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  1. #1
    MembersZone Subscriber Diane E's Avatar
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    Thumbs up American Flag Etiquette

    Since the 4th is approaching, I thought I would share this.

    How to Fly the American Flag
    Basic Flag Etiquette (credit to MSN)

    Let's look at proper etiquette for hanging or displaying the United States flag so we can give Old Glory the respect she deserves.

    Standards for handling and displaying the American flag are set forth by the United States Code, written into law by Congress in 1942. This federal code does not impose penalties for improper handling or misuse of the flag, but states do have laws regarding this, and most of our fellow citizens expect the flag to be treated with respect.

    The U.S. Code is more strict about some aspects of handling the flag than contemporary culture demands—it states, for example, that the flag should not be "printed or otherwise impressed on paper napkins or boxes or anything that is designed for temporary use and discard." Our society has interpreted some of the rules rather loosely because we're enthusiastic about displaying our national symbol. Nevertheless, some important rules of decorum should be followed.

    Here are the basics:

    Ideally, an American flag on your house should hang from a staff that angles out from the front wall, a windowsill, or balcony. It's a good idea to screw a bracket made for holding a flagstaff to the trim. Fasten it securely so it won't become soiled or damaged. Do not allow the flag to touch the ground, floor, water, or anything else beneath it. It's also appropriate to hang the flag from a horizontal staff.

    Whether the flag hangs from an angled or horizontal staff, be sure the union or canton (the rectangle with the stars) is at the peak. (Hanging the flag with the union down signals extreme distress.) When our President declares the flag to be flown at half-staff, it is acceptable to hang the flag from a horizontal staff with the union down, though your neighbors may not understand why you're doing this.

    When the flag is displayed either horizontally or vertically against a wall, the union should be at the top and to your left. When displayed in a window, the flag should be hung so that the union is on the left when you see it from the street.

    The American flag is meant to be a flag; don't use it for any other purpose. For example, don't use it as drapery, ceiling decoration, or as a bed spread. And never use it as a receptacle for carrying or holding anything.

    Though it is customary to fly the flag from sunrise to sunset, the U.S. Code says that "when a patriotic effect is desired," you can display it around the clock. If you do, you should illuminate it with a light.

    If you display the American flag next to other flags or pennants, place it on the right side of a single flag or at the center of a group and slightly higher than the other flags. If an American flag is on the same staff as other flags, it should always be at the top. The gist is that other flags should not be in positions of greater prominence or honor.

    When displayed from a car, the flagstaff should be fixed or clamped firmly to the vehicle, ideally on the right side. The flag should not be draped over the hood, top, sides, or back. The same holds true for a flag displayed on a float in a parade. Don't carry the flag flat or horizontally. And, because it is not meant to be apparel, do not wear a United States flag. If you wear a lapel flag, pin it on the left side, near your heart.

    Why bother with flag etiquette when you're excited about flying the Stars and Stripes? I figure that, for more than two hundred years, our country's military, firefighters, police, and other service personnel have practiced these measures faithfully, treating our flag with the highest esteem. This is one way we can meet the high standard they have set.

    Have a safe 4th!


  2. #2
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    Good post, diane. I see alot of people out there that could use this as a reminder.
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  3. #3
    District Chief distchief60b's Avatar
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    I have mine hanging on the wall outside with an fire helmet on each side.
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
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    MembersZone Subscriber CJMinick390's Avatar
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    Thanks, Diane.
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    Sr. Information Officer NJFFSA16's Avatar
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    Thumbs up



    AND....FLY IT PROUDLY THIS INDEPENDENCE DAY!
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  6. #6
    Forum Member thefyreman's Avatar
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    Default THANKS!

    Great post Diane.

    I agree with Tanker5117, too many blokes out there need a little reminder - I'm getting really frustrated seeing people driving around with tattered, dirty american flags on their car - Is that a proper display of patriotism!? And if you walk through a department store lately, you see all kinds of misuse of the flag - it's too bad people have forgotten what reverence and respect the symbol of our country deserves

    Anyways, happy Independence Day all!
    - Remember our brothers in FDNY -

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    Senior Member Smoke286's Avatar
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    You know ,to an outsider it seems thet the entire US is obsessed with flags, I'm not just talking subsequent to 9/11 either. I'm really not aware of another nation that treats its flag with such veneration. I'm not knocking it, just remarking that it seems to be a uniquely American trait.

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    Senior Member FDNYRR's Avatar
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    Wink Hummmm..........?

    SMOKE286: Maybe the fact that we had to fight to get it might enter the equation?
    Maybe also it is the target of every low-life around the World, why shouldn't "we" at least honor it?
    "All gave some...Some gave all!"
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  9. #9
    Forum Member MetalMedic's Avatar
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    I am always confused when I am charged with placing flags at a head table for a meeting. The U.S. Flag is to be to the "right"... does that mean the right as you face the front of the room, or to the flag's right as it would view the audience?

