Veterans Day is a time to honor those men and women who have served and fought for our country in the armed forces. The American flag is a symbol of what these people in the military strived to protect: freedom and democracy. 

The American Flag was “born” on June 14, 1777. The 13 stripes of red and white represent the 13 original colonies and the blue field originally had 13 stars for each colony, but have now grown to 50. 

The red stripes represent valor and strength and the white stripes represent purity and innocence. The blue field represents vigilance, perseverance and justice. The flag is a symbol of our unity, our common cause and who we are.

Ruth Apperson Rous presented in her poem “I am the Flag:” The flag is a “living symbol of my nation’s law: the Constitution of the United States and the Bill of Rights.” 

Flag Etiquette

  • In a nation of laws the flag has its own code of etiquette on how the flag is   to be displayed and used.

  • The flag should be displayed from sunrise to sunset. It can be flown at night if proper illumination is provided. The flag should not be flown in inclement weather.  

  • When the flag is carried in a procession with another flag or flags, it should be either on the marching right or before any other flags if there is a line of other flags.  

  • Proper respect should be shown when the flag is being hoisted, lowered or passing in a parade. All should stand as the flag passes. Members of the armed forces and veterans who are present but not in uniform may render the military salute. All other persons present should face the flag and stand with their right hand over the heart and if applicable remove their hat. 

  • Respect for the flag is shown by never displaying the flag with the blue field down; the flag should never touch anything beneath it, such as the ground, the floor, water or merchandise; the flag should always be carried aloft and free, never flat or horizontally. 

The code suggests that “when a flag has served its useful purpose, it should be destroyed, preferably by burning.” It also suggests this be done discreetly. If you have a tattered flag you can call your local American Legion unit to take care of this duty.

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