1. #1
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    Default Reverse Field Flag

    I'm sure that this topic has been covered on there before, but my searches yielded no results.

    The flag code states:

    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.
    Most explanations of this go on to note that the Military uses the "reverse field flag" (union to the right) on the right sleeves of their combat uniforms to show that the soldier is moving forward into battle, but it is not part of the actual flag code. Furthermore, flags on airplanes and other vehicles use a "right flag" or "reverse flag" on their right side, since the vehicle - and therefore the flag - may be in motion.

    My impression has always been that our uniforms should still use a standard flag patch on our right sleeve (if a flag is used), and the reverse field flag is only appropriate for the military. However, I have heard it argued that we should use the reverse flag on our work uniforms.

    What is your department's standard, or your personal interpretation of this issue?

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    my current dept doesn't have a flag. my previous one used the reverse field flag.

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    I've always been told that the "stars should always lead the soldier into battle," so the reverse would be appropriate. Neither of my departments wear a flag, so it's a moot point for us.
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    For a very brief period, Memphis has reverse flags on the right sleeve. It looked so odd that the obvious answer was just to move the flag to the left sleeve and the department patch to the right so that the flag remains true to the stars to the front and also just "looks right."

    It remains that way today except where companies have an individual patch and can wear it in lieu of the flag if desired.
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    As a volunteer department, we only wear our dress uniforms on special occasions. However, our uniform shirts do have the reversed flag on the right shoulder (my own decision). I can understand the "moving forward into battle" interpretation, but I've also heard it interpreted as the blue field should be nearest to the heart.
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    Our flags are on the left sleeve. I've always heard it as the wearer's midline is considered the "pole" when a flag is worn on the uniform and that the reverse field on the right is the appropriate way of wearing the flag. Much like the midline of a plane or vehicle would be the "pole" and the reverse field is appropriate in those cases, as well.

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    The flag code does not specifically mention the proper position of a flag patch, but the passage below covers it.

    175. Position and manner of display

    (i) When displayed either horizontally or vertically against a wall, the union should be uppermost and to the flag's own right, that is, to the observer's left.


    In this case, the "wall" is the wearer. For anyone who disagrees with this, the statement applies because when displayed on a uniform or hanging against a wall, the flag is visible from one side only, regardless of the position of the viewer. It is the angles and sides from which the flag can be viewed that dictates how it is displayed. Therefore reverse flag patches are not properly displaying the flag. The "stars foreward" and "person being the pole" ideas are not mentioned in the flag code, so they are not official policy, and sound to me like rationalizations.

    The normal flag patch can be worn on either shoulder according to the flag code, but if you would like to maintain the "stars forward" look, just put it on your left shoulder.

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    Quote Originally Posted by KB1OEV View Post
    Therefore reverse flag patches are not properly displaying the flag.
    I can appreciate the point you're making here... but why don't you ring the Pentagon and tell 'em they've goofed.

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    As long as the said flag is properly maintained and not permantly stained and worn on the uniform and complies with the rules, I love it.
    Last edited by CALFFBOU; 02-02-2009 at 03:29 PM.

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    Default Reverse Flag

    I'll follow the Military lead on this one and go with their example for the reverse style, but as far as FD's, I understand the left shoulder, right shoulder protocol as follows.

    Left Shoulder = nearest the heart, this is your department patch location and flag is located on the right shoulder.

    Left Shoulder = nearest to the heart, if Company Patch is worn with department patch on right ( FDNY style) no flag displayed

    Left shoulder = No department patch, flag displayed on left shoulder.

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    Union to the front always.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cozmosis View Post
    I can appreciate the point you're making here... but why don't you ring the Pentagon and tell 'em they've goofed.
    I'm just working off what is written in the flag code. The govt will do what they want as they always do. Of course the people in charge of maintaining the flag code are probably fairly insignifigant compared to the other operations going on in DC.

    I don't go around telling people they are wearing the flag improperly, but the question was asked so I tried to work through it as methodically and thoroughly as possible, using the correct source.

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    We too have a reverse field (worn on the right sleeve). However I have heard this was so the field could be closer to the heart of the person wearing it.

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    You can compare this to a flag flying in the breeze on a flagpole. If you look at one side the union is on the left. If you walk around to the other side the union is now on the right. In this case (I would think) the person wearing the flag on a sleeve is the flagpole.

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    ......................
    Last edited by jasper45; 02-05-2009 at 07:09 AM. Reason: sanity of the forum!!

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    When displayed/worn, the field of blue is always forward.
    Plain and simple.

    Right side of a vehicle/aircraft/arm the flag will appear backwards.

