June 11, 1996
Flag Day will be upon us in just a few days, next Friday to be precise, and many homes and businesses will want to fly Old Glory then. Do you know the other days when the U. S. flag should be displayed? That's a trick question, of course. The nation's magnificent emblem should be displayed on all days, but there are certain occasions when it is perhaps more appropriate. Here's the list of authorized, official days.:
New Year's Day, January 1; Inauguration Day, January 20; Lincoln's Birthday, February 12; Washington's Birthday, third Monday in February; Easter Sunday, variable; Mother's Day, second Sunday in May; Armed Forces Day, third Saturday in May; Peace Officers Memorial Day, May 15 (unless it conflicts with Armed Forces Day, then May 16); Memorial Day, last Monday in May; Flag Day, June 14; Independence Day, July 4; Labor Day, first Monday in September; Constitution Day, September 17; Columbus Day, second Monday in October; Navy Day, October 27; Veterans Day, November 11; Thanksgiving Day, fourth Thursday in November; National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, December 7; Christmas Day, December 25. On Peace Officers Memorial Day, Memorial Day itself, and on National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day the flag is to be flown at half-staff. On Memorial Day, it may be raised to full staff at noon.
In addition to those occasions, fly the flag on such other days as may be proclaimed by the President of the United States; the birthdays of States (date of admission); and on State holidays. Or just play it safe and display the flag every day of the year. It's OK.
The ten rules for properly flying the flag need to be reviewed periodically. This is a good time to do that, so here they are:
1. The flag is always hoisted briskly and lowered ceremoniously.
2. The flag is never allowed to touch the ground or the floor.
3. When hung over a sidewalk on a rope extending from a building to a pole, the union stars are always away from the building.
4. When vertically hung over the center of the street, the flag always has the union stars to the north in an east/west street, and to the east in a north/south street.
5. The flag of the United States of America should be at the center and at the highest point of the group when a number of flags of States or localities or pennants of societies are grouped and displayed from staffs.
6. The flag should never be festooned, drawn back, nor up, in folds but always allowed to fall free.
7. The flag should be displayed at half-staff until noon on Memorial Day, then raised to the top of the staff.
8. Never fly the flag upside down except as a signal of distress in instances of extreme danger to life or property.
9. The flag is never flown in inclement weather except when using an all-weather flag.
10. The flag can be flown every day from sunrise to sunset and at night if illuminated properly.
While we're on this subject, here's the correct version of the Pledge of Allegiance, just in case it has slipped from your memory. Note especially the punctuation:
"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."
Carefully note the phrasing as indicated by commas in the pledge. Too often we also wrongfully insert a comma after "one Nation..." That's not the way it is supposed to be recited. To give it the correct meaning it is "...one Nation under God Indivisible..." with no pause (or comma) to be inserted between "Nation" and "under."
So, there you have the right way to pay homage to our flag. All information in the above comes directly from the current Federal flag code. It comes to me from the Veterans of Foreign Wars by way of my brother-in-law, a retired U. S. Marine Corps officer who saw duty both on Guadalcanal in World War II and in Korea during that engagement. I know of no one more reliable to supply this kind of information. Save this for future reference, and let's all give Old Glory the respect it has earned, wherever it is displayed.