Each July, our American pride rings loud and strong as we celebrate our nation’s independence with fireworks, picnics, patriotic music, and flying Old Glory.
At a recent training session for the Global Protocol, Etiquette & Civility Academy, Michael Lynn, co-founder of the academy, presented a terrific program on flag etiquette. As we prepare to celebrate the Fourth of July, it is a good time, as Americans, to brush-up on the basics of our flag. The United States Flag Code establishes advisory rules for the display and care of the United States flag. According to the United States Flag Code:
- The flag should be allowed to fall freely.
- The flag should be replaced if it becomes tattered or soiled.
- The flag should never be laid on the ground.
- The flag should never lie flat, or be carried horizontally.
- The flag should be raised briskly and lowered slowly.
- The flag should be displayed between sunrise and sunset.
- The flag should be illuminated when displayed at night.
- The flag should be flown at the same height, or higher than, state flags.
- The flag should never be flown on the same pole with a company, or advertising flag.
- The flag may be lowered to half-staff only by order of the President, or the State Governor.
- The flag should be placed to the left of the state flag and company flag when one is facing the display, if the flag poles are the same height. If one pole is higher, the American flag should be placed in the center with the state flag to the left and the company flag to the right.
- The flag should not be used as an informal covering for the ceiling.
- The flag should never have any mark, insignia, letter, word, figure, design, picture, or drawing of any nature, placed upon it.
- The flag should not be impressed on anything that is designed for temporary use and will be discarded.
- That being said, since paper plates, napkins, and cups are for temporary use and will be discarded, they should never be printed with the American flag.
While there are no fines or penalties for violating the United States Flag Code, all Americans should display the flag properly, as a sign of respect for the country.
Enjoy the fireworks, picnics, and patriotic events during the Fourth of July celebrations—and remember to fly Old Glory with the dignity that it deserves. Never forget that freedom is not free: each of us enjoys the freedom to celebrate this day thanks to the sacrifices made by Servicemembers and their families.
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