On June 22, 1942, President Roosevelt approved the Federal Flag Code, providing for uniform guidelines for the display and respect shown to the flag. The Flag Code does not prescribe any penalties for non-compliance nor does it include any enforcement provisions, rather it functions simply as a guide for voluntary civilian compliance.
For much of our country’s history, the flag was a sign of deep respect and was never used as stickers, on articles of clothing, or to sell merchandise.
Today, however, people do not consider flag code violations to be a big deal. This is because we have become so accustomed to seeing images of the flag being used very frequently.
Widespread misuse of the flag first became prominent during the bicentennial celebration in 1976. Flag merchandise became very popular during this time because many people wanted to display their patriotism.
Since then, the flag has been used to sell every piece of crap that one could possibly imagine.
It is fine, however, to have a picture of the flag on the cover of a book if the book is about the flag.
Although the flag code does not prescribe any punishments, many states have enacted laws to punish those who misuse or desecrate the flag.
The State of Illinois makes it a Class 4 felony for anyone to misuse or mutilate the U.S. or the Illinois state flag. The law also forbids the use of either flag for advertising or publicity purposes and rules that a Class C misdemeanor. Half of fines collected in the successful prosecution of this charge go to the school fund of the county in which the conviction is obtained.
In Washington D.C., for example, a person may be fined no more than $100 or jailed no more than thirty days for misusing or desecrating the flag. Many of these laws, however, are never enforced…
Many politicians do not want to pass legislation that would enforce the flag code because it would prevent them from using the flag in future campaign advertisements.
The flag has 13 stripes to represent the original colonies. The flag has always had 13 stripes. Union
Congress standardized the arrangement of stars in 1912. Up until that time the stars could be arranged in any order as long as the flag contained the correct number of stars.
When displayed against the wall, the union should be on top and to your left.
If the flag is displayed inside on a wall with other flags, the US flag must be in a place of prominence.
When displayed on a motorcar, the flag should be fixed firmly to the chassis or to the right fender.
The reason that flag stickers are not acceptable on cars is because they will eventually fade, peel, and rip. This goes against showing respect for and honoring the flag.
Airlines use the flag to represent nationality or country of origin. The flag is “backwards” because if it is displayed on a moving object it is always supposed to be shown as if it is flying in the wind. It is painted on the plane so that it does not peel or rip apart.
When a flag is displayed on a staff near a speaker, it should be on the speaker’s right.
According to the Supreme Court, burning the flag is legal. It is protected by the First Amendment.
Burning a flag is also the proper way to dispose of a flag that is too damaged to repair. American Legion and VFW posts, as well as Boy Scout Organizations hold ceremonies to burn flags. Why is this proper?
Burning is a natural process and it is almost as if the flag is being “reborn.” Besides, would you rather just throw-away the flag and have it end up here?
April 25, 1976: Cub outfielder Rick Monday rescues an American flag from two protesters attempting to burn nation's symbol in centerfield at Dodger Stadium.
The flag should not be used as part of a costume or athletic uniform, except that a flag patch may be used on the uniform of military personnel, fireman, policeman and members of patriotic organizations.
When flags of two or more nations are displayed, they are to be flown from separate staffs of the same height. The flags should be of approximately equal size.International usage forbids the display of the flag of one nation above that of another nation in time of peace.
When flown with the flag of a state, the flag of the United States should always be higher.
The flag should not be used as a drapery, or for covering a speakers desk, draping a platform, or for any decoration in general. Bunting of blue, white and red stripes is available for these purposes.
When the flag passes in a parade, a civilian should stand at attention with their right hand over their heart.