Schmit Family
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7 April 2004 6:23 am

Our Flag

While it may be hard to believe, today I won't be extolling some liberal ideology when I climb up on my soapbox. Yesterday, I instructed my local Scout troop how to respect the flag of the United States of America. We usually meet in the basement of a church that doesn't have a flag pole; so, we don't have the opportunity to raise and lower the flag. Yesterday, we took advantage of the extra daylight and walked across the street to the elementary school and used their flag pole to practice. Afterward, we went back to the basement and discussed the various guidelines for hoisting, lowering, carrying, displaying, and saluting the flag. We then discussed one topic which often seems to surprise people: behaviors that are disrespectful of the flag.

The U.S. Flag Code (Title 36, Chapter 10, Section 176 of the United States Code) enumerates these behaviors:

(d) The flag should never be used as wearing apparel, bedding, or drapery. It should never be festooned, drawn back, nor up, in folds, but always allowed to fall free. Bunting of blue, white, and red, always arranged with the blue above, the white in the middle, and the red below, should be used for covering a speaker's desk, draping the front of the platform, and for decoration in general.


(i) The flag should never be used for advertising purposes in any manner whatsoever. It should not be embroidered on such articles as cushions or handkerchiefs and the like, printed or otherwise impressed on paper napkins or boxes or anything that is designed for temporary use and discard. Advertising signs should not be fastened to a staff or halyard from which the flag is flown.

(j) No part of the flag should ever be used as a costume or athletic uniform. However, a flag patch may be affixed to the uniform of military personnel, firemen, policemen, and members of patriotic organizations. The flag represents a living country and is itself considered a living thing. Therefore, the lapel flag pin being a replica, should be worn on the left lapel near the heart.

After presenting these disrespectful behaviors, one of the Scouters asked why so many companies sold clothing that bears the likeness of the flag. One of the Scouts volunteered that companies are more than willing to take advantage of our patriotism to make money. I couldn't have said it any better. Although, it's not just for-profit corporations exploiting our new-found patriotism, it is the U.S. Postal Service as well.

So, this year when Old Navy starts selling their 2004 U.S. flag shirts, just leave them on the shelf. Please do display your patriotism, but don't disrespect the flag.

Posted by geoff at 06:23 in /rants and raves