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Time to Brush Up on American Flag Etiquette

June 8th, 2015 Written By Carol Pawley


Flag day Blog

On June 14, also called National Flag Day, we honor our national flag. The holiday commemorates the date in 1777 when the United States approved the design for its first national flag.

The tradition is said to have started in 1885, when Bernard J. Cigrand, a Wisconsin schoolteacher, urged his students to observe June 14 as “Flag Birthday.” He later wrote an essay published in a Chicago newspaper asking Americans to proclaim June 14 as the day to celebrate the flag.

In 1916 President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed June 14 as the official date for Flag Day, and in 1949 Congress permanently established the date as National Flag Day. If you are planning to fly your flag this year, it may be a good idea to brush up on flag etiquette.

•The flag should be lighted at all times, either by sunlight or by an appropriate light source.

•The flag should be flown in fair weather, unless the flag is designed for inclement weather use.

•The flag should never be dipped to any person or thing. It is flown upside down only as a distress signal.

•The flag should not be used 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 not be embroidered, printed or otherwise impressed on such articles as cushions, handkerchiefs, napkins, boxes, or anything intended to be discarded after temporary use.

•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 never be used 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 a symbol of our country, it should be destroyed by burning in a dignified manner.

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