For centuries, the most recognizable symbol of the United States of America has been the American Flag. Even with its changes through the years, the statement and colors have stayed true, as the flag stands for freedom and the sacrifices that have been made to maintain that freedom. With Independence Day (4th of July) not too far off, you will no doubt begin to see more and more flags pop up around the country. Did you know there are special rules for how you should handle the flag itself? Before you bring out your American flag for the festivities, be sure to brush up on your etiquette to make sure you honor this sacred symbol.
There are many rules one has to follow, and some that sound like a general consensus, but aren’t actually rules at all. Learning the ones that are true and which ones are not is key to successfully flying the flag. One rule of thumb that many Americans have followed over the years is the belief that the flag has to be taken down when it gets dark. While you can certainly follow this rule, you are completely in your right to fly the flag when it as dark, only if it is properly illuminated. If you do not have some kind of light shining, it is very disrespectful to leave the flag out at night.
Have you ever seen a flag flying upside down? This will only happen when the country is in a major time of peril and distress. Otherwise, the flag should always be flown with the blue section and the stars on the top.
Another myth that is generally believed today is that a flag must be burned if it touches the ground. It is true that you should never allow the flag to touch the ground as a sign of respect and honor. Mistakes do happen however, and the flag touching the ground is not the worst thing in the world and it does not need to be burned instantly. If the flag has been rendered unfit to be flown from that point on however, it is customary that it be destroyed, with the typical method being burning it.
While there are many rules and regulations to the flag code, which is technically protected by federal law, there is in fact no guidelines for punishment to those that do in fact break the flag code. Follow some of these simple rules to flying the flag, and respect and honor will be upheld in every situation.