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Good Question: American Flag Etiquette Edition

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(credit: CBS) John Lauritsen
John Lauritsen is a reporter from Montevideo, Minn. He joined WCCO-...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – So many people take pride in raising the American flag, and rightfully so. It’s stood tall through the highs and lows of our country. And today the Stars and Stripes are 237 years old.

“You can leave it up the whole time if there’s a spotlight on it,” one viewer we talked with said. “But if there’s no spotlight, you have to take it down and you have to fold it.”

It’s an answer that makes Lee Ulferts, the former commander of the Department of Minnesota VFW, proud.

“There is no specific requirement for lighting,” he said, “but it is not to fly in the dark.”

Ulferts said he sees people with the best intentions, unknowingly violate flag code.

“Probably the most important thing, to me, is when I see an old tattered and torn flag being flown,” he said. “To me, that is just disrespectful to the flag.”

FUlferts says the VFW and American Legion sell or donate American flags.

Flags today are made of all-weather material like nylon or polyester.

And Ulferts says there’s a respectful way to put Old Glory to rest.

“Burning is the proper way to dispose of a flag,” Ulferts said.

He says a proper ceremony involves reciting the Pledge of Allegiance and then throwing the old flags into a fire. The ashes should then be buried in the ground, never thrown away.

Rain, sleet or snow don’t matter either. So long as it’s lit up, it can stay up 24-7.

Other points of the flag code:

– The American flag should never hit the ground.

– There should never be any advertising on it and nothing settling on it.

– It should always be the highest flag — with one exception. When a ship is at seas, religious personnel can raise the Navy flag higher.

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