We’re getting to the time of year where Old Glory takes a place on center stage. And deservedly so. Seems like U.S. flags fly everywhere this time of year. We’re all proud Americans.
Flags got their start as military banners, a way to recognize an approaching enemy/ally. Early on in our own history there were several different revolutionary flags, but by June 14, 1777 the Continental Congress had selected one. The one we know. The red is meant to signify hardiness and valor, the white purity/innocence and the blue vigilance and perseverance and justice.
Flag Day didn’t come into existence until much later, 1949 thanks to a law signed by then President Harry S. Truman. The celebration of the holiday had started unofficially back in 1885 by a grade school teacher in Wisconsin. The flag we know today has been the official flag of the United States since 1960.
Whether for business or personal, it’s important to understand that the U.S. flag, a recognizable and valued symbol, be displayed with dignity. People have given their lives to defend it. Display it dishonorably and you’re sending the exact opposite of a patriotic, freedom loving message. This is one of those occasions where you must do things right, or don’t do them at all.
It’s good to know the “right” and “wrong” ways to fly the U.S. flag. Some of these you might have thought common sense, others are less obvious. Some basics on flag etiquette.
- Fly the flag from sunrise to sunset. It can only fly at night if properly lit.
- Do not display the flag in bad weather, unless it’s an all-weather flag.
- Never use the flag as drapery, decoration or to cover anything, use bunting (withe blue stripe on top) for this.
- When raising or lowering, no part of the flag should touch the ground.
- Clean or mend flags regularly to keep them looking good.
- The flag should not be flown at the same height as other flags or banners, lower these.
- When a flag is too worn to be mended, it should be burned ceremoniously.
When it comes to advertising, the rules are clear. Don’t put the U.S. flag on something that has a temporary use — napkins, paper cups or boxes. Putting an image of our flag on something lasting (like promotional products!), something of quality (again, like promotional products) on the other hand, is a fine way to show your American pride.