I’ve always wanted to do a story about the American Flag, and from time to time I’ve had folks suggest such a story. That story will be in our newscast tonight.
Flag Day is June 14th and Independence Day is just around the corner too. So, it seemed like a good time to do a story about Flag etiquette. Too often the flag is displayed incorrectly and its image is placed inappropriately on items. The United States Congress passed legislation in 1923, and later amended it, to outline proper treatment of our flag.
Our story tonight highlights some of the most common mistakes made regarding the treatment of our flag. The subject is taught some in school, but I’m told not nearly as much as it used to be. Often the flag is desecrated unintentionally. For example, the flag should never be printed onto a shirt or hat or paper plate, yet those who wear or use such items almost always do it with the intention of showing their patriotism. They don’t mean to disrespect the flag. It’s important to note too, that the United States Flag Code is just that, a code. It’s not law and there is no penalty for violating the content of the code. It serves as a guideline and hopefully all Americans will seek to honor it.
I won’t do the entire story here, but will point out a few of the most common mistakes we make. I’m guilty of liking and buying American Flag postage stamps. My intent is to show patriotism. However, according to the code the American Flag should never have writing on it. The postmark over the stamp violates that part of the code and also the flag should never be affixed to something that is going to be discarded. So, the postage stamp (printed and sold by the government) is indeed a violation of the Flag Code.
I fly the flag at home, as many of you do as well. The flag should be flown from sunrise until sunset. It can be flown at night but should have its own illumination. Flying the flag in the dark shouldn’t be done. If the flag is flying with other flags, the American Flag should be atop the flag pole, above the other flags.
The American Flag can only be ordered to half staff during a time for mourning by the President, the Governor of a state, or the mayor of the District of Columbia. City leaders, school principals and other often violate this part of the code.
You can read the entire flag code at the library or on line. The best site I’ve found is the Betsy Ross Home Page. Betsy was paid $100 for designing and hand stitching our first flag. Thousands of Americans have died while fighting under our flag. It seems the least we can do is display it properly.
My Fact Finder Report about the American Flag airs tonight (June 10, 2010) on NBC13 HD News at 10:00pm.
See 'ya then.
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