THE AMERICAN'S CREED "I believe in the United States of America as a government of the people, by the people, for the people; whose just powers are derived from the consent of the governed; a democracy in a republic, a sovereign nation of many sovereign states; a perfect union, one and inseparable; established upon those principles of freedom, equality, justice, and humanity for which American patriots sacrifice their lives and fortunes. I therefore believe it is my duty to my country to love it; to support its constitution; to obey its laws; to respect its flag; and to defend it against all enemies."
The following are just some of the rules outlined in the United States Flag Code on the proper time and place to display the flag.
(a) 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.
(b) The flag should be hoisted briskly and lowered ceremoniously.
(c) The flag should not be displayed on days when the weather is inclement, except when an all-weather flag is displayed.
(d) The flag should be displayed on all days, especially on National and State holidays.
(e) The flag should be displayed daily on or near the main administration building of every public institution.
(f) The flag should be displayed in or near every polling place on election days.
(g) The flag should be displayed during school days in or near every schoolhouse.
The following are rules on proper respect of the American Flag.
(a) The flag should never be displayed with the union down, except as a signal of dire distress in instances of extreme danger to life or property.
(b) The flag should never touch anything beneath it, such as the ground, the floor, water, or merchandise.
(c) The flag should never be carried flat or horizontally, but always aloft and free.
(d) The flag should never be used as wearing apparel, bedding, or drapery. It should never be festooned, drawn back, nor up, in folds, but always allowed to fall free. Bunting of blue, white, and red, always arranged with the blue above, the white in the middle, and the red below, should be used for covering a speaker's desk, draping the front of the platform, and for decoration in general.
(e) The flag should never be fastened, displayed, used, or stored in such a manner as to permit it to be easily torn, soiled, or damaged in any way.
(f) The flag should never be used as a covering for a ceiling.
(g) The flag should never have placed upon it, nor on any part of it, nor attached to it any mark, insignia, letter, word, figure, design, picture, or drawing of any nature.
(h) The flag should never be used as a receptacle for receiving, holding, carrying, or delivering anything.
(i) The flag should never be used for advertising purposes in any manner whatsoever. It should not be embroidered on such articles as cushions or handkerchiefs and the like, printed or otherwise impressed on paper napkins or boxes or anything that is designed for temporary use and discard. Advertising signs should not be fastened to a staff or halyard from which the flag is flown.
(j) 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.
(k) 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.
HOW TO OBTAIN A BURIAL FLAG FOR A VETERAN Any honorably discharged veteran is entitled to a burial flag. The funeral director, as part of the services, will make the necessary arrangements for the family on behalf of the veteran. The flag may be used to cover the casket and it is presented to the family as a keepsake. The local office of the Department of Veterans' Affairs can also provide information on the procedure for obtaining a flag for a deceased veteran.
FLAG DAY Each year on June 14, we celebrate the birthday of the Stars and Stripes, which came into being on June 14, 1777. At the time, the Second Continental Congress authorized a new flag to symbolize the new Nation, the United States of America. The Stars and Stripes first flew in a Flag Day celebration in Hartford, Connecticut in 1861, during the first summer of the Civil War. The first national observance of Flag Day occurred June 14, 1877, the centennial of the original flag resolution. By the mid 1890's the observance of Flag Day on June 14 was a popular event. Mayors and governors began to issue proclamations in their jurisdiction to celebrate this event. In the years to follow, public sentiment for a national Flag Day observance greatly intensified. Numerous patriotic societies and veterans groups became identified with the Flag Day movement. Since their main objective was to stimulate patriotism among the young, schools were the first to become involved in flag activities. In 1916 President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation calling for a nationwide observance of Flag Day on June 14. It was not until 1949 that Congress made this day a permanent observance by resolving "that the 14th of June of each year is hereby designated as Flag Day..." The measure was signed into law by President Harry Truman. Although Flag Day is not celebrated as a Federal holiday, Americans everywhere continue to honor the history and heritage it represents.
For more information on flag etiquette, please go to http://www.americanflags.org
Information on this page taken from the book "Our Flag" Washington D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1989.