It’s US Flag Day – Are You Showing Respect By Following These 14 Flag Etiquette Rules?
The Flag of the United States of America, like flags in many countries, has a code with preferred flag etiquette. How to treat the flag when displaying it on a pole, if it's OK to use as clothing, to embroider it on a seat cushion and many more scenarios.
Burning the American Flag
A lot of patriotic people get angry when they hear someone's burning the flag, but burning a flag, while being a sign of protest, is also the proper way to take a flag out of service entirely.
Wearing the Flag?
Do you love the US Flag, but also have it on shirts, pants, shoes, underwear or beach towels? Many argue that's against the flag code. Let's look at the code. Section 8, subsection (d), of the U.S. Flag Code stipulates
“the flag should never be used as wearing apparel, bedding, or drapery.”
That is largely interpreted as, "Don't take an actual flag and turn it into a shirt, bedding, tablecloth, etc.
However, Subsection (i) states:
"the flag should not be embroidered on such articles as cushions or handkerchiefs and the like, printed or otherwise impressed on paper napkins or boxes or anything that is designed for temporary use and discard.”
That seems to be much more specific. I say "seems to be" because I've learned interpretation is the key here. Personally, I'm not a fan of flags on clothing, unless its an actual patch on clothing, worn to signify country of origin (like a soldier). It just rubs me the wrong way.
A shirt, a hat, a bathing suit...all get treated to sweat, grime, dirt...I mean, would you wipe your pits with the US Flag? No, then don't do it with things that represent the flag. On the other hand, it's a US Flag Code, not US Flag LAW, so there's no enforcement mechanism, it's a guide.
How to Handle the Flag of the United States of America
As always, if you have a comment, complaint, or concern about something I wrote here, please let me know: firstname.lastname@example.org
Why Can't I Buy That American Flag In Minnesota?
In other flag news...have you ever seen an ad for the Flag of the United States of America and then saw, "Not available in Minnesota" in little letters? Well, here's why.
The flag law itself specifies no penalty for violators or enforcement mechanism, but Minnesota has a default statute that makes any prohibited act that carries no specific penalty a misdemeanor and imposes a fine of up to $1,000, up to 90 days in jail, or both (Minn. Stats. § 609.03).
Other interesting laws about the US Flag in other states (source):
- Arizona law requires public schools and higher education institutions to display, in each classroom, an American flag that is at least two feet by three feet and made in the United States (A.R.S. §§ 15-506, 15-1445 (16), and 15-1526 (17))
- Massachusetts law requires each school committee to supply each public school under its control with a U.S. flag that is (1) at least two feet long, (2) made of silk or bunting, and (3) manufactured in the United States (M.G.L.A., Ch. 71 § 69)
- Tennessee requires all official U.S. and Tennessee state flags purchased under a state contract to be manufactured in the U.S. (Mitchie's Tenn. Code, § 4-1-301(d))
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