The buzz about the 2012 Summer Olympics has amped up! Here are tips on flag etiquette for Olympians and everyone at home watching the games.
As retired Marine Corps veteran Richard Roamer watched segments on television of the 2012 Olympic Boxing team and Olympic track and field trials, he took note of the improper use of the American flag. In Roamer’s Letter to the Editor of the Jacksonville Daily News, he cited that athletes were wearing headbands and shorts that adorned the flag. Additionally, at the junior track championships, winners were handed large American flags, which they proceeded to drape over their heads and bodies – and subsequently touched the ground.
The U.S. Flag Code vehemently states “The flag should never be used as wearing apparel, bedding, or drapery,” and “the flag should never touch anything beneath it, such as the ground, the floor, water, or merchandise.”
Roamer went on to say, “Disrespectful display of the American flag is an affront to Americans and their families who have served and given their lives to protect the flag and freedoms we have…. I feel these acts are not patriotic but disrespectful to the flag and those that have given their all in defense of this country. ” While athletes think they are displaying their patriotism towards the United States, others feel they are being disrespectful to those who have defended the country.
Michael Phelps recently went to Twitter to express his discontent with the ban on showcasing more than one American flag on his apparel: “Front and back of our caps… We used to be able to have front and back side with flags but for some reason there are rules that tell us we cant do that anymore? Smh gotta love an organizing committee telling us we can’t do that anymore.”
Many Americans remain uneducated about the proper flag protocol for displaying and retiring American flags – and Olympic athletes should know proper use of the American flag if they are representing the United States at the worldwide event. The lack of knowledge about the American flag needs to be addressed so children, adults and athletes alike know how to respect the flag and what it stands for.