Honoring The Flag on Flag Day
Greetings from General Sarge HQ! Here I am checking in once again for another great patriotic day on the calendar.
Did you know Thursday, June 14th is Flag Day?
While Flag Day isn’t an official federal holiday, it’s been celebrated on June 14th for a long time. Flag Day commemorates the adoption of the flag of the United States, which took place by a resolution of the Second Continental Congress way back in 1777!
That’s 235 years ago!
In honor of the day I gathered a couple of my furry-friend recruits waiting for deployment to help fold the flag. You will also notice a certificate in this picture too. There’s a New York State flag neatly folded in that package which New York State Senator Michael Nozzolio recently presented to my human-owners’ parents! The flag was flown at the Albany, New York State Legislature building. We’re going to send it to my human-owner PFC Ben in Afghanistan so he can fly it there and remember his home state.
In 1916 President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation officially establishing June 14 as Flag Day and then in August of 1949 National Flag Day was established by an Act of Congress. One of the longest running Flag Day parades is held every year in Quincy, Massachusetts. Their parade started in 1959. But the largest Flag Day parade is held annually right near me in Troy, New York! This year it’s on Sunday, June 10 and officials say it draws an estimated crowd of 50,000 people!
Since I’m an Army bear I have to mention June 14 is not only Flag Day but it’s also the day we celebrate the birthday of the Army. Congress adopted the American Continental Army on June 14 back in 1775.
Since it’s Flag Day I thought it would also be a good idea to talk about some flag etiquette. Before listing a few flag etiquette points I do want to point out that the flag on my Army uniform from Build-A-Bear Workshop is flying properly. From time to time I’ve heard people saying they think our flag is backwards on our uniform but it’s really not. All of our Build-A-Bear Workshop designers worked hard to make sure the details on the Army uniform are correct. The stars are of course in the up position – and that’s very important. The stars are facing forward because it represents the U.S. Army’s motto of “Always forward. We never retreat”.
The stars are moving forward
just as our soldiers are always moving forward.
Some good things to remember about flag etiquette:
- The flag should never be dipped to any person or thing.
- It is flown upside down only as a distress signal.
- 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. The blue stripe of the bunting should be on top.
- The flag should never be used for any advertising purpose.
- It should not be embroidered, printed or otherwise impressed on such articles as cushions, handkerchiefs, napkins, boxes or anything intended to be discarded after temporary use.
- 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.
- The flag should never have placed on it, or attached to it, any mark, insignia, letter, word, number, figure or drawing of any kind.
- The flag should never be used as a receptacle for receiving, holding, carrying or delivering anything.
- When the flag is lowered, no part of it should touch the ground or any other object. It should be received by waiting hands and arms.
- To store the flag it should be folded neatly and ceremoniously.
- The flag should be cleaned and mended when necessary.
What to do with a worn flag no longer fit to serve as a symbol of our country?
It should be destroyed by burning in a dignified manner. Many American Legion Posts conduct flag burning ceremonies – often on Flag Day. Cub Scout Packs, Boy Scout Troops and Girl Scout Troops also often retire flags. Find a place near you that retires flags by searching for “flag deposit boxes near me for flag retirement” or “scout or legion posts near me that retire flags.”
Displaying the Flag Outside
- When the flag is displayed from a staff projecting from a window, balcony or a building, the stars should be at the peak of the staff unless the flag is at half staff.
- When it is displayed from the same flagpole with another flag – of a state, community, society or other organization – the flag of the United States must always be at the top. Except, a church pennant may be flown above the flag during church services for Navy personnel when conducted by a Naval Chaplin on a ship at sea.
- When displayed with multiple flags on separate flagpoles the flag of the United States is always placed in the position of honor – on its own right. The other flags may be smaller, but none may be larger. No other flag should ever be placed above it. The flag of the United States is always the first to be raised and the last to be lowered.
- When the flag is displayed over a street it should be hung vertically with the stars to the north or east. If the flag is suspended over a sidewalk, the flag’s stars should be farthest from the building.
Displaying the Flag Indoors
- The United States flag is always given the place of honor, always positioned to the its own right. Place it to the right of the speaker or stating area or sanctuary. Other flags should be to the left.
- When displaying the flag against a wall, vertically or horizontally, the flag’s stars should be at the top, to the flag’s own right and to the observer’s left.
- Those in uniform give the appropriate formal salute. Citizens not in uniform salute by placing their right hand over the heart and men wearing hats should remove them and hold it to their left should, with their hand over their heart.
I know there’s a lot of information here. But as a General Bear in the Army I’m honored that I was asked to point out some these very important things to remember on Flag Day.
Two paws up!
General Sarge is a Build-A-Bear Workshop Teddy who’s human-owner – PFC Benjamin Jeffrey – is currently serving in Afghanistan with the Infantry Division of the U.S. Army. Our vision, mission and purpose – “Comforting Military Families One Furry Friend at a Time”.
Dr. Rus Jeffrey – General Sarge’s handler – is proud to be included as a blogger for Behind the Seams. Find out more about Dr. Rus, General Sarge and how they “Comfort Military Families One Furry Friend At A Time.”