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Sitting Down at Fourth of July Parade Considered Disrespectful

Ben Sklar /Getty Images
Ben Sklar /Getty Images

If you’re attending any of the local parades scheduled for the Fourth of July you might as well leave your chair at home.

There are quite a few parades planned for the Hudson Valley this year, including the annual Hyde Park Fourth of July Parade which sees thousands of people lining Route 9 to celebrate America’s independence.

Many people in attendance at the parade, however, are being disrespectful to our country without even realizing it. If you, like many other attendees, are expecting to bring a camping chair, you might be shocked to learn that by sitting down you’re in violation of the U.S. flag code.

According to the flag code, which was established by the federal government in 1923 to make sure Old Glory is properly displayed and respected, Americans should be standing up whenever a flag passes. That’s right; every single flag. And if you’ve ever been to the Fourth of July parade, that’s a heck of a lot of flags. The exact wording from the code is this:

When the flag is passing in a parade or in review, all persons present except those in uniform should face the flag and stand at attention with the right hand over the heart. Those present in uniform should render the military salute.

During a parade where almost every group is holding the flag this rule may seem pretty ridiculous. But, in contrast, many who have served our country and have family member show have sacrificed their lives for freedom believe it’s a small price to pay to show respect for the flag.

Of course, no one is going to get arrested for sitting down when the flag passes. In 1990 it was ruled by the Supreme Court that enforcing the flag code was a violation of the first amendment.  However, sitting down at the parade is something that may be considered disrespectful by other people in attendance.

Whether you decide to stand or not is entirely up to you, but now that you know the rules you may want to think twice before packing that chair.


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