Five ways to show the flag respect, along with who enforces the US Flag Code and what happens if you break it.
The US Flag Code sets forth a number of proper ways to handle and display the American flag. Each guideline is meant as a way of showing the flag the utmost respect. President Franklin D. Roosevelt said it best with this key point from the flag code: “The American flag represents a living country and is itself considered a living thing.”
Here are five basic ways you can show the stars and stripes the respect it deserves.
#1. Don’t let the flag touch the ground. You should always make sure you are carrying the flag high enough so it doesn’t touch or drag on the ground. But if it does, you don’t necessarily need to burn it. Burning flags is meant for those that are in such a condition that renders them unable to fly.
#2. Always fly the American flag higher than all other flags. If any other flags are displayed on the same pole, make sure Old Glory is the highest up.
#3. Don’t fly the US flag at night without a proper light to illuminate it. For guidelines that are more specific and how to fly the flag in rough weather, check out THIS blog post.
#4. Can the flag be flow upside down? Short answer, no. However, an upside-down flag is a symbol of extreme distress and you can fly the union facing down in situations of life or death.
#5. The flag should never be attached to a ceiling or used as a ceiling cover. If you have one on your ceiling, you should take it down.
Who enforces the US Flag Code? Technically, nobody ensures everyone is following the rules properly. The Code is a bunch of rules and traditional customs that don’t carry the weight of the law. Congress did attempt to create criminal penalties for burning American flags, but was unfortunately overruled by the Supreme Court in 1989 and 1990.
However, be wary of state laws; many have their own regarding US and state flags. In fact, Montana has the strictest policies for anyone caught defacing Old Glory. A fine in Montana can reach $50,000 or a jail term can stretch to up to 10 years.
Have you seen someone improperly display the American flag? What did you do?
Credit: CS Monitor