I believe that one of the most important things we can do as Americans is to fly the United States flag. I encourage you to fly your flag every day if at all possible but especially on important days like September 11. Today I thought I would share a little of the history of the flag as well as the proper way to fly it.
The American flag has represented the integrity, strength and unity of America for over 200 years. Betsy Ross claimed the distinction of making the first American flag.
The Continental Congress passed the first Flag Act on June 14, 1777, to establish the nation's official flag: "Resolved, that the flag of the United States be made of thirteen stripes, alternating red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new Constellation."
The design of the official flag has been changed several times since 1777. The United States flag today has thirteen horizontal stripes, seven red stripes alternating with six white stripes. The stripes represent the thirteen original colonies while the stars represent the fifty states of the Union. There is symbolism in the colors also: Red stands for Hardiness and Valor, White symbolizes Purity and Innocence, and Blue represents Vigilance, Perseverance, and Justice.
There is certain etiquette that should be used when dealing with the American flag. The following guidelines come from the Flag Code:
. The flag should be lighted at all times, either by sunlight or other appropriate lighting.
. The flag should be flown in fair weather unless the flag is designed for other kinds of weather.
. The flag should never be used for any decoration in general.
. The flag should never be used for advertising purposes.
. The flag should not be part of a costume or athletic uniform. The only exception is that a flag patch may be used on the uniform of military personnel, police and fire personnel, and members of patriotic organizations.
. The flag should never be flown upside down except as a distress signal.
. The flag should never be allowed to touch the ground.
. The flag should be cleaned and mended when necessary.
. When a flag is no longer fit to represent our nation, it should be destroyed by burning in a dignified manner.
Note: This information is a small part of the history, etiquette, and protocol of the United States flag available at patriotpost.us.