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Martinsburg, WV 25401
Flag Etiquette

October 7, 2018

Flag Etiquette

From the “If we knew better we’d do better” department.

I got a call from a longtime resident asking for an article on flag etiquette.  Seems that he and his neighbor, a retired Marine (there are no “former” Marines – once a Marine, always a Marine) were lamenting the lack of respect show our flag around the neighborhood.  I don’t think it is a lack of respect, for the most part, but rather a lack of knowledge on the part of those choosing to display the flag.

Here ae some of the “do’s and don’ts”;

  • Worn or soiled flags should be replaced and the old flag disposed of properly, either by burning or turning it in to a local American Legion chapter.
  • Unless lighted, the flag should only be flown from sunrise to sunset.
  • On Memorial Day the flag should be flown at half-staff until noon and then raised.
  • Don’t dip the U.S. Flag for any person, flag, or vessel.
  • Don’t let the flag touch the ground.
  • Don’t fly flag upside down unless there is an emergency.
  • Don’t carry the flag flat, or carry things in it.
  • Don’t use the flag as clothing.
  • Don’t store the flag where it can get dirty.
  • Don’t use it as a cover.
  • Don’t fasten it or tie it back. Always allow it to fall free.
  • Don’t draw on, or otherwise mark the flag.
  • Don’t use the flag for decoration. Use bunting with the blue on top, then white, then red.
  • The United States Code, Title 36, Chapter 10, states: "The flag should not be displayed on days when the weather is inclement, except when an all-weather flag is displayed."Jun 14, 2011.

The American flag has a blue field with 50 stars called the “Union.”  The colors of the pales (the stripes) used in the flag of the United States of America; White signifies purity and innocence, Red, hardiness & valor, and Blue, the color of the Chief (the broad band above the stripes) signifies vigilance, perseverance & justice.

By the way, when you go to buy your new flag, make sure it was “Made in America!”

For more information on proper flag protocols, see http://www.usflag.org/