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Flag Day celebrated by millions of patriotic Americans

by Senior Airman Andrea Thacker
Thunderbolt staff writer
Photo by Senior Airman Andrea Thacker

The flag is flown at half mast at the U.S. Special Operations Command Memorial because of the death of former President Ronald Reagan.

Inspired by three decades of state and local celebrations, Flag Day was celebrated by millions of Americans Friday. The anniversary of the Flag resolution of 1777 was officially established by President Woodrow Wilson's proclamation May 30, 1916. While Flag Day was celebrated in various communities for years after his proclamation, it was not until Aug. 3, 1949, President Truman signed an act of Congress designating June 14 as National Flag Day.

Since Sept. 11, Americans have been buying U.S. flags by the millions and proudly displaying them in windows, on automobiles, on buildings and just about everywhere there is free space to demonstrate we are a country proud of its heritage.

Since this renewed sense of patriotism doesn't seem to be going anywhere anytime soon -- it is important to know the proper rules and customs in displaying and showing respect for our flag today and everyday to come.

Here are some guidelines to follow.

  • The flag should not be displayed on days when weather is inclement.
  • The flag should only fly from sunup to sundown, unless properly illuminated during the hours of darkness.
  • The flag should never be displayed upside down, except as a signal of dire distress in instances of extreme danger to life or property.
  • When the flag is displayed from a staff projecting horizontally or at an angle from the window sill, balcony or front of a building, the union (stars) of the flag should be placed at the peak of the staff.
  • When a flag is used to cover a casket, it should be placed so that the union is at the head and over the left shoulder. The flag should not be lowered to the ground.
  • Displaying the flag on a vehicle

  • The flag should not be displayed on a vehicle's antenna. Instead, use red, white and blue ribbons or streamers.
  • When the flag is displayed on a car, the staff should be fixed firmly to the chassis or clamped to the right fender.
  • Flying the flag at half-staff

  • With the death of former President Reagan, all flags are flying at half staff for a period of 30 days from the date of his death. It is known that as early as 1627 the flying of a flag at half-staff was a sign of mourning, and this custom has continued to present day.
  • When flown at half-staff, the flag should be raised to the peak for an instant and then lowered to the half-staff position and raised to the top again before it is retired for the day.
  • Proper Respect

  • The flag should never touch anything beneath it, such as the ground, floor or water. It should always be allowed to flow free.
  • The flag should never be used as apparel, bedding or drapery.
  • No mark, insignia, letter, word, figure, design, picture or drawing of any nature should be attached to the flag.
  • Proper disposal

  • When a flag is in such a condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, it should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning.




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