Know proper flag etiquette this Memorial Day

| May 15, 2018

COSHOCTON – Memorial Day marks the official kick off to summer and with the summer patriotic holidays, it’s important to remember to display and store your American flag properly.

Flags should typically be displayed from sunrise to sunset or should be properly illuminated if displayed 24 hours a day. If you will be flying your flag at all times, you may want to consider getting an inclement weather flag that can handle tough rain and high winds. Otherwise, the flag should not be flown in inclement weather.

When storing your flag, make sure it is stored in a safe, dry environment and in a triangle fold. The triangle fold makes it easy for handling and storage.

The flag should be raised full staff unless issued by the president or the governor to lower to half-staff which signifies a state of mourning.

Old flags that are faded and torn should be disposed of in a respectful manner.

“Incinerate the flag in a respectful manner,” said Russell Hammond, from the Coshocton County Veterans Service Office. “Cut the flag up first because if it’s separated, it’s not considered a flag anymore. Cut the flag, but not the blue union. The blue union with the stars represents the 50 states that should not be separated. Some cut the stripes into strips, some cut it into four squares, so there’s no set way to do it as long as you leave the blue union intact and it’s done in a dignified manner. Anybody can do it. There are videos on YouTube that show you how to do it.”

Locally, Boy Scout troops and the American Legion can take old flags and dispose of them properly.

No other flag should be displayed above or parallel to the American flag. The only exception to this rule is church services conducted by naval chaplains at sea when the church pennant may be flown above the American flag. When two or more nations are represented, each flag should be flown at the same height and be relatively the same size. It is forbidden to fly one nation’s flag above another in peacetime.

In a parade, the flag should always be carried vertically, never horizontally.

“If possible, when the flag passes, stand with your hand over your heart,” said Hammond. “If you are military personnel in uniform, salute the flag. If you’re wearing a hat, remove your hat and be quiet and respectful.”

When displayed, the blue union always goes up and to the left no matter if it’s displayed horizontally or vertically. If draped over a street, stars always face either north or west, depending on how it’s displayed over the street or on a street sign.

The flag should also not be draped over the top, sides, or back of a car. To properly display a flag on your vehicle, an all-weather flag should be used and it should be fixed firmly to the chassis or clamped to the right fender.

“Our flag is the symbol of our nation and respecting the flag is respecting our nation,” said Hammond. “If you can’t respect the flag, you are not respecting our nation.”

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    Category: People & Places

    Beth Scott

    About the Author ()

    I have been employed at the Coshocton County Beacon since September 2009 as a news reporter and assistant graphic artist. I am a 2004 graduate of Newcomerstown High School and a 2008 graduate of Capital University with a bachelor’s degree in Professional Writing. I am married to John Scott and live in Newcomerstown. We have two beautiful daughters, Amelia Grace Scott and Leanna Rose Scott.