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    Thanks for the interesting perspectives.

    I agree with the logic behind the way the military wears their flags (not that I would argue with them anyway!).

    So I guess I am looking to break it down between one of these three answers:

    1. It is only appropriate for the military to wear the reverse field flag, because they are the only true case of "stars leading the soldier into battle".

    OR

    2. It is also appropriate for firefighters (and LEOs) to wear the reverse field flag, because the "stars should lead the soldier into battle", in this case with the soldier being the firefighter, and the battle being the fire/incident. (or is this presumptuous of us, and disrespectful to combat soldiers?)

    OR

    3. It is appropriate for any person wearing a flag on their right sleeve to have the reverse field flag, because (as ffbam states) "When displayed/worn, the field of blue is always forward. Plain and simple." In this case, the reverse field flag would actually be less of the "stars leading the soldier into battle", but more with the stars leading any moving object, because the flag is blowing behind them.


    I'm not trying to nit pick here, but I just want to make sure that both the flag and the military are respected properly, if we're going to wear the flag at all.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BlitzfireSolo View Post
    Thanks for the interesting perspectives.

    I agree with the logic behind the way the military wears their flags (not that I would argue with them anyway!).

    So I guess I am looking to break it down between one of these three answers:

    1. It is only appropriate for the military to wear the reverse field flag, because they are the only true case of "stars leading the soldier into battle".

    OR

    2. It is also appropriate for firefighters (and LEOs) to wear the reverse field flag, because the "stars should lead the soldier into battle", in this case with the soldier being the firefighter, and the battle being the fire/incident. (or is this presumptuous of us, and disrespectful to combat soldiers?)

    OR

    3. It is appropriate for any person wearing a flag on their right sleeve to have the reverse field flag, because (as ffbam states) "When displayed/worn, the field of blue is always forward. Plain and simple." In this case, the reverse field flag would actually be less of the "stars leading the soldier into battle", but more with the stars leading any moving object, because the flag is blowing behind them.


    I'm not trying to nit pick here, but I just want to make sure that both the flag and the military are respected properly, if we're going to wear the flag at all.
    If it were my guys and we were putting the flag on the right shoulder, it would be with the reverse field flag. We are uniformed personnel, like military personnel, and I think we should conform to those standards. Just my opinion.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cozmosis View Post
    I can appreciate the point you're making here... but why don't you ring the Pentagon and tell 'em they've goofed.
    Quote Originally Posted by KB1OEV View Post
    I'm just working off what is written in the flag code. The govt will do what they want as they always do. Of course the people in charge of maintaining the flag code are probably fairly insignifigant compared to the other operations going on in DC.
    Keep in mind the Pentagon isn't even in DC...

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    flag code never really states how to display the flag on a person. I find it hard to believe people and walls are the same.


    Field of blue to the front seems to be a good common principle in display of the flag. But let it be noted I like the way the reversed field flag looks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jasper45 View Post
    http://www4.army.mil/OCPA/uploads/large/2006/CSA-2006-11-01-094040.jpg
    Got a bigger picture to post there Jasper?

    That flag is really tactical.
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    It is nice that we have a Flag Code to give guidence. However that is all it is, it is guidance, there is absolutely no authority to enforce it, and no punishment provided anyhow, and this was done intentionally to preserve the First Amendment.

    If you wanted to strictly go by the flag code, then the Flag patch should only be on the left shoulder as it is closer to the heart, just slightly anotomically speaking. Thus a "reverse field patch" is never really needed. However, since the code is unenforceable, it really is at the discreation of the entity using it. There is no U.S. Federal Office of Flag Code Enforcement. And God help us if there ever is such a thing.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DennisTheMenace View Post
    Got a bigger picture to post there Jasper?


    Could it ever be too big?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Catch22 View Post
    If it were my guys and we were putting the flag on the right shoulder, it would be with the reverse field flag. We are uniformed personnel, like military personnel, and I think we should conform to those standards. Just my opinion.

    Didn't I see you in the thread about a drum major rendering personal honors to President Obama during the Inauguration Pee-rade?That thread was about if we were or were not subject to military style discipline,if you weren't.
    I agree with you and others about the blue field being in front.Can't say that I have a link to prove it but it is legal to wear the flag on the right shoulder with the union forward.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DennisTheMenace View Post
    Got a bigger picture to post there Jasper?

    That flag is really tactical.
    When a warship of the United States goes into combat,the signalmen are supposed to break out the largest US Ensign(a flag,not the most junior officer onboard)in the flag bag and bend it to the halyards.
    This is so whoever will be shooting back will know without a doubt just who it is that they strapped on in battle.

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