Along with summer heat and barbecues, people across America gather to celebrate a myriad of patriotic and local events.
Friday, June 14, was Flag Day and, of course, the big one, Independence Day is just around the corner. Each year we remember that on July 4, 1776, when representatives from the 13 states bravely declared independence from England with the signing of the Declaration of Independence.
Today, in towns and cities across America, spectators line the streets to show their allegiance as the annual parade goes by. There are always floats, prancing horses, clowns, school bands and uniformed veterans who proudly march or ride. The American flag waves proudly; the Star Spangled Banner plays loudly, and everyone feels pride. However, there is an established protocol of patriotic conduct that is not always observed.
Except those in uniform, as our anthem is played and we recite the Pledge of Allegiance, every American is to place their right hand across their heart. Men are to remove their hats with their right hand and place it on their left shoulder with their hand flat just below. Those in uniform salute from the first note to the last note of our anthem and silently stand with the military salute, facing the flag while the Pledge is recited.
When flying or displaying the American flag, the union (50 white stars on a blue background) must be on top, never upside down. When outside on a pole or holder, it is to be raised at sunrise (or soon after) and lowered at (or before) sunset unless it is illuminated. When taking the flag down, care must be taken not to allow our flag to touch the ground, and put away folded. When our flag becomes tattered, it should be ceremoniously burned. A flag can be as small as a lapel pin, paper on a toothpick or as large as the one flown over our capitol.
These and other rules on displaying our flag can be found in a free brochure from the Disabled American Veterans called “How to Honor and Display the American Flag” or viewed online.
Janet Lynn Rubert