H-GOOD QUESTION

Jun 13, 2012 8:41 PM by John Reger

GQ: What's the right way to display the American flag?

Flag day is tomorrow, and the Fourth of July not far off so we'll be seeong people flying the Stars and Stripes to show their patriotism. But every year, many people wonder what's the right way and the wrong way to put up the flag. That's a good question.

The American flag is a symbol of our country that also honors our military veterans. "Displaying the flag improperly is almost like an insult to the veterans that have fought for the freedoms of this country," says Robert Bumann, former Commander at VFW Post 2521 in Santa Maria.

A U.S Code of Etiquette spells out rules for displaying the flag, but it's not against the law to disregard them. "As long as the flag is being respected, you can't do much wrong," says Bumann.

When the flag is hung from a wall, the blue rectangle with the stars (the union) should be at the upper left as you look at the flag. A flag flying in the wind will shift the union in many directions.

The flag should always be on a staff with the union at the top and always flown above any other flag, like the California state flag. "The flag should be displayed in the most honored position," says Bumann.

It should be taken down in bad weather unless it's designed for all weather use.
A tattered flag should be cleaned and mended, but if beyond repair, it should be burned in a special ceremony held by veterans organizations.

The flag can be displayed at half staff as a sign of respect or mourning, usually on a day proclaimed by the President or Governor, but businesses and private citizens can decide to do it too.

The flag should be taken down at night unless it can be fully illuminated in darkness. When a flag is lowered it should never touch the ground. And when it's being stored away for future use, it should be folded in a traditional procedure that leaves it in the shape of a tri-cornered hat worn by colonial soldiers in the War of Independence.

The Code of Etiquette also calls for not printing the flag on any clothing or other items, but that's usually ignored because the First Amendment right of free expression takes precedence.

If you've got something you want answered, send it to goodquestion@ksby.com or facebook.com/JohnRegerKsbyNews.

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