Saturday, June 13, 2015

Old Glory and its Flag Code

When traveling to the suburbs a couple of weeks ago, I was finally able to convince my dearest boyfriend to stop at Cracker Barrel. When we spent our vacation in the Deep South last year we saw a lot of those 'Old Country Stores' but we never felt the need to check them out. Until recently. In Naperville of all places. It was a Sunday afternoon and in our defense : we were VERY hungry! 

And thirsty for that matter ... but no cool beer or chilled Sauvignon Blanc available at this family oriented restaurant, so we all go for refreshing glass of unsweetened home made iced tea. Right choice! While we are waiting for our order, we decide to have a look at the store. Besides expensive 'country style' clothes and useless accessories and toys, we spot something interesting: a copy of the 'Flag Code'. I moved to the US quite recently, so I am not that familiar with it yet. I do know however that Americans love to show their patriotism by displaying the American Flag, especially on holidays like Memorial Day, Flag Day, Independence Day and Veteran's Day. Little did I know that there is a federal law, known as the 'Flag Code'. 

Flag Code

The United States Code is the official, subject matter order, compilation of the Federal laws of a general and permanent nature that are currently in force. The Code is divided into 50 titles by subject matter. 

Previous to Flag Day, June 14, 1923 there were no federal or state regulations governing display of the United States Flag. It was on this date that the National Flag Code was adopted by the National Flag Conference which was attended by representatives of the Army and Navy which had evolved their own procedures, and some 66 other national groups. This purpose of providing guidance based on the Army and Navy procedures relating to display and associated questions about the U. S. Flag was adopted by all organizations in attendance.

Here are some of the important Old Glory guidelines:

- It's OK to display the flag 'round the clock, but you should illuminate it during nighttime hours 

- Hoist it briskly and lower it slowly and ceremoniously 

- Be sure to bring your flag in out of rain or snow unless it's made of all-weather material 

- If you would like to display your flag on your car or truckm affix it to the chassis or clamp it to the right front fender 

- The blue and white stars field, known as 'the union', should always be up: at the top of the flag if it's on a staff or pole, uppermost and to the observer's left if the flag is being displayed horizontally or vertically against a wall 

- The flag should be kept from touching the ground, floor, water or anything beneath it 

- When a flag becomes worn and is in such a condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, it should be destroyed in a dignified way. One way to do that is to give the flag to a local VFW for proper disposal.

And this is only a small extract from the Flag Code. Want to know more? There is an entire website dedicated to the flag, its history and many more interesting facts, some even in Dutch, French and other languages. 

See you all on the Fourth of July ...?