In celebration of Flag Day today, Old Glory is expected to be proudly displayed throughout the tri-states and the country in even greater numbers than usual.

When it comes to honoring the flag, citizens can turn to U.S. Flag Code, which outlines in detail the proper ways to display, represent and respectfully dispose of the flag.

David Splinter, who is the quartermaster for the Dickeyville-Kieler (Wis.) Veterans of Foreign Wars post, said: “As a military, we were trained and taught that we were to protect that with our life. It was just kind of burned into our brain.”

Here are some flag tips to remember:

How it’s displayed

  • According to the Flag Code, “the flag should never be used for any advertising purpose.” This includes not having it embroidered or printed on anything that is discarded after temporary use. “You’ll see people wearing flags displayed as clothing, and that is not nice at all,” Splinter said.
  • Another common improper display of the flag is when two national flags are flown together. In that situation, Bill Kubler, commander of the honor guard for the American Legion Post in Dubuque, said both flags should be of a similar size and displayed at the same height on separate poles.
  • However, Kubler added, a state flag can be flown on the same pole below the U.S. flag. A city’s flag could be flown below the state flag as well.
  • The flag is flown upside down only as a distress signal.
  • If a flag is displayed at night, proper lighting is required.

Saluting the flag

  • Military personnel can give their standard salute to the flag. Civilians should put their right hand over their heart. Hats also should be removed.
  • The Boy Scouts of America and Girl Scouts of America have their own approved salutes to the flag. “It helps them get a sense of the importance and responsibility in being a part of the success of our country,” said Andy Draus, Dubuque’s district commissioner for Northeast Iowa Council for the Boy Scouts of America.

Care for the flag

  • All flags should be brought indoors during inclement weather, unless they are made of all-weather material, according to Kubler.
  • When the flag is not being flown, the Flag Code details the proper way to fold it. More details are available at https://bit.ly/2ThfRio.
  • Flags should not touch the ground. If they do, they should be cleaned immediately.
  • Flags that are in poor condition are disposed of through a burning ceremony. All American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars posts throughout the tri-states will accept unserviceable flags for appropriate disposal.
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