Happy 4th of July! But along with all of the hotdogs, fireworks and other festivities don’t forget to raise a salute to our Great Country – on its birthday! And also don’t forget to fly the Stars and Stripes. This is not only the third-oldest standard of the world (only the Union Jack of Great Britain and the Tricolor of France have been used longer), it is also the symbol of Liberty. So it should be respected!
To provide as accurate information as I could about respecting our flag I consulted with a Veterans of Foreign Wars handout entitled “Etiquette of the Stars and Stripes.” Here are some of the rules that it listed:
- The Flag should be displayed only from sunrise to sunset, unless it is properly illuminated during the hours of darkness;
- The Flag should be hoisted briskly and lowered ceremoniously;
- The Flag should not be displayed on days when the weather is inclement, except when an all-weather flag is displayed;
- The Flag should be displayed on all special days;
- The Flag should never be dipped to any person or thing;
- The Flag should not be allowed to touch anything beneath it, such as the ground, floor, water or merchandise;
- The Flag should never be used as a table cover or receptacle for receiving, holding, carrying or delivering anything; and,
- The Flag should never be used for any advertising purposes whatsoever.
All of these rules are voluntary, so I do not recommend threatening your neighbors with sanctions if they forget to take their Flag down tonight as it gets dark. But sometimes a quiet reminder to those neighbors might be a nice thing to do – for the respect of the symbol of everything we are as Americans, and everything we hope to be.