutionary War.

The flag has been a lightning rod for attacks and protests ever since.

We celebrate today as Flag Day because, 240 years ago, June 14, 1777, the Second Continental Congress passed the Flag Resolution which stated: ďResolved, That the flag of the thirteen United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation.Ē

The design of the flag has been modified 26 times officially since 1777. The 48-star flag was in effect for 47 years until the 49-star version became official on July 4, 1959, but was replaced by the 50-star version Aug. 21, 1960.

It is the longest-used version of the U.S. flag and has been in use for over 56 years.

Too often, we see the flag being burned in foreign anti-American demonstrations or being abused in domestic protests, still protected as free speech, despite the sacrifices of generations of military personnel to preserve all it symbolizes.

Even when it is displayed out of respect, the American flag is too often not treated with the reverence it deserves.

For instance, it should be raised in the morning and taken down at night, unless it is properly illuminated at night. It should not be used as decoration or as part of clothing.

Some other tips from the U.S. Flag Code and VFW guidelines:

* On a platform, in a marching ceremony, or in a row with other flags, the U.S. flag should be on its own right, the observerís left, and at the same height as other national flags, higher than state and other local flags.

* When flown at half-staff, it should first be hoisted to the peak for an instant and then lowered to half-staff. On Memorial Day, it is flown at half-staff until noon and then raised.

* When displayed horizontally or vertically against a wall or in a window, it should be displayed with the union or blue field on the left to the observer.

* On a vehicle, the staff should be fixed firmly to the chassis or clamped to the right fender.

* When used to cover a casket, it should be placed so the union is at the head and over the left shoulder. It should not be lowered into the grave or allowed to touch the ground.

* When saluting a flag at a ceremony, all persons in uniform should render the military salute, and members of armed forces and veterans not in uniform may render the military salute.

* All other persons should face the flag and stand at attention with their right hand over the heart, or, if applicable, remove their headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand over the heart.

A quick list of Flag Etiquette Doníts:

* Donít dip the U.S. Flag for any person, flag, or vessel.

* Donít let the flag touch the ground.

* Donít fly the flag upside down unless there is an emergency.

* Donít carry the flag flat, or carry things in it.

* Donít use the flag as clothing.

* Donít store the flag where it can get dirty.

* Donít use it as a cover.

* Donít fasten it or tie it back. Always allow it to fall free.

* Donít draw on, or otherwise mark the flag.

* Donít use the flag for decoration. Use bunting with the blue on top, then white, then red.

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