Monthly Archives: May 2016
Brief History of the Flag
The American flag has long been a symbol of the values held by our Founding Fathers: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Betsy Ross, a widowed seamstress living in Philadelphia, created the first flag for all of the colonies in May 1776 at the urging of General George Washington and several other members of the Continental Congress.
The flag was hand sewn just two months before the colonies declared independence from Great Britain and the crown. Prior to that time, various colonies and militias had used their own flags, ranging in design from the Rattlesnake Flag with its infamous “don’t tread on me” to those
More Than Just a Flag
The freedom we enjoy as American citizens has not, nor has ever, been given freely. It was hard fought and hard won, requiring enormous sacrifice on the parts of military service members and their families. Today that freedom is still hard fought, and the sacrifices made just as enormous.
Making sure we honor current American service members and veterans is essential. Whether you donate your time or your money, or even only fly a new flag in support of their service, we can all do more to show how grateful we are to those extraordinary individuals who give everything of themselves to make this a better country for everyone else.
As a symbol of hope and unity, the American flag is without peer, serving to remind all who behold it that, so long as it flies, freedom will triumph.
Flown proudly outside of schools, churches, and government buildings alike, American flags are a solemn gesture of solidarity and patriotism for the greatest country on earth.
Our history is a remarkable one, and its struggle is evidenced in the very fabric of the flag: red for the blood spilt in the name of liberty, white for purity and equality, and blue for justice. Because of this, it is our duty to honor our flags properly as the embodiment of all that makes this country great.
The Flag Code is the formal body of instruction we must follow in order to properly honor the flag. It contains specific instructions regarding how the flag ought to be used and not used. Take a look at some of its most important standards of respect:
- The flag may never be bowed down to anyone or anything.
- The flag should only be flown upside-down as a signal of distress or emergency.
- The flag must never be worn nor draped over any surface for use as decoration. (Bunting should be used for this.)
- The flag should not be used for advertising purposes. Similarly, it should not be printed on any disposable articles, such as napkins or paper plates.
- The flag should not be worn as costume; however, a flag patch is acceptable on the uniforms of military personnel, as well as policeman and other similar groups.
- Whenever the flag is lowered, no part of it should touch the ground.
- When stored, it should be folded crisply and with dignity.
Contrary to some beliefs, the burning of the flag is, in fact, appropriate when the flag is too worn, so long as the burning is done in a dignified and ceremonious manner. Many American Legion Posts, as well as Boy Scout Troops, often have regular flag burning ceremonies to retire flags that are no longer suited for flying.
Raising and Lowering the Flag
As a rule, the flag ought to be displayed only during the hours between sunrise and sunset, although it may be displayed at night so long as it is illuminated. Raised quickly and lowered slowly, the flag is saluted while both ascending and descending.
Flying the Flag Outdoors
When flying the flag outdoors on a staff, the union (the stars) must be level with the peak of the staff, unless it is being flown half-staff. If another flag is being flown from the same staff, the United States flag must be on top (with only certain religious exceptions), and it must be the largest. It should also be the first raised and last lowered. When displayed over a street, the flag should be hung vertically with the union to the north or east.
The Flag Indoors
Posted: May 12, 2016
The American flag is an honorable thing, embodying the very spirit and ideals upon which this country was founded, and for which so many have fought so valiantly. To honor those values as well as that sacrifice, it is important to take pride in your flag. To that end, there may come a time when your flag becomes worn or damaged, and you must appropriately and dutifully dispose of the old flag before flying anew.
Disposing of a damaged flag properly is an important part of maintaining the respect, reverence, and honor for The Stars and Stripes. Take a look below for some general information regarding proper disposal techniques.
Burning the Flag in a Respectable Manner
Contrary to what some believe, the most appropriate and respectful method of disposing of a worn or damaged flag is to burn it. In order to achieve a proper and dignified flag burning (as well as a safe one), certain steps should be taken beforehand.Check local burning laws in your area. Some local authorities prohibit building fires without obtaining a permit from the city. If it is windy outside, consider postponing the burning ceremony until the weather is more suitable. Construct a fire in a safe location. If possible, use a fire pit that is already in place. Make sure the area is clean prior to ignition, by sweeping away any leaves, garbage, or debris. These pose a potential fire hazard, as well as their not holding with an environment of respect. Once the fire has been lit, wait until it has reached a steady burn. The fire must be strong enough to burn the flag, but not so strong that pieces of the flag don't fully incinerate. The flag should then be folded in the traditional triangle fold. Always treat the flag with respect, and do not put it on the ground or carry anything on top of it as you make your way to the fire. Gently place the folded flag into the fire pit. As the flag burns, keep an eye on it to ensure it is burning safely. It is customary during this process to come to attention, salute the flag, recite the Pledge of Allegiance, and finish with a brief period of silence. After the flag is completely burned, the fire should be safely extinguished, and the ashes buried.
