The American flag is the most recognized symbol of the United States. As we recently recognized Memorial Day in various locations in Valencia County, many flags were displayed at half-staff from sunrise until noon.
On June 14, 1777, the Second Continental Congress designated a banner — of 13 alternating red and white stripes, with 13 stars in a blue field in the upper left quadrant — to be the national flag of the United States of America. In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed June 14 as the official date for Flag Day.
While we see flags displayed throughout our county, many are displayed improperly. There are rules — The Flag Code — that codifies how to display our flag correctly and respectfully, and how it should not be displayed.
The following are a few guidelines for displaying the flag:
- Traditional guidelines call for displaying the flag in public only from sunrise to sunset. However, the flag may be displayed at all times if it’s illuminated during darkness.
- The flag should not be subject to weather damage, so it should not be displayed during rain, snow and wind storms unless it is an all-weather flag.
- The flag should be displayed often, but especially on national and state holidays and special occasions.
- The flag may be flown at half-staff to honor a newly deceased federal or state government official by order of the president or the governor, respectively.
- The length of time for flying the flag at half-staff depends on the office the person held: 30 days after the death of a president of former president; 10 days after the death of the vice precedent, chief justice, retired chief justice or speaker of the house; until the burial of an associate justice, secretary of a military department, former vice president or the governor of a state; on the day an day after the death of a member of Congress; and on Memorial Day, in honor of all those who died serving the country.
- The flag is folded in a unique way that recalls the triangular hats worn during the American Revolution. In the military flag folding ceremony, it is folded 12 times and each has a meaning.
- The flag can be hung flat against a wall, either vertically or horizontally. Either way, the union or canton — where the stars are — should always be on the flag’s right and the viewer’s left.
- On your car, attach a flag to the right fender or chassis. Although not officially recognized, many people attach a small flag to the antenna. It should always be on the right side of the car.
- When the flag moves past you in a parade or procession, place your hand over your heart when it is about six steps away.
- When your flag is no longer in a condition to be displayed, it should be destroyed in a dignified way. Our local VFW posts provide this service.
Flag Day will be celebrated next Wednesday here and throughout the United States. There are many ways to show pride for our country, and we encourage everyone in Valencia County to properly display American flags around your homes and businesses.
For more information about flag etiquette and history, visit nationalflagfoundation.org.
The Valencia County News-Bulletin is a locally owned and operated community newspaper, dedicated to serving Valencia County since 1910 through the highest journalistic and professional business standards. The VCNB is published weekly on Thursdays, including holidays both in print and online.