The American flag is among the most well-known in the world today. Known as Old glory, the Stars and Stripe and the Star Spangled Banner, the flag appears around the world on embassies and at home flown from the flag poles of government buildings. National flags can legally be flown by local citizens. As a result USA flags grace flag poles across the nation.
There are other issues concerning the flying of USA flags. While many people may be unaware, rules and regulations dictate the handling and usage of the national flag. This type of flag etiquette is governed by Public Law 94-344, otherwise known as the Federal Flag Code.
Basic Flag Etiquette
The Flag Federal Code consists of several rules regarding the display and handling of the flag. According to its regulations the following is applicable:
- Time: Flags must only be displayed from sunrise to sunset each day with certain exceptions. If it is used for patriotic display, it can remain overnight but only if illuminated
- Means: Flags can only be hung openly from a stationary flag pole or staff
- Purpose: Patriotic only but never as a decorative measure
- Disposal: Flags are to be burnt in accordance with specific official rules. They are to first be folded in the appropriate manner, before being placed on the hot fire. Do not put the fire out until complete incineration has occurred
Displaying USA Flags
When it come to displaying the flag, it is important to place it in the right position. The following rules apply:
- Never allow the flag to touch the ground
- Do not hang it upside down except in the case of an emergency
- Never tie the flag back or fasten it. It is to fly free at all times
- Store it in a clean, dry place
- Never use it as anything but a flag
- If you have more than one flag for a single staff, the American flag is always above all others.
- If you have several poles, the USA flag sits to its own right. If there are other national flags, they are flown separately but at the same height.
- If to be flown at half-staff do so only on the appropriate days
Interestingly enough, the Federal Flag Code does not include any penalties for mishandling or abuse of the flag. Any actions such as burning of the flag – a practice common during the protests against the Vietnam War, are covered under the Flag Protection Act of 1989. Any person found in violation of this act can be imprisoned for up to a one year or fined. It has, however, been challenged in court as a violation of the First Amendment as it applies to Free Speech.
If you decide to purchase USA flags for display, you need to be aware of the rules that govern their handling and display. If you have any questions, consult an expert online. Just make sure the information they provide you with is update.
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