Flag Education

 


 

 

On June 14, 1777, the Marine Committee of the Continental Congress adopted a resolution that gave birth to our national flag. The resolution read:

"Resolved that the flag of the United States be made of 13 stripes, alternate red and white, that the union be 13 stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation."

Flags and flag education are important elements of the VFW's Citizenship Education program. In fact, flags are the most commonly requested items from the VFW's Emblem and Supply Department, which sells more than 250,000 flags each year.
 

The VFW publishes a flag booklet, "Ten Short Flag Stories," which you can request by sending a self-addressed stamped envelope to the Citizenship Education Department, Veterans of Foreign Wars, 406 West 34th Street, Kansas City, Missouri, 64111. Quantities can be purchased through VFW Emblem and Supply.


 

Meaning of Flag Folding Program

The flag folding ceremony represents the same religious principles on which our great country was originally founded.

The portion of the flag denoting honor is the canton of blue containing the stars representing states our veterans served in uniform. The canton field of blue dresses from left to right and is inverted only when draped as a pall on the casket of a veteran who has served our country honorably in uniform.

In the Armed Forces of the United States, at the ceremony of retreat, the flag is lowered, folded in a triangle fold and kept under watch throughout the night as a tribute to our nation’s honored dead. The next morning it is brought out and, at the ceremony of reveille, run aloft as a symbol of our belief in the resurrection of the body.

Symbols for the folds of the Flag

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The first fold of our flag is a symbol of life

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The second fold is a symbol of our belief in the eternal life

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The third fold is made in honor and remembrance of the veteran departing our ranks and who gave a portion of life for the defense of our country to attain peace throughout the world.

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The fourth fold represents our weaker nature; for as American citizens trusting in God, it is to Him we turn in times of peace as well as in times of war for His divine guidance

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The fifth fold is a tribute to our country, for in the words of Stephen Decatur, “Our country, in dealing with other countries, may she always be right, but it is still our country, right or wrong.”

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The sixth fold is for where our hearts lie. It is with our heart that we pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

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The seventh fold is a tribute to our Armed Forces, for it is through the Armed Forces that we protect our country and our flag against all enemies, whether they be found within or without the boundaries of our republic.

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The eighth fold is a tribute to the one who entered into the valley of the shadow of death, that we might see the light of day, and to honor our mother, for whom it flies on Mother’s Day.

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The ninth fold is a tribute to womanhood, for it has been through their faith, love, loyalty and devotion that the character of the men and women who have made this country great have been molded.

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The tenth fold is a tribute to father, for he, too, has given his sons and daughters for the defense of our country since he or she was first born.

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The eleventh fold, in the eyes of Hebrew citizens, represents the lower portion of the seal of King David and King Solomon and glorifies, in their eyes, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

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The twelfth fold, in the eyes of a Christian citizen, represents an emblem of eternity and glorifies, in their eyes, God the Father, the Son and Holy Ghost.

 

When the flag is completely folded, the stars are uppermost, reminding us of our national motto, “In God We Trust.”
 
After the flag is completely folded and tucked in, it takes on the appearance of a cocked hat, ever reminding us of the soldiers who served under General George Washington and the sailors and marines who served under Captain John Paul Jones who were followed by their comrades and shipmates in the Armed Forces of the United States, preserving for us the rights, privileges, and freedoms we enjoy today


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.

folding flag

(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.)

folding flag

(c) A triangular fold is then started by bringing the striped corner of the folded edge to the open edge.

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(d) The outer point is then turned inward parallel with the open edge to form a second triangle.

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(e) The diagonal or triangular folding is continued toward the blue union until the end is reached, with only the blue showing and the form being that of a cocked (three corner) hat.

folding flag

DISPLAYING THE FLAG

When the flag is displayed over the middle of the street, it should be suspended vertically with the union to the north in an east and west street or to the east in a north and south street.

The flag of the United States of America, when it is displayed with another flag against a wall from crossed staffs, should be on the right, the flag's own right [that means the viewer's left], and its staff should be in front of the staff of the other flag

When flying the flag at half-staff, the flag should be raised to the top of the staff for an instant, then lowered to the mid-way point of the staff (half-staff). It should be raised to the top of the staff again before lowering the flag at the end of the day. The flag is flown at half-staff from sunrise until noon on memorial day. It is then flown at full staff for the remainder of the day.

