In respect to our National Observance of Flag Day, there’s a flurry of thoughts and ideas that come to mind as I think about what our nation’s flag has meant to me and continues to mean to me, both as an American citizen and a Veteran.
For generations, our flag has stood as a symbol and reminder to others of the beauty and freedom that this great nation possesses. Within that symbol of freedom, our flag has always inspired me to take hope and courage that no matter what internal troubles and concerns we face as a nation, we are still united under one flag and a tradition of bravery and honor.
Our flag also represents the heroic sacrifices that thousands of brave men and women made for our country, both at home and abroad, over the course of our 200+ year history. It is because of the hard work, determination, blood, sweat, and tears of all generations of American’s that we are able to enjoy the freedoms we have today. Personally, the flag of the United States stands as a representation of all of those dedicated efforts and sacrifices. That is why I have so much respect and adoration for what the flag symbolizes.
National Observance of Flag Day is a time to recognize and honor the ways in which we should properly display the flag. Here are a few highlights of the correct ways that the American Flag should be displayed in accordance with the United States Flag code:
- It is the universal custom to display the flag only from sunrise to sunset on buildings and on stationary flag staffs in the open. However, when a patriotic effect is desired, the flag may be displayed twenty-four hours a day if properly illuminated during the hours of darkness.
- The flag should be hoisted briskly and lowered ceremoniously.
- The flag should not be displayed on days when the weather is inclement, except when an all-weather flag is displayed.
- The flag should never be displayed with the union down, except as a signal of dire distress in instances of extreme danger to life or property.
- The flag should never touch anything beneath it, such as the ground, the floor, water, or merchandise.
- The flag should never be carried flat or horizontally, but always aloft and free.
- The flag should never be used as wearing apparel, bedding, or drapery. It should never be festooned, drawn back, nor up, in folds, but always allowed to fall free.
- The flag should never be fastened, displayed, used, or stored in such a manner as to permit it to be easily torn, soiled, or damaged in any way.
- The flag, when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning. (Disposal of Unserviceable Flags Ceremony)
“This flag, which we honor and under which we serve, is the emblem of our unity, our power, our thought and purpose as a nation. It has no other character than that which we give it from generation to generation. The choices are ours. It floats in majestic silence above the hosts that execute those choices, whether in peace or in war. And yet, though silent, it speaks to us — speaks to us of the past, or the men and women who went before us, and of the records they wrote upon it.” President Woodrow Wilson, 1914
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