Flags to fly at Memorial Day events in areaThe American flag will play a big part in two upcoming holidays – Memorial Day and Flag Day. A list of Memorial Day events and parades in the area is included in a special section in today’s newspaper (see page A9).
The American flag will play a big part in two upcoming holidays – Memorial Day and Flag Day.
A list of Memorial Day events and parades in the area is included in a special section in today’s newspaper (page A9).
Before taking part in these special observances, residents may want to know a little more about how to treat the flag.
Are you giving the flag its proper respect? Do you know what to do when the flag passes by in a parade or how to properly display Old Glory?
Alexandria American Legion Post 87 and the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 936 compiled some frequently asked questions and answers about flag etiquette.
“The proper display of the flag is very important to the veterans who so proudly served in the military, now living in Douglas County and the surrounding area,” noted Kenneth Voigt with the American Legion.
How should the flag be saluted by citizens, those in uniform and non-citizens?
According to the Flag Code, Americans should stand at attention facing the flag with the right hand over the heart. When not in uniform, men should remove any non-religious headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart.
Persons in uniform should remain silent, face the flag, and render the military salute. Those who are not U.S. citizens should stand at attention.
What is the significance of displaying the flag at half-staff?
This gesture is a sign to indicate the nation mourns the death of an individual(s), such as death of the president or former president, vice president, Supreme Court justice, member of Congress, secretary of an executive or military department, etc.
Only the president or a state governor may order the flag to be displayed at half-staff.
May a person, other than a veteran, have his or her casket draped with the flag of the United States?
Yes. Although this honor is usually reserved for veterans or highly regarded state and national figures, the Flag Code does not prohibit this use.
What is meant by the “flag’s own right?”
The “right” as the position of honor developed from the time when the right hand was the “weapon hand” or “point of danger.” The right hand, raised without a weapon, was a sign of peace.
The right hand, to any observer, is the observer’s left. Therefore, as used in the Flag Code, the flag and/or blue field is displayed to the observer’s left, which is the flag’s own right.
Is it proper to fly the U.S. flag at night?
The Flag Code states it is the universal custom to display the flag only from sunrise to sunset on buildings and on stationary flag staffs in the open. However, when a patriotic effect is desired, the flag may be displayed 24 hours a day if properly illuminated during the hours of darkness
How are unserviceable flags destroyed?
The Flag Code suggests that when a flag has served its useful purpose, “it should be destroyed, preferably by burning.”
For individual citizens, this should be done discreetly so the act of destruction is not perceived as a protest or desecration.
Many American Legion posts conduct disposal of unserviceable flag ceremonies on June 14, Flag Day. Such ceremonies are particularly dignified and solemn occasions for the retirement of unserviceable flags.
Should the American flag be taken down during a rainstorm?
Most flags sold nowadays are all-weather flags (refer to the packaging). These are permitted to fly during inclement weather, according to the Flag Code.
Is it appropriate to fly a flag that has fewer than 50 stars?
Yes. Official United States flags are always considered living, active flags. From the Betsy Ross flag to the present 50-star flag, any flag that at some time was the current active flag is still considered a living flag to be accorded all due respect.
Is it OK for an advertisement to use the flag?
No. Section 8 of the Flag Code reads, “The flag should never be used for advertising purposes in any manner whatsoever.” The earliest drafts of the Flag Code were in response to the use of the flag in advertisements and on packaging.
Why do we stand and put our right hand on our hearts when we say the Pledge of Allegiance?
The original Bellamy salute, first described in 1892 by Francis Bellamy, who authored the original pledge, began with a military salute, and after reciting the words “to the flag,” the arm was extended toward the flag, palm-down.
We are flying the U.S. flag, our state flag, and the POW/MIA flag on side-to-side poles. What order should they be in?
Normally you would fly the POW/MIA flag beneath the U.S. flag. However, if you need to fly it on its own staff, it would follow the others.
On my motorcycle, I have two flags, the U.S. flag and a POW/MIA flag. How should they be positioned?
The U.S. flag should always be on its right. The POW/MIA or other flag flies on its left, which is the viewer’s right, facing the motorcycle.
Last October our granddaughter’s paternal grandfather died. After the flag was folded, the soldier tucked three spent cartridges in with the flag. What is the meaning of the three cartridges?
According to Major Robert A. Lynn, USMCR, the three spent cartridges are symbolic. During a lull in battle, both sides would fire three volleys each and then would remo ve their dead from the field of battle
Flags are provided for burial services of service members and veterans. The flag for one who dies on active duty is provided by one’s branch of service.
Flags for other veterans are provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs.