American flag etiquette being promoted

Vietnam veteran and American Legion Post 30 member Marvin Mixon displays a correctly folded flag Tuesday outside the American Legion hall on Gillionville Road. Flag Day is Thursday.

Vietnam veteran and American Legion Post 30 member Marvin Mixon displays a correctly folded flag Tuesday outside the American Legion hall on Gillionville Road. Flag Day is Thursday.

ALBANY -- Flag Day is Thursday and if history is a guide, Old Glory will be displayed in a variety of forms and manner -- many of them incorrect, according to the American Legion, the largest wartime veterans organization.

The official guide to flag etiquette is contained within a detailed document known as "The Flag Code," created on Flag Day in 1923 by Legion representatives along with 68 other patriotic, fraternal, civic and military organizations.

The codification of rules was adopted by the 77th Congress in 1942 and has been modified over the years. While the code provides a guideline for use and proper disposal of the "Stars and Stripes," it provides nothing in the way of penalties for those who neglect or purposefully ignore the points within it.

While it is the "universal custom" to display the flag only from sunrise to sunset on buildings and on stationary flag staffs, The Flag Code allows for a 24-hour showing for patriotic effect, as long as the flag is properly illuminated.

As a general rule, the American flag should not be flown in the rain or other inclement weather. The exception comes when an all-weather flag is used. The flag should be hoisted "briskly" and lowered ceremoniously in a manner respectful to its history.

Many may not be aware the code forbids the flag's display on a parade float, except from a staff, or in the same way it might be placed horizontally or vertically against a wall, that is with the "union," or blue field, uppermost and to the viewer's left. An American flag should never be draped over the hood, top, sides or back of a vehicle, railroad car or boat. When flown from a car, the staff should be "fixed firmly" to the chassis or clamped to the right fender, according to the Legion's reading of the code.

Marvin Mixon, a local attorney, Vietnam veteran and a member of American Legion Post 30 in Albany, says he often sees flags flying from the wrong side of an entranceway.

"It should be on the right side of the door as you're going out," Mixon said. "That's the position of respect, but at least they're flying it."

According to Mixon, the flag should never used for or mixed with any type of commercial advertising, such "used car dealerships lining their lots with flags."

As for ragged or worn-out flags, Mixon says there are two generally acceptable methods for disposing of them: burning in a respectful ceremonious way and burying. He said his Legion post keeps a container at the door for the public to deposit worn-out flags. Legion members later burn the flags in the proper manner, then bury the ashes.

"It just shows support for what the flag stands for," Mixon said. "There's a lot of blood, sweat and tears in the background of the flag. It's we, the people that are represented."


rock 3 years, 5 months ago

My flag will fly in the front of my house 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, rain, shine etc. until EVERY member of the United States Armed Forces is home from these wars. Dead or Alive, KIA or MIA. until this happens my tribute will be there. I replace my flags when they are dirty and worn, but the young grunt on the ground will know that as long as he is on the deck I am supporting him. So if me flying my colors offfends you for being out 24/7, think of the kids still in country and remember our one big ass mistake america (obama) has commited troops to Afghanistan for yet another 12 YEARS through 2014. That means they will have been in combat for 23 YEARS.


waltspecht 3 years, 5 months ago

I don't believe anyone said they were offended by your Flag display. Simply put, they are saying there is a Code out there for the proper display of a Flag, and how it should be honored. If you fly the Flag at night, it only has to be sufficiently illuminated that it can clearly be identified as a US Flag. Street lights provide enough in most cases. Yes, they are still in Country, and that is why some chose to fly the Flag. However, to truely honor those serving, at least acknowledge the Flag Code and it's requirements. By the way, it is never supposed to be used as a part of clothing. That one seems to be totally ignored. The one that I really dislike are the Flag Door Mats. Say what you want, I still see that as someone wiping their feet on a US Flag, and owning or selling one of those mats is wrong.


rock 3 years, 5 months ago

I wear the colors of this country as part of my uniform Doc. It is either on the left sleeve or left chest. Those that have never been in the military do not understand about not wiping your feet on her or using her as a place mat. HOWEVER, every old time vet says they fought WWII for your rights to vote, drive etc. so the inverse of that is you fought fo their rights to show disrespect. Tit for Tat. By the way I stand and salute for morning colors, I have tears i my eyes when evening colors is played and my flag is lowered, The national anthem brings tears to my eyes and taps has me cry like a new born.


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