Avoiding Flag Faux Pas: Respecting the Flag of the United States of America

Many years ago, on a trip to Washington, D.C., I remember waiting in a long line to see Old Glory. Honestly, I expected to see another U.S. flag, like the many we see in our communities every day. Goodness, was I wrong!

Old Glory is a show-stopper, a behemoth United States flag. I stood in awe, inspired by the hand craftsmanship, albeit tattered by battle, and completely overwhelmed with the emotion of sheer respect for the symbol that still represents our great nation. Being in the presence of Old Glory renewed my appreciation for every single U.S. flag that I have seen since.

Our flag is a symbol that we must continue to protect, hold steadfast and display respectfully, and discuss so that future generations will have the same respect, rights, and freedoms that our flag represents.

The United States flag takes on new meaning when you consider its history and all that it represents. In fact, the flag represents a living country and is itself considered a living thing.

To show respect and honor its legacy, follow proper flag etiquette and avoid flag faux pas:

  1. The flag should not be dipped to any person or thing.

  2. The flag should never be displayed with the union down (section with the stars), except as a signal of dire distress in instances of extreme danger to life or property.

  3. The flag should never touch anything beneath it, such as the ground, the floor, water, or merchandise. It should never be carried flat or horizontally, but always aloft and free.

  4. The flag should neither be used as wearing apparel, bedding, or drapery, nor used for advertising purposes in any manner whatsoever.

  5. The flag should not be embroidered on such articles (ex. cushions or handkerchiefs, etc.), printed or otherwise impressed on paper napkins or boxes, or anything that is designed for temporary use.

  6. No part of the flag should ever be used as a costume or athletic uniform. However, a flag patch may be affixed to the uniform of military personnel, firemen, policemen, and members of patriotic organizations.

Additional flag etiquette and details can be found in the U.S. Code (Title 4, Chapter 1, Section 8).

Learn more about the etiquette and protocol behind everyday actions and interactions that elevate confidence and improve relationships at www.professionaletiquetteandprotocols.com.

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