7 Things you Should Never do to the American Flag
June 14 is Flag Day, so we thought it would be the perfect time to list 7 things you might not know are actually disrespectful to do with the American flag.
The United States has an official "Flag Code" that citizens are supposed to follow when displaying or handling the American Flag. Technically, the code is federal law. However, the Supreme Court has ruled that punishment for not following the flag code would be against the first amendment right for freedom of speech.
USFlag.org has compiled the list of flag guidelines which are extensive and probably contain some rules you may not be aware of.
The flag should never be used in any advertising
According to federal law, the American flag should not be used to sell merchandise. If there's a flag in an ad or commercial, it's technically against the flag code.
You can't sit on a flag or blow your nose with it
Of course it would be wrong to use the flag as a handkerchief... but putting the image of a flag on your handkerchief is also forbidden. In addition, seat cushions, napkins, boxes, or anything intended to be discarded after temporary use should never have the image of the flag on it.
The flag should never be used as a decoration
Using a flag for drapery, or for covering the front of a desk or podium is against the flag code. In fact, using the flag for any decoration is forbidden. Red, white and blue bunting is supposed to be used instead. And, according to the guidelines, blue should always go on top.
Captain America can't wear the flag
The flag is not to be worn as a costume or draped on one's body. It also should never be worn as part of an athletic uniform. The only flags that can be worn are on the uniforms of military personnel, fireman, policeman and members of patriotic organizations. As for Captain America, that's not really a flag... so he's fine.
Burning the flag is encouraged
If a flag is worn and no longer in good condition, it is supposed to be burned during a "dignified flag burning ceremony." It is disrespectful to bury or throw out a flag. Most flag burning ceremonies actually take place on Flag Day and are conducted by Boy Scout troops, American Legion posts and other patriotic organizations.
When lowering a flag from half staff, you should go always go full staff first
The flag can be flown at half staff only by presidential or gubernatorial order. It is a sign of mourning and taken very seriously. But at the end of the day, when a half-staff flag is lowered, it should first be brought up to the top of the flagpole before being brought down again. Oh, and whenever the flag is ever raised or lowered, it needs to be saluted the entire way up and down.
Every flag you see at a parade should be saluted
Next time you're at a parade, remember that the flag code requires onlookers to stand and salute every flag that is presented. That means every flag carried by each Boy Scout troop, marching band and fire department should be recognized. If you want to properly honor the flag the next time you're at a parade you may want to leave your camping chair in the car... because you're going to do a lot of standing!
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