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American Flag Etiquette

A Guide to American Flag Etiquette

Much of American flag etiquette is determined by federal law. These laws are known as the flag code. It is expected that Americans will follow these set rules out of respect at all times, but there is no provision for arresting someone who is seen breaking the flag code.

Here are the stipulations of the flag code which define American flag etiquette:

*  If you put up the American flag, it must be lighted at all times. This can be by sunlight or by a light shining upon the flag. The flag can never be left unlit in darkness.

*  The flag cannot be flown outside in bad weather unless it is particularly made to withstand rain and other elements. Today many flags are made of waterproof materials and these may be left outside during the rain. Unless you know for sure your flag is made of modern water repellant materials, you must err on the side of caution and fly it only in fair weather.

*  The American flag can be flow upside down as a distress signal. At no other time can it be flown in any manner other than right side up with the stars in the upper left-hand corner. Under no condition may the flag be dipped to any person or object.

*  The flag can never be used as a decoration. It is permissible for red, white and blue bunting to be used for decoration, but never a real flag.

*  The American flag can not be used for any kind of advertising. It can not be stenciled, printed, embroidered or pressed onto any object that is going to be used for an advertising purpose. It cannot be connected to anything that will be discarded after use. No advertising banners or signs can be attached to the flag pole or staff.

*  The flag cannot be used as any part of a costume or athletic uniform, unless it is a patch on the uniform of someone in the military, a policeman, fireman, or a member of a patriotic organization.

* No one can ever write on an American flag. That includes any type of letter, word, number, insignia, mark or drawing. These can also not be attached to the flag.

*  You can never use a flag to hold, receive, carry or delivery anything.

*  The American flag can never be allowed to touch the ground or any other object. It can be received into hands and arms. When stored, a flag must be neatly and ceremoniously folded.

*  If a flag should get dirty or torn, it can be cleaned and mended.

*  When a flag is so worn it can no longer be used as a symbol of the United States, American flag etiquette stipulates that it must be destroyed by burning in a dignified way.




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