Old Glory
Flickr / mrsdkrebs

It might not be a well known as the Fourth of July, but Flag Day is coming up later in the week, and if you have a flag, now's as good a time as any to get her ready to fly.

Flag Day probably got its start back in the late 1880s, usually as an event for schoolchildren.  June 14th was chosen because that's the anniversary of the adoption of the Stars and Stripes as America's banner.  President Woodrow Wilson first recognized Flag Day on a national level back in 1916, but it wasn't until 1949 when Harry Truman signed a Congressional act officially declaring June 14 as Flag Day.  If you want, you can read the full story of Flag Day's history.

But if you're going to fly the red, white and blue, there are a few things you need to remember.  If you're going to honor Old Glory, make sure you honor her the right way.  USFlag.org reminds us how to handle things:

When the flag is displayed from a staff projecting from a window, balcony, or a building, the union should be at the peak of the staff unless the flag is at half staff.

When it is displayed from the same flagpole with another flag - of a state, community, society or Scout unit - the flag of the United States must always be at the top except that the church pennant may be flown above the flag during church services for Navy personnel when conducted by a Naval chaplain on a ship at sea.

When the flag is displayed over a street, it should be hung vertically, with the union to the north or east. If the flag is suspended over a sidewalk, the flag's union should be farthest from the building.

When flown with flags of states, communities, or societies on separate flag poles which are of the same height and in a straight line, the flag of the United States is always placed in the position of honor - to its own right. The other flags may be smaller but none may be larger.  No other flag ever should be placed above it.  The flag of the United States is always the first flag raised and the last to be lowered.

When flown with the national banner of other countries, each flag must be displayed from a separate pole of the same height. Each flag should be the same size. They should be raised and lowered simultaneously. The flag of one nation may not be displayed above that of another nation.


And, if you're going to celebrate our American colors, there are some things you shouldn't do:


  • The flag should never be dipped to any person or thing. It is flown upside down only as a distress signal.
  • The flag should not be used as a drapery, or for covering a speakers desk, draping a platform, or for any decoration in general. Bunting of blue, white and red stripes is available for these purposes. The blue stripe of the bunting should be on the top.
  • The flag should never be used for any advertising purpose. It should not be embroidered, printed or otherwise impressed on such articles as cushions, handkerchiefs, napkins, boxes, or anything intended to be discarded after temporary use. Advertising signs should not be attached to the staff or halyard
  • The flag should not be used as part of a costume or athletic uniform, except that a flag patch may be used on the uniform of military personnel, fireman, policeman and members of patriotic organizations.
  • The flag should never have placed on it, or attached to it, any mark, insignia, letter, word, number, figure, or drawing of any kind.
  • The flag should never be used as a receptacle for receiving, holding, carrying, or delivering anything.


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