Burying the Flag
If you are unable to burn a flag, there are alternative methods which are also respectful and appropriate. For some, burying the flag is a viable alternative. If you opt to bury your worn or damaged flag, take a look at the information below.
- Choose an appropriate box made of high-quality material.
- Properly fold the flag and place it inside of the box.
- Dig a deep enough hole in the earth so that the flag cannot be retrieved by animals or lawn equipment.
- Consider marking the spot of burial with a small marker.
Shredding the Flag
Still others elect to shred their old flags, and then either bury or burn the pieces. The U.S. Army recommends this as another, viable method of disposal.
- To shred the flag, use scissors to cut apart the 13 stripes.
- Leave the blue star-spangled field in one piece.
- For burial: Once the flag is cut, place the parts into a box and follow burial instructions above.
- For burning: Place the pieces of the flag into the fire one by one and follow the instructions regarding burning above.
Recycling the Flag
Today, many flags are made of nylon, polyester, and other artificial materials, all of which can be recycled. Indeed, if burned, some of these materials can create toxic fumes that are harmful to the air you breathe. To remedy this, there exist many private organizations and non-profits that will recycle flags for you safely and respectfully.
Pass the Flag Along to a Qualified Organization
In addition to companies that will recycle old or damaged flags, many organizations will properly and ceremoniously dispose of your flag. Some of the most popular of these agencies include The American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Boy Scouts of America, the Girl Scouts of America and the U.S. Military.
American flags are more than just the fabric they are woven from. They are a symbol of unity, perseverance, justice, and freedom. Whether you opt to burn your flag, shred it, recycle it, or pass it along to another group to handle, make sure you take the time to carefully and responsibly retire your flag. It may seem like a small gesture, but it is a powerful one all the same.
Each morning, across America, our nation’s youth pledge allegiance to our flag. The brave men and women of our nation’s armed forces defend that flag each and every day. The “Stars and Stripes” is flown the world over as a symbol of liberty and justice, representing the great republic that we have grown from humble beginnings. From a small collection of independent colonies, through the passion and valor of brave men and women who raised first their voices and then their arms against tyranny, these colonies have grown into a continent-spanning nation.
However, the “Stars and Stripes” flag that we fly today is but the latest incarnation in a long line of flags,
The American flag in its current form (50 stars and 13 stripes) has been around since July 4, 1960. In 2007, it became the longest lasting version of the United States flag ever flown. While the American flag is one of the best known and most identifiable images in the world, flags themselves come in many different shapes, sizes, colors, and meanings. Best of all, flags can have an amazing impact on your life.
Flags are versatile and can promote your organization or event in a way that no other form of marketing or advertising can. From public image and brand awareness, flags display the confidence you have in your product or service. Why else does every major business or brand utilize flags and banners?
While not everybody in our country is a patriot, the number of men and women who hold a strong sense of national pride are still the majority of your customers. Proudly displaying the American flag may not seem like much, but it can subconsciously influence your customers in a powerful way. Set yourself apart from your competition by letting everybody know that you are proud to fly the stars and stripes in and out of your establishment.
If you are a retail establishment, interior flags help draw a customer's attention to special products or displays. You can also set the exterior of your building apart with flags and banners that advertise specials or simply draw the eye to other promotions. Car dealerships often have flags on their specially priced vehicles.
Every club has a logo, and that logo belongs on a flag. From the Boy and Girl Scouts to the Rotary or Lions clubs, and the many different veterans’ organizations, if you have meetings and events, you will want to fly your flag with pride. Consider having multiple flags that are specially designed for meetings, parades, award presentations, and conventions.
Whether it's to support a sports team, a candidate, your state or country, or to promote a message, car flags are certain to get noticed. Due to the conditions that they fly under, car flags should be constructed of the proper material and of a size that will be seen but which will not hinder driving for you or another motorists. All car flags from AmericanFlags.com are 12 inches by 15 inches. They are double-sided, digitally printed on a durable material, and attached to 21-inch car window brackets.
What would golf be without its flags? Most people don't give golf flags a second thought, but the flag that marks each pin needs to come from someplace. AmericanFlags.com not only produces golf flags, but they can customize those flags in any manner you desire. Do you need to promote your new set of clubs, clothing line, or specials at the 19th hole? Golf flags are seen by hundreds to thousands of niche customers each and every day. Adding to the impact of golf flags, golfers must interact with the flag as part of their game, so they are sure to be noticed.