    As for our obsession with the flag, I am sure it goes along with many things. The U.S. Flag has always been our "Battle Flag" and in and of itself represents every single American who died fighting for the freedom the flag represents. It is the most recognized symbol to the world of the longest existing democracy on earth. Each day the flag absorbs more meaning as it embodies the history of this nation.
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  10. #10
    Senior Member Smoke286's Avatar
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    I think somehow you miss my point, or perhaps I'm not explaining it proprerly. I understand the patriotic aspect of american culture, after all one only has to watch a few movies to become familiar with it. Other nations are also extremely patriotic, but they dont seem to focus this patriotism on their flags as much as the US does. Thats all I'm saying.

  11. #11
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    The US flag should be placed, so when you're looking at it from the audience, to the left.
    BC

    We fight what you fear

  12. #12
    Forum Member codeblue81's Avatar
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    Default Excellent post

    My fiancee and I close on our new home tomorrow and putting up a 12' foot flag pole is the FIRST thing I plan on doing with it.

    code_blue81
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  13. #13
    Forum Member Co11FireGal's Avatar
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    Originally posted by HCFM2610
    The US flag should be placed, so when you're looking at it from the audience, to the left.
    This very issue drives us all crazy at the station when setting up our social hall. We were told that the flag normally goes to the left as you are facing it, but if someone is up front speaking, it goes to their left. Is this true?

  14. #14
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    Originally posted by Co11FireGal


    This very issue drives us all crazy at the station when setting up our social hall. We were told that the flag normally goes to the left as you are facing it, but if someone is up front speaking, it goes to their left. Is this true?
    No this is wrong. Always try to remember that the flag is always placed to the "Speakers" right. The "right" is always the stages or speakers right looking toward the seating area. This holds true for flag poles outside buildings. The US flag is on the buildings right which means it is on the left pole when looking toward the building. Hope this clears things up.

  15. #15
    Forum Member Raughammer1's Avatar
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    Smile

    *bump*, because it bears repeating.

    Cheers.

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    Yes, but the associated debates do not. If, anything constructive ever came of them, perhaps, they would be healthy. But such debates only ever end in further division of the forum community, as everyone seems to be pretty steadfast in their opinions. Sometimes they turn downright hateful, as each side attempts to skew and spin the comments of the other. Compromise is far off and often never a goal.

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  17. #17
    Forum Member DeputyMarshal's Avatar
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    If we're going to bump this may I suggest a more authoritative source than MSN?

    Here's Cornell Law's online version of the actual text of the Flag Code from 4 USC:

    http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/ht...01_4_10_1.html
    "Nemo Plus Voluptatis Quam Nos Habant"

    The Code is more what you'd call "guidelines" than actual rules.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smokeetr4 View Post
    No this is wrong. Always try to remember that the flag is always placed to the "Speakers" right. The "right" is always the stages or speakers right looking toward the seating area. This holds true for flag poles outside buildings. The US flag is on the buildings right which means it is on the left pole when looking toward the building. Hope this clears things up.
    Not only should it be on the right, no flag should ever fly higher than the American flag either. Remember that if you have multiple flags, the the American flags goes on the right and then the state flag, local etc. If there are multiple state flags for some reason, I believe they go alphabetically. Also, the eagle finial is supposed to be reserved for the American flag as well. I know that there are some other flags that have dedicated finials also.
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    Quote Originally Posted by jbrescue View Post
    Not only should it be on the right, no flag should ever fly higher than the American flag either. Remember that if you have multiple flags, the the American flags goes on the right and then the state flag, local etc. If there are multiple state flags for some reason, I believe they go alphabetically. Also, the eagle finial is supposed to be reserved for the American flag as well. I know that there are some other flags that have dedicated finials also.
    Just for fun I sometimes fly the Republic of Texas flag above the Stars and Stripes. Who needs you anyway. Only kidding. No really - check our GNP. We never have needed the U.S. Especially with Cheney. Really, I am only joking. I am an ex-patriate Texan surviving in the first State to secede. At least we were a Republic. Anyway I constantly see violations to the Flag Code in my area and it usually is tattered and constantly flown flags. The biggest problem is the laziness of displaying our flag at all. Once it is up it stays up.
    Thank you though for putting flag etiquette out there.

  20. #20
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    Thumbs up

    Here in NE, we have so many “football nuts” that they think the “Big Red” flag should fly as high as the Stars & Stripes. Imagine actually not knowing any better than to put a college football team flag on equal footing with the American flag. (Idiots)

    I have another great flag for you that goes back to Revolutionary days. Live by it. TL
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