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DISPLAYING THE FLAG PROPERLY
"The Flag Code does not prescribe any penalties for non-compliance nor does it include any enforcement provisions, rather it functions simply as a guide for voluntary civilian compliance."
Because the U.S. Flag is the symbol of our country, it should always be displayed in the most prominent, most honored position. No other flag should ever appear more important.
On a Wall: When the flag is displayed on a wall, it should be displayed with the union uppermost and to the observer's left.
In Multi-National Flag Displays: In the United States, the U.S. Flag is to be displayed first—to "its own right"—followed by the flags of all other countries (at equal height and in alphabetical order) to the left (observer's right) of the U.S. Flag.
Among Subordinate Flags: When the U.S. Flag is among a group of subordinate flags, the U.S. Flag should be at the center and the highest point—the position of prominence.
Displayed From a Staff: When displayed from a staff, the flag should hold the position of superior prominence, in advance of the audience, and to the speaker's right (facing the audience). If other flags are also displayed, they should be displayed to the speaker's left.
On a Pole: When several flags are flown from the same pole, the U.S. Flag should always be at the top—except during church services by naval chaplains at sea when the church pennant may be flown above the U.S. Flag on the ships mast.
On a Lapel: When the flag is displayed as a lapel pin, it should be worn on the left lapel—near the heart.
Among Peers: When flags from two or more nations are displayed, the flag code forbids the display of any nation's flag in a position superior to another in time of peace. Therefore, each flag should be of approximately equal size and flown at the same height.
United Nations Headquarters Buildingin New York City, where the U.N. Flag holds the most prominent position, is the only U.S. location exempt from this provision.
Parades and Reviews: In parades or reviews, at the moment the flag passes, all non-uniformed persons should stand at attention facing the flag with their right hands over their hearts. Persons in uniform should face the flag and render the military salute.
Processions: In processions, the flag should be to the right of the marchers. When other flags are included, the U.S. Flag should be centered in front of the others or carried to their right.
Memorials, Burials, and Funerals: During these services, the flag should lay over the casket with the blue field covering the head and left shoulder. The flag must not be lowered into the grave or allowed to touch the ground at anytime.
The "Star Spangled Banner" was written in 1814 by Francis Scott Key and declared the national anthem in 1931. When the anthem is played or sung, citizens should stand and face the flag to show their respect for the
United States. A non-uniformed person wearing a hat must remove it with the right hand and hold it against the left shoulder, right hand resting over the heart. Those in uniform must stand at attention and salute the flag. (Note: If the flag is not displayed, face the music instead.)
Pledge of Allegiance
"I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."
Whenever the Pledge of Allegiance is recited, all non-uniformed persons should stand at attention facing the flag with their right hands over their hearts. Persons in uniform should remain silent, face the flag and render the military salute.
Flying the Flag at Half Staff
Flying the U.S. Flag at half-staff, or on a ship at half-mast, is an honored tradition which signifies that the nation is in mourning due to the death of a prominent citizen. In 1976, when the flag code was amended, changes were incorporated concerning whose death meets the criteria befitting a half-staff display. These changes make it difficult to define the half-staff criteria clearly and concisely.
However, generally speaking, the flag code dictates that the U.S. Flag be flown at half-staff only upon the death of principal figures of the U.S. government and the governor of a state, territory, or possession, as a mark of respect to their memory. (Note: For specific information concerning the limited additions to this general provision, please refer to the flag code.)
When desiring to honor someone who has died but for whom a half-staff display is not appropriate, the National Flag Foundation recommends adhering to the flag code by lowering private flags to half-staff (e.g., corporate, fraternal, military, etc.). This substitution of flags preserves the integrity of the "nation in mourning" distinction while allowing appropriate mourning for the deceased.
To position the flag at half-staff, first hoist the flag to the peak of the staff for an instant before lowering it to the half-staff position — roughly hallway between the top and bottom of the staff. Before lowering it for the day, raise the flag again to the peak for an instant.
History of the Flag
The Flag of the United States of America is one of the oldest of the national standards of the world: older than the Union Jack of Great Britain or the Tricolor of France.
During the early days of the Revolutionary War a variety of flags were used by the different colonies and military commands. Prominent among these were the "Pine Tree" and “Rattlesnake” flags with various arrangements and mottoes.
Late in 1775 a committee of Congress with Benjamin Franklin at the head, after consulting with Washington, then in command of the army at Cambridge, decided upon the form for a new flag. This flag consisted of thirteen stripes, red and white, with the crosses of St. George and St. Andrew on a blue field in the canton or union.
During 1776 and 1777 a number of flags with thirteen stripes came into use and the need of a definite national emblem was realized. On June 14,1777, Congress passed an act stating “That the Flag of the thirteen United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white, that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation." This was the birthday of the Flag as we now know it and June 14 is now celebrated as "Flag Day". This flag remained the national standard until 1795. This first display of the Stars and Stripes by the Continental Army was when the Flag was hoisted over Fort Stanwix, New York, on August 3,1777.
BETSY ROSS FLAG
In the meantime Vermont and Kentucky had become states, and on January 13, 1794, Congress voted that the Flag should have fifteen stripes and fifteen stars. This Flag remained in use for twenty three years, and it was The Star-Spangled Banner" of which Francis Scott Key wrote in 1814.
In April, 1818, Congress passed an act providing that the Flag should have the thirteen horizontal stripes, alternate red and white, and that the union should display twenty stars, representing the number of states then in the Union. It also provided that on the admission of every new state to the Union a star should be added on the following July 4th and this has been the regulation ever since, accounting for the number of stars now shown.
Folding the Flag
To properly fold the U.S. Flag, follow these steps:
- Two people face each other, each holding one end of the flag. Stretch it horizontally at waist height and fold in half lengthwise.
- Fold the flag in half lengthwise again; the union (blue field) should be on the outside with edges held together.
- One person holds the flag by the union while the other starts at the opposite end by making a triangular fold.
- Continue to fold in triangles until the flag resembles a cocked hat with only the blue field showing.
Veterans of Foreign Wars Flag Education Sites
Betsy Ross Old Glory Pledge of Allegiance Our National Anthem Flag Day Sponsor a Flag Flag Etiquette Flag Questions & Answers Flag Disposal U.S. Flag Code Flag Disposal Ceremony How to Fold a Flag (pdf)
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These pages are from the people of Graham County, North Carolina.
For additional information on Graham County Adventures
the Travel and Tourism Authority or
go to the Visitors Information Center of the Travel and Tourism Authority Webpage
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This page is maintained by Tom Livingston, Robbinsville, North Carolina