The Fourth of July is upon us. Besides getting out the barbecue grill, having friends and family over and watching gorgeous fireworks, it is time to bring out the flag to celebrate the birth of our nation.
Did you know that there are standards associated with displaying our nation’s symbol of freedom? So, before you bring out your flag this week, check out the following, and make your children aware of the rules that go along with it.
» It is the universal custom to display the flag only from sunrise to sunset on buildings and on stationary flagstaffs 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. Actually your flag should be lighted at all times. That’s the proper etiquette to display Old Glory.
» The flag should be hoisted briskly and lowered ceremoniously.
» Only fly your flag in fair weather. Don’t put it out when it is raining.
» When the flag is displayed from a staff projecting from a window, balcony, or a building, the union should be at the peak of the staff unless the flag is at half-staff.
» When the flag is displayed over a street, it should be hung vertically, with the union to the north or east. If the flag is suspended over a sidewalk, the flag's union should be farthest from the building.
» When flown with flags of states, communities, or societies on separate flag poles that are of the same height and in a straight line, the flag of the United States is always placed in the position of honor - to its own right . .. The other flags may be smaller but none may be larger . .. No other flag ever should be placed above it . .. The flag of the United States is always the first flag raised and the last to be lowered.
» The flag should never be used in advertising. It should not be embroidered, printed or otherwise impressed on clothing, cushions, handkerchiefs, napkins, boxes, or anything intended to be discarded after temporary use. Advertising signs should not be attached to the staff or halyard
» The flag should never have any mark, insignia, letter, word, number, figure, or drawing of any kind placed on it, or attached to it.
» The flag should not be used as part of a costume or athletic uniform, except that a flag patch may be used on the uniform of military personnel, firefighters, police officers and members of patriotic organizations.
» The flag should not be used as a drapery, or for covering a speaker’s desk, draping a platform, or for any decoration in general. Bunting of blue, white and red stripes is available for these purposes. The blue stripe of the bunting should be on the top.
» The flag should never be used as a receptacle for receiving, holding, carrying, or delivering anything.
» When the flag is lowered, no part of it should touch the ground or any other object; it should be received by waiting hands and arms. To store the flag it should be folded neatly and ceremoniously.
» The flag should be cleaned and mended when necessary.
» When a flag is so worn it is no longer fit to serve as our nation’s symbol, it should be respectfully destroyed by burning in a dignified manner.
» Folding the flag traditionally requires two sets of hands. Done properly, it is neatly folded into a triangular package with only the stars showing on the navy blue background. It can be displayed as such between the times it is hung. The triangle is symbolic of the three-cornered hat worn by colonial soldiers in the War of Independence.
The American flag should be treated with respect at all times. “The flag represents a living country and is itself considered a living thing.” — Section 8j of the Flag Code.
Click here for the full rules and regulations of the Flag Code.
— John Daly is the founder and president of The Key Class, the go-to guide for job search success. Click here to learn more about The Key Class, get more information on Thursday night classes in Santa Barbara, or to get his book. Connect with The Key Class on Facebook. Follow John Daly on Twitter: @johndalyjr. Click here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.