Preparing to celebrate Independence Day in your new home? Maybe it’s the first holiday in your new home, and you want to go all out with a new flag, too. But before you run out to get one, take the time to learn how to properly display the red, white, and blue. If you’re not sure what’s outlined in the flag code, we’ve gathered some key points below.
Union Side Up and to the Left
The flag must be displayed with the union of the flag – or the blue square with the stars – on top, and it must be on the viewer’s left (the flag’s own right). Whether it’s on a 50-foot flagpole or a small stick in your front yard, don’t get this one messed up: displaying the flag union side down is a sign of dire distress and someone needing help.
Check Your Compass
Excited about the décor options? Us too. One favorite is stringing flags to hang above the street, anchored to two houses facing each other. Just be sure that the union of the flag is pointed north on an east-to-west street, or east on a street running north to south.
Participating in a parade is plenty fun, but just because you’re the center of attention doesn’t mean rules don’t apply. Don’t wear the flag as a cape, don’t drape it on the side of your car, and don’t lay it down on your float. The flag should either be carried on a post or pole, or, if affixed to your vehicle, on a staff “fixed firmly to the chassis or clamped to the right fender.” No matter how excited you get walking down Main Street, be sure to maintain the same level of respect for the flag as you would otherwise.
In the Rain, in the Dark
Mother Nature can rain on your parade, but she can’t rain on your flag! Well, she can, but as long as your flag is made from all-weather material like nylon or polyester – and most flags are – then it can be displayed rain or shine. And if you plan to celebrate into the evening, make sure your flag is properly illuminated. Unfortunately, the occasional glow of a firework doesn’t suffice; if the sun is down, be sure to have your flag close enough to your porchlight to be seen, or install a light to shine on it. If it’s not properly illuminated, it needs to come down.
Retiring the Flag
Was your flag damaged in the move to your new home? First off, don’t tell us – part of the code of the flag is that it never be stored in a way that allows it to be easily damaged. But if you do find yourself with an unserviceable flag, don’t just throw it away. There’s a formal ceremony to adhere to, but if that sounds overwhelming, take your unserviceable flag to the local VFW or American Legion so it can be respectfully laid to rest. This is a great opportunity to teach your family about the history of the flag and why it’s displayed in a place of honor.
These simple steps will make sure the revelry of having a day off work doesn’t result in any mistreatment of the flag. From all of us at NewHomeSource, we hope you have a safe and enjoyable Independence Day!