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Our Flag
The Flag Code
Pledge Allegiance
History of the Pledge
Disposal
How to fold
When to fly The Flag
Flag Etiquette
 long page
The Flag Code

The Flag Code
Title 4, United States Code, Chapter 1

As Adopted by the National Flag Conference, Washington, D.C., June 14-15, 1923, and Revised and Endorsed by the Second National Flag Conference, Washington, D.C., May 15, 1924. Revised and adopted at P.L. 623, 77th Congress, Second Session, June 22, 1942; as Amended by P.L. 829, 77th Congress, Second Session, December 22, 1942; P.L. 107 83rd Congress, 1st Session, July 9, 1953; P.L. 396, 83rd Congress, Second Session, June 14, 1954; P.L. 363, 90th Congress, Second Session, June 28, 1968; P.L. 344, 94th Congress, Second Session, July 7, 1976; P.L. 322, 103rd Congress, Second Session, September 13, 1994; P.L. 225, 105th Congress, Second Session, August 12, 1998; and P.L. 80, 106th Congress, First Session, October 25, 1999.
 
 

Pledge Allegiance

"I pledge allegiance"
(I promise to be true)

"to the flag"
(to the symbol of our country)

"of the United States of America"
(each state that has joined to make our country)

"and to the Republic"
(a republic is a country where the people choose others to make laws for them
-- the government is for the people)

"for which it stands,"
(the flag means the country)

"one Nation"
(a single country)

"under God,"
(the people believe in a supreme being)

"indivisible,"
(the country cannot be split into parts)

"with liberty and justice"
(with freedom and fairness)

"for all."
(for each person in the country...you and me!)

The pledge says you are promising to be true to the United States of America!
History of the Pledge

The original Pledge of Allegiance was written by Francis Bellamy. It was first given wide publicity through the official program of the National Public Schools Celebration of Columbus Day which was printed in The Youth's Companion of September 8, 1892, and at the same time sent out in leaflet form to schools throughout the country. School children first recited the Pledge of Allegiance this way:

"I pledge allegiance to my Flag and to the Republic for which it stands one Nation indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all."

"The flag of the United States" replaced the words "my Flag" in 1923 because some foreign-born people might have in mind the flag of the country of their birth instead of the United States flag. A year later, "of America" was added after "United States."

No form of the Pledge received official recognition by Congress until June 22, 1942, when the Pledge was formally included in the U.S. Flag Code. The official name of The Pledge of Allegiance was adopted in 1945. The last change in language came on Flag Day 1954, when Congress passed a law, which added the words "under God" after "one nation."

Originally, the pledge was said with the right hand in the so-called "Bellamy Salute," with the right hand resting first outward from the chest, then the arm extending out from the body. Once Hitler came to power in Europe, some Americans were concerned that this position of the arm and hand resembled the Nazi or Fascist salute. In 1942 Congress also established the current practice of rendering the pledge with the right hand over the heart.

The Flag Code specifies that any future changes to the pledge would have to be with the consent of the President.
 

Disposal

History of the Ceremony for the Disposal of Unserviceable Flags
The Ceremony for Disposal of Unserviceable Flags was approved through Resolution No.440, by the National Convention of The American Legion meeting in New York, New York, September 20-23, 1937, and has been an integral part of American Legion ritual since that date. The resolution reads as follows:

WHEREAS, Americanism has been and should continue to be one of the major programs of The American Legion; and

WHEREAS, The observance of proper respect for the Flag of our country and the education of our citizenry in the proper courtesies to be paid the Flag is an essential element of such Americanism program; and

WHEREAS, It is fitting and proper that Flags which have been used for the decoration of graves on Memorial Day be collected after such service, inspected, and worn and unserviceable Flags be condemned and properly destroyed; and

WHEREAS, The approved method of disposing of unserviceable Flags has long been that they be destroyed by burning, but no ritual for such destruction or ceremony in connection therewith has been adopted by The American Legion or included in its official manual of Ceremonies; therefore be it

RESOLVED, By The American Legion in National Convention assembled in New York City, September 20-23, 1937, that the ritual submitted herewith be adopted for use by The American Legion and that it be made the official ceremony for the destruction of unserviceable American Flags and to be included as such in the Manual of Ceremonies, Revised, of The American Legion.
 

How to fold

 



 
Procedures for Folding the Flag
There are no Flag Code provisions which require any method, however, the following is traditional:

(a) Straighten out the flag to full length and fold lengthwise once.

(b) Fold it lengthwise a second time to meet the open edge, making sure that the union of stars on the blue field remains outward in full view. (A large flag may have to be folded lengthwise a third time.)

(c) A triangular fold is then started by bringing the striped corner of the folded edge to the open edge
 
When to fly The Flag

The flag can be displayed on all days, but in particular it should be flown on:
• New Year's Day, January 1
• Inauguration Day, January 20
• Lincoln's Birthday, February 12
• Washington's Birthday, third Monday in February
• Easter Sunday (variable)
• Mother's Day, second Sunday in May
• Armed Forces Day, third Saturday in May
• Memorial Day (half-staff until noon), the last Monday in May
• Flag Day, June 14
• Independence Day, July 4
• Labor Day, first Monday in September
• Constitution Day, September 17
• Columbus Day, second Monday in October
• Navy Day, October 27
• Veterans Day, November 11
• Thanksgiving Day, fourth Thursday in November
• Christmas Day, December 25
• Other days as may be proclaimed by the President of the United States
• The birthdays of States (date of admission)
• State holidays

On Memorial Day, the flag should be hung at half-staff until noon, then it should be raised to the top of the staff.
 
