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Celebrating Flag Day: Understanding the U.S. Flag Code

Flag Day, celebrated on June 14th, is a day dedicated to honoring the American flag and reflecting on its symbolism and history. But how much do we know about the proper ways to display and handle this revered emblem? The U.S. Flag Code provides clear guidelines, ensuring that the flag is treated with the respect it deserves. Here’s a brief overview of the key points from the Flag Code to help you observe Flag Day appropriately.

The Design of the Flag

  • Stripes and Stars: The flag of the United States has thirteen horizontal stripes, alternating red and white, and a union of fifty stars on a blue field, representing the fifty states.

Adding Stars

  • New States: A new star is added to the flag when a new state is admitted to the Union. This change occurs on the following July 4th.

Prohibited Uses

  • Advertising: The flag should not be used for advertising purposes. This includes printing on merchandise or using it in promotional displays.

  • Mutilation: Any alteration or mutilation of the flag is prohibited and punishable by a fine or imprisonment.

The Pledge of Allegiance

  • Recitation: When reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, stand facing the flag with your right hand over your heart. Men should remove any non-religious headwear and hold it at their left shoulder.

Display Guidelines

  • Daily Display: The flag should be displayed daily on or near public buildings, schools, and polling places.

  • Specific Days: It's particularly important to display the flag on key national holidays such as Independence Day, Veterans Day, and, of course, Flag Day.

Display Positions

  • Processions: When carried in a procession, the flag should be to the right or in front of the center line.

  • Parades and Vehicles: The flag should be displayed from a staff and should not be draped over vehicles or floats.

  • Building Display: When displayed on a building, the union (blue field) should be at the peak of the staff.

Respecting the Flag

  • Handling: The flag should never touch the ground, be used as apparel, bedding, or drapery, or be displayed with the union down, except in cases of dire distress.

  • Disposal: When a flag is no longer fit for display, it should be destroyed in a dignified manner, preferably by burning.

Conduct During Flag Ceremonies

  • Saluting: During hoisting, lowering, or when the flag passes in a parade, individuals in uniform should render a military salute. Others should stand at attention with their right hand over their heart.

Flag Day is more than just a celebration of the flag; it's a reminder of the principles and freedoms it represents. By following these guidelines from the U.S. Flag Code, we show our respect and gratitude for the symbol of our nation's unity and values.

For more detailed information, you can refer to the complete text of the U.S. Flag Code in United States Code Title 4, Chapter 1. Happy Flag Day!


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