The next time you go into your house of worship, look around
The American flag is not just a colored piece of cloth. It is a symbol of our country. From its inception, to the Flag Act of 1777, the United States was creating a symbol that its men and women could rally around. Yet, until 1912, there was not a specific rule as to the size of the flag, its proportions, or the arrangement of the stars. This was changed by Executive Order on June 24, 1912. The current form of the United States flag with its 50 stars and 13 stripes was made official on July 4, 1960.
Since the American flag represents our country, it should be treated with the utmost respect. Countless men and women have given their lives in support of this flag. When you show respect to the flag, you honor them, as well.
Let's take a brief look at 10 of the most common rules of flag courtesy.
1. The United States flag is to be the first flag raised and the last flag lowered. It should be displayed on its own flagstaff, but if another flag is to be flown on the same staff, the other flag must be smaller and flown underneath the American flag.
2. When being flown with other flags on separate staffs, the United States flag should be in the center and at the highest point.
3. The union (blue background with the stars) is always to be flown at the top unless the flag is being flown in distress.
4. The flag should always be flown at full-staff unless it is being flown at half-mast as part of a declared period of honor or mourning. When bringing a flag to half-mast, it should first be raised to the top of the staff, and then ceremoniously lowered. To bring the flag down, first raise it to full-mast, and then lower it with customary honor.
5. The American flag should always be flown away from obstacles and items that would obscure it. It is meant to fly free and should not be in danger of becoming entangled.
6. Only flags that have been specially constructed for outdoor use should be flown outside. A torn or tattered flag should not be displayed. On that same note, flags should not be flown in inclement weather unless they are designed for such use, and the American flag should not be flown at night unless it is illuminated.
7. During a parade, the American flag is to be to its own right or at the front and center of other flags also being presented. The American flag should never be "dipped," but remain upright and flown with honor.
The American flag represents the United States of America. It is an important part of our country and should be cared for in the manner it deserves.
The American flag should be displayed from sunrise to sunset at all government buildings and schools. The flag should be attached to a stationary flagstaff that has a prominent place out in the open so the flag can fly free and unencumbered. The flag should only be flown in good weather unless a flag that is constructed of weather resistant material is used. Flying a torn and tattered flag is not respectful.
The United States flag is not to be flown in the dark unless it is illuminated. Should you desire to fly your flag at all hours and in all conditions, AmericanFlags.com can provide flags of any size desired, constructed with materials designed to stand up to the toughest of conditions. They will also work with you to provide lighting solutions if you do not already have them in place.
The flags are to be flown with the union up, unless you are under duress, and should always be flown at full staff unless a time of mourning has been declared. When flying a flag at half-staff, first raise it all of the way to the top, and then ceremoniously lower it to half-staff. When bringing it down, raise the flag back to full staff prior to lowering it.
The American flag should be displayed to the right of a stage and speaker (the left for the person facing the stage). All other flags should be placed to the speaker’s left. No flag should be larger or displayed higher than the American flag. If the flag is hung behind the speaker or on a podium, the flag may be horizontal or vertical, but the union is always to the observer's left.
When being moved in a procession, the American flag must be to the flag's own right or in the front center of any other flags. The American flag is never to be dipped.
The flag of the United States should not touch the ground or anything that is beneath it, including the floor, water, or another surface. If the flag gets wet, it is okay to lay it flat to dry it, since you should never fold a damp or wet flag.
Flags are everywhere—not just American flags and state flags, but flags of every shape, size, and color in almost every area of our lives. You may not notice them, because they are such a common sight, but if one day they were suddenly not there ... you would most assuredly miss them.
Consider these 10 areas where flags exist, but which you may not even think about:
Next time you take a drive down your local street, take a look at the street lights and various other posts that line the drive. In most areas of the country, there are many colorful flags and banners announcing everything from sales to celebrations. Others proudly declare historic routes or attractions. One thing is certain: If the flags were to suddenly go missing, the streets would be a lot less colorful. If you want to take advantage of this wonderful opportunity to have your message seen, street banners from AmericanFlags.com come with banner arm mounting sets and full customization.
As you drive through the neighborhood, look at the yards and planter boxes that you pass by. Chances are, there are flags and banners in many of them. From the American flag to POW banners, from political slogans and sports teams, to banners representing colleges and fraternities, people love to celebrate their past and remember the good times. Flags help them do just that.
Next time you are on the golf course, just think about what the next hole would look like without a flag blowing in the distance. Not only does the flag show the pin position, but it lets you know how to adjust your shot for the wind. Golf flags from AmericanFlags.com