The Stars and Stripes originated as a result of a resolution adopted by the Marine Committee of the Second Continental Congress at Philadelphia the read: “Resolved, that the flag of the United States be thirteen strips, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field representing a new constellation.” This is a day that we put out our flags in honor of the occasion. This is important, but even more important is respecting the Stars and Stripes every day of the year.
As I travel around town I notice that many businesses are flying torn, unserviceable flags or flying flags at night with no light on them. Many people think that just having a flag on display is acceptable and they are “doing their duty”. This could not be further from the truth. When showing our Loyalty and Patriotism we need to do it with the proper respect.
In a 1917 Flag Day Message, President Wilson said: “This flag, which we honor and under which we serve, is the emblem of our unity, our power, our thought, and purpose as a nation. It has no other character than that which we give it from generation to generation. The choices are ours. It floats in majestic silence above the hosts that execute those choices, whether in peace or war. And yet, though silent, it speaks to us-speaks to us of the past, of the men and women who went before us, and of the records they wrote upon it.” Let us make those choices that are going to preserve the respect and honor of the Stars and Stripes forever.
The laws relating to the flag of the United States of America are found in the United States Code. Title 36 Chapter 10 pertains to the patriotic customs and observances. Some of the highlights that I would like to make everyone aware of are:
1. No disrespect should be shown to the flag of the United States of America; the flag should not be dipped to any person or thing. Regimental colors, State flags, and organization or institutional flags are to be dipped as a mark of honor.
2. The flag should never be displayed with the union down, except as a signal of dire distress in instances of extreme danger to life or property.
3. The flag should never touch anything beneath it, such as the ground, the floor, water, or merchandise.
4. The flag should never be fastened, displayed, used, or stored in such a manner as to permit it to be easily torn, soiled, or damaged in any way.
5. The flag should never be used as a covering for a ceiling.
6. The flag, when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning.
These are just some of the rules that we need to observe as we display our flag. If you have any questions on this subject please feel free to contact the American Legion Post 26 (480) 964-8792, VFW Post 1760 (480) 964-9937, Marine Corps League Detachment 554 (480) 890-7469, DAV Chapter 8 (480) 890-2424, Mesa Veterans Parade Association (480) 540-6216 or the Patriot BN Young Marines (480) 898-7129. Any one of these organizations can help you.
One of the most common questions that I receive is: How do I dispose of my unserviceable flag? The answer is very simple just bring it to one of the above listed organizations and they will be able to help you with that. If you need some guidance on properly maintaining or displaying your flag or any other questions contact one of these organizations and they will be more than happy to answer any of your questions.
Frank (Gunny) Alger Commandant, Saguaro Detachment MCL SGT-AT-ARMS, Historian, Assistant Chaplain, Department of AZ MCL Commanding Officer, Patriot BN Young Marines Commanding Officer, East Valley Young Marines President, Mesa Veterans Parade Association www.mesaveterans.org www.prepaidlegal.com/hub/frankalger 480-570-4032 firstname.lastname@example.org Chaplain/Charter Member, MCRA Devil Dog, Road Runner Pound 112, MODD Editor, ROADRUNNER HOWL Chaplain, VFW Post 1760 Life-Member, DAV Chapter 8 Member, American Legion Post 26