Flag Etiquette
Patriot Day

Patriot Day has been added. to the Flag Holidays listed in section 174 of the US Flag Code. On December 18, 2001, President Bush signed Public Law No: 107-89, designating September 11th as Patriot Day. State and local governments and the people of the United States are asked to observe Patriot Day with appropriate programs and activities to honor the individuals who lost their lives as a result of the terrorist attacks on that date in 2001.
The day has also been designated as a day that the US flag should be flown at half-staff from sunrise to sundown, not just until noon as is done on Memorial Day. In addition the people of the United States are asked to observe a moment of silence on Patriot Day in remembrance of the victims.
Many people have asked if Government offices, schools, banks, etc. will be closed on that day. We don’t have that information at this time but as decisions are made we will keep you informed.

Patriot Day should not be confused with Patriot’s Day, a regional holiday celebrated in New England on the third Monday in April which commemorates Paul Revere’s ride and the battle of Lexington & Concord during the Revolutionary War. The Boston Marathon is run on Patriot’s Day every year. For a copy of the Public Law, visit the National Flag Foundation at www.americanflags.org.

Flag Etiquette

The National Flag represents the living country and is considered to be a living thing emblematic of the respect and pride we have for our nation. Display it proudly.

STANDARDS OF RESPECT
T
he Flag Code, which formalizes and unifies the traditional ways in which we give respect to the flag, also contains specific instructions on how the flag is not to be used. They are:

  • 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 the 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. Advertising signs should not be attached to the staff or halyard.
  • 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.

When a flag is so worn it is no longer fit to serve as a symbol of our country, it should be destroyed by burning in a dignified manner.

Note: Most American Legion Posts regularly conduct a dignified flag burning ceremony, often on Flag Day, June 14th. Contact your local American Legion Hall and inquire about the availability of this service.

DISPLAYING THE FLAG OUTDOORS

When the flag is displayed from a staff projecting from a window, balcony, or a building, the union 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 Scout unit - the flag of the United States must always be at the top except that the church pennant may be flown above the flag during church services for Navy personnel when conducted by a Naval chaplain on a ship at sea.

When the flag is displayed over a street, it should be hung vertically, with the union to the north or east. If the flag is suspended over a sidewalk, the flag's union should be farthest from the building.

When flown with flags of states, communities, or societies on separate flag poles which are of the same height and in a straight line, the flag of the United States is always placed in the position of honor - to its own right. The other flags may be smaller but none may be larger. No other flag ever should be placed above it. The flag of the United States is always the first flag raised and the last to be lowered.

When flown with the national banner of other countries, each flag must be displayed from a separate pole of the same height. Each flag should be the same size. They should be raised and lowered simultaneously. The flag of one nation may not be displayed above that of another nation.

RAISING AND LOWERING THE FLAG

The flag should be raised briskly and lowered slowly and ceremoniously. Ordinarily it should be displayed only between sunrise and sunset. It should be illuminated if displayed at night. The flag of the United States of America is saluted as it is hoisted and lowered. The salute is held until the flag is unsnapped from the halyard or through the last note of music, whichever is the longest.

DISPLAYING THE FLAG INDOORS

When on display, the flag is accorded the place of honor, always positioned to its own right. Place it to the right of the speaker or staging area or sanctuary. Other flags should be to the left.

The flag of the United States of America should be at the center and at the highest point of the group when a number of flags of states, localities, or societies are grouped for display.

When one flag is used with the flag of the United States of America and the staffs are crossed, the flag of the United States is placed on its own right with its staff in front of the other flag.

When displaying the flag against a wall, vertically or horizontally, the flag's union (stars) should be at the top, to the flag's own right, and to the observer's left.

PARADING AND SALUTING THE FLAG

When carried in a procession, the flag should be to the right of the marchers. When other flags are carried, the flag of the United States may be centered in front of the others or carried to their right. When the flag passes in a procession, or when it is hoisted or lowered, all should face the flag and salute.

THE SALUTE

To salute, all persons come to attention. Those in uniform give the appropriate formal salute. Citizens not in uniform salute by placing their right hand over the heart and men with head cover should remove it and hold it to left shoulder, hand over the heart. Members of organizations in formation salute upon command of the person in charge.

THE PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE AND NATIONAL ANTHEM

The pledge of allegiance should be rendered by standing at attention, facing the flag, and saluting. When the national anthem is played or sung, citizens should stand at attention and salute at the first note and hold the salute through the last note. The salute is directed to the flag, if displayed, otherwise to the music.

THE FLAG IN MOURNING

To place the flag at half staff, hoist it to the peak for an instant and lower it to a position half way between the top and bottom of the staff. The flag is to be raised again to the peak for a moment before it is lowered. On Memorial Day, the flag is displayed at half staff until noon and at full staff from noon to sunset.

The flag is to be flown at half staff in mourning for designated, principal government leaders and upon presidential or gubernatorial order.

When used to cover a casket, the flag should be placed with the union at the head and over the left shoulder. It should not be lowered into the grave.
 

 

 

 

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