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2012-06-28

The American Flag - long may it wave

Courtesy of www.homeofheroes.com

It is the right of every American to display proudly the Flag of the United States at their home, their business and elsewhere.

When you "show your colors," you tell the world that you are proud to live in the "Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave." Not only is the American Flag a wonderful symbol of freedom, it also "... represents a living country and is itself considered a living thing," according to the US Flag Code, Title 36, Chapter 10, § 176. (j).

Some common questions arise regarding the flying of the colors are addressed below. Learn how to display the American Flag properly and fly it proudly this Fourth of July.

Why do we need laws to tell us how to display the flag? Shouldn't every person have the right to display the flag however they wish, so long as it is done with proper respect?

Proper display of the American Flag has to do with symbols that represent a thought or idea. A properly displayed flag tells the world that:

• You are proud to be an American.

• You care enough to learn how to display the flag properly.

• You are showing the flag the respect it deserves.

Should the flag be taken down at night?

It is customary to fly the flag from buildings or staffs in open areas from "dawn to dusk." The Flag Code (§174) recognizes, however, that some people may wish to create a patriotic effect by displaying the flag from a building or outside staff or pole 24 hours a day.

If such is the case, it is proper to fly the flag both day and night, provided that the flag is properly lit up at night.

Is there a procedure for raising and lowering the flag from a staff?

Yes there is. If you choose to fly the flag only from sunrise to sunset, the flag should be raised briskly (quickly and with effort) each morning, and lowered more slowly and ceremoniously at the end of the day (§174b).

If you are displaying the United States Flag with other flags, such as state, city, military, scout or other organizational flags, the United States Flag should be the first flag raised every morning, and the last flag to be lowered at night (§175f).

Should the flag be taken inside when the weather is bad?

The 220-plus-year-old Flag of the United States of America is quite "hardy for its age."

Throughout its history, it has survived many storms - both natural and man-made - around the world.

You can purchase a flag designed for all-weather display - and fly it proudly day and night.

If, however, your flag is not manufactured for all weather use, bring it inside when the weather is bad. Just as it is a sign of pride to display the flag, it is a sign of disrespect or neglect to subject the flag to weather that can damage it (§174c).

For more information about proper flag display, visit

www.ushistory.org/betsy/more/displayonly.htm.