Flag Etiquette, Part I

The Federal Flag Code provides guidelines for the display of and respect shown to the flag. On June 22, 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt approved House Joint Resolution 303 codifying the existing customs and rules governing the display and use of the flag of the United States by civilians. The Code was reenacted, with minor amendments, as part of the Bicentennial celebration. The Federal Flag Code does not cover all possible situations. Actions not specifically included in the Code may be deemed acceptable as long as proper respect is shown.  The basic provisions related to when a flag is displayed, raising and lowering the flag, and retiring a flag are listed below.

     No part of the flag should ever be used as a costume or athletic uniform.  However, a flag patch may be affixed to the uniform of military personnel, firemen, policemen, and members of patriotic organizations. The flag represents a living country and is itself considered a living thing. Therefore, the lapel flag pin being a replica, should be worn on the left lapel near the heart. 

TIME OF FLAG DISPLAY.  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. The flag should not be displayed on inclement days unless an all-weather flag is displayed. 

     The flag should be displayed daily on or near the main administration building of every public institution.  The flag should be displayed in or near every polling place on election days and during school days in or near every schoolhouse.

CONDUCT DURING HOISTING, LOWERING OR PASSING OF FLAG.  During the ceremony of hoisting or lowering the flag or when the flag is passing in a parade or in review, all persons present in uniform should render the military salute. Members of the Armed Forces and veterans who are present but not in uniform may render the military salute. All other persons present should face the flag and stand at attention with the right hand over the heart, or if applicable, remove their headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart. Citizens of other countries present should stand at attention. All such conduct toward the flag in a moving column should be rendered at the moment the flag passes.

DESTRUCTION OF WORN FLAGS.  The flag, when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning.

Tomorrow, the Etiquette for Displaying a Flag   Rita Bay

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