MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Friday is Flag Day, a holiday to celebrate the official adoption of the Star and Stripes. So, in Old Glory’s honor, Jackie from Hudson asked for a refresher on the rules of flag. “What is proper American flag etiquette?”
In June 14, 1923, the U.S. Flag Code was adopted by dozens of veterans and service organizations. In 1942, Congress passed it as public law.
“People have given their lives in support of that symbol of our nation,” Randy Tesdahl, adjutant of the American Legion Department of Minnesota, said. “That’s important they haven’t sacrificed in vain.”
When people wonder about how to display, dispose of, or care for their American flag, they often call the American Legion for an explanation of the U.S. Flag Code. The American Legion explains the etiquette and reminds people the code is not an enforceable law, but rather a suggested set of guidelines.
“We can’t call the police department and say there’s an unserviceable flag flying on 4th and Main and you need to get over here and take it down,” Tesdahl said. “However we encourage any caller to have a civil conversation with a homeowner or business.”
According to the U.S. Flag Code, the American flag should always be displayed to its own right. If there is a line of other flags, it should be in front of the center of that line.
Flags should be generally be displayed from sunrise to sunset. It may be displayed 24 hours a day if it’s illuminated.
Flags should not be flown during inclement weather unless it’s an all-weather flag.
Tesdahl says the suggested way to fold the flag is into a triangle, but it’s not a requirement. He recommends anyone folding a flag on their own do it with respect and do what they can keep it from touching the ground.
The flag should not touch the ground, but if it does, it doesn’t need to disposed of. American flags should be disposed of when tattered, faded or torn. The preferential way of disposal is burning. Local VFWs and American Legions often hold flag disposal ceremonies.
“It’s done with respect and honor,” Tesdahl said. “It pays tribute to those who gave their lives.”
Ultimately, the general rule is that no disrespect should be shown to the flag of the United States of America.