Care and Handling of the American Flag

Life, liberty, justice; frequently these words are scattered throughout our national political bandwidth.  These terms represent the deeply rooted feelings of excellence and pride each patriotic American holds as tenets to the very nature of citizenship.  One of the most noted representations of this well-deserved attitude of patriotism is our American flag.  As CCRWC members, it is our responsibility to serve as shining examples for others. For a somber yet beautiful video of a flag folding ceremony performed by the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard), click HERE.

Did you know that our beloved flag is considered to be a living thing? According to the flag code our beautiful red, white, and blue symbol of freedom is “a living country and is itself considered a living thing.” Section 8j

American Flag Composition – There is nothing like seeing a briskly holstered flag to inspire a strong sense of patriotism.
Stripes:  Our national symbol of pride consists of thirteen horizontal stripes, seven of which are red alternating with 6 white. These stripes are a representation of the original 13 colonies.
Stars:  The stars that fall to the left of the flag represent the 50 states of the Union.
Colors:  The red symbolizes Hardiness and Valor; white symbolizes purity and innocence; and blue represents vigilance, perseverance, and justice.

Flag Protocol and Etiquette – The glory of the flag is rooted in its deep history. This fact alone should be enough to demand respect from this most trusted symbols of patriotism; however, at times even the most devoted of us are at a loss when it comes to knowing the proper care for and behavior toward our flag.  The following rules may seem stringent, but they are in place to protect the very essence of belief that this great country was founded upon, that of pride and freedom.  Here are some points to remember about proper flag protocol and etiquette.
Parade Etiquette:  Many proudly wave a replica at parades and backyard barbeques during joyous celebrations like Independence Day, but did you know that the flag should never appear in an actual parade float, except from a staff? Each time the flag is displayed it should be handled with care and never draped over the hood, top, sides, or back of a vehicle or of a railroad train or boat.
Miniatures:  Even small versions of our flag are to be treated with the upmost respect when being waved or displayed; being held upright unless in motion.
Functions:  When it comes to our meetings and official functions the care of the flag becomes graver.  It is sobering to think of how our flag has been waved as a symbol of our triumphs and the presence of the fight for freedom during battles where American soldiers valiantly pursued our right to wave, salute, or display it.  For this reason during times of commemoration it is important for the flag to be displayed distinctively with the union of the flag to the observer’s left upon entering. And if it is a part of the ceremony, it should form a distinctive feature of the ceremony especially if unveiling a statue or monument, but it should never be used as the covering for the statue or monuments.
Displaying:  Here are some important days to remember for displaying the flag; although some may be regarded as more fun than others, each showcases our patriotism.

  • January 1 – New Year’s Day
  • January 20 – Inauguration Day
  • 3rd Monday in January – Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday
  • February 12 – Lincoln’s Birthday
  • 3rd Monday in February – Washington’s Birthday
  • Easter Sunday (variable)
  • 2nd Sunday in May – Mother’s Day
  • 3rd Saturday in May – Armed Forces Day
  • Last Monday in May – Memorial Day (half-staff until noon)
  • June 14 – Flag Day
  • 3rd Sunday in June – Father’s Day
  • July 4 – Independence Day
  • 1st Monday in September – Labor Day
  • September 17 – Constitution Day
  • 2nd Monday in October – Columbus Day
  • October 27 – Navy Day
  • November 11 – Veterans Day
  • 4th Thursday in November – Thanksgiving Day
  • December 25 – Christmas Day
  • Such other days as may be proclaimed by the President of the United States
  • Birthdays of States (date of admission) State holidays

Position:  During meetings the flag should be regarded with the highest regard. Never display the flag with the union down or touching anything that is beneath it, such as the ground, the floor, water, or merchandise.  Never place any sort of insignia on it or upon it.  Patches are good, but costumes are not. Our beacon of light is never to be worn as a costume or athletic uniform.
Jewelry:  If the flag is worn in the form of a pin, the appropriate way is to place the replica on the left lapel and close to the heart. And that is truly the heart of the matter.  Our flag is a beloved symbol of how great our country truly is!  We are so blessed to live in the greatest country in the world and to have the freedom to assert our beliefs.  So, let’s do so with gusto!

Miranda Childers, CCRWC MemberMiranda Childers is proud to be a new member of the CCRWC. She is a Teaching Artist, Writer, and the creator and CEO of Book of Eve Cosmetics.

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