In the event of the death of principal figures of the United States Government and the governor of the state, territory or possession, the president may order the flag to be flown at half-staff as respect for their memory. In the event of the death of other officials or foreign dignitaries, the flag is displayed at half-staff in accordance with the presidents instructions or orders or in accordance with recognize customs or practices, not inconsistent with law.

The governor of a state, territory or possession of the United States may proclaim threat the national flag be flown at half-staff in the event of the death of a present or former official of that state, territory or possession.

When flags of States, cities, or localities, or pennants of societies are flown on the same halyard with the flag of the United States, the latter should always be at the peak. When the flags are flown from adjacent staffs, the flag of the United States should be hoisted first and lowered last. No such flag or pennant may be placed above the flag of the United States or to the right of the flag of the United States. When the flag is half-masted, both flags are half-masted, with the US flag at the mid-point and the other flag below

When the flag is suspended over a sidewalk from a rope extending from a house to a pole at the edge of the sidewalk, the flag should be hoisted out, union first, from the building.

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When the flag of the United States is displayed from a staff projecting horizontally or at an angle from the window sill, balcony, or front of a building, the union of the flag should be placed at the peak of the staff unless the flag is at half-staff

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When the flag is used to cover a casket, it should be so placed that the union is at the head and over the left shoulder. The flag should not be lowered into the grave or allowed to touch the ground.

When the flag is displayed in a manner other than by being flown from a staff, it should be displayed flat, whether indoors or out. When displayed either horizontally or vertically against a wall, the union should be uppermost and to the flag's own right, that is, to the observer's left. When displayed in a window it should be displayed in the same way, that is with the union or blue field to the left of the observer in the street. When festoons, rosettes or drapings are desired, bunting of blue, white and red should be used, but never the flag.

That the flag, when carried in a procession with another flag, or flags, should be either on the marching right; that is, the flag's own right, or, if there is a line of other flags, in front of the center of that line.

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 or localities or pennants of societies are grouped and displayed from staffs.

When flags of two or more nations are displayed, they are to be flown from separate staffs of the same height. The flags should be of approximately equal size. International usage forbids the display of the flag of one nation above that of another nation in time of peace.

When displayed from a staff in a church or public auditorium on or off a podium, the flag of the United States of America should hold the position of superior prominence, in advance of the audience, and in the position of honor at the clergyman's or speaker's right as he faces the audience. Any other flag so displayed should be placed on the left of the clergyman or speaker (to the right of the audience).

TIME AND OCCASIONS FOR DISPLAYING THE FLAG

It is the universal custom to display the flag only from sunrise to sunset on buildings and on stationary flag staffs in the open. However, when a patriotic effect is desired, the flag may be displayed twenty-four hours a day if properly illuminated during the hours of darkness.

The flag should be hoisted briskly and lowered ceremoniously.

The flag should not be displayed on days when the weather is inclement, except when an all weather flag is displayed.

The flag should be displayed on all days, especially on
New Year's Day - January 1
Inauguration Day - January 20
Martin Luther King Jr's Birthday - third Monday in January
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) - last Monday in May
Flag Day - June 14
Independence Day - July 4
Labor Day - first Monday - September 1 - 7
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
Birthdays of States (date of admission)
State holidays

The flag should be displayed daily on or near the main administration building of every public institution.

The flag should be displayed in or near every polling place on election days.

The flag should be displayed during school days in or near every schoolhouse

HALF STAFF DAYS
When flown at half-staff, the flag should be hoisted to the peak, then lowered to half-staff;
but before lowering the flag for the day it should again be raised to the peak.

On Memorial Day ( Last Monday In May ) the flag should be displayed at half-staff until noon only, then raised to the top of the staff. 

 On the following days, the flag should be flown at half-staff for the entire day:

National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day ( Dec. 7th. )

Peace Officers Memorial Day ( May 15th.)

Patriot Day ( Sept.11th )

POW-MIA FLAG DAYS
The law requires all U.S. government buildings to display the POW/MIA Flag on six specific days each year.

Armed Forces Day

Memorial Day

Flag Day

Independence Day

National POW/MIA Day
(third Fri. in Sept.)

Veterans

IMPORTANT DON'TS
 

It is generally not desirable to fly the flag outdoors when the weather is particularly inclement because exposure to severe winds and rain may damage the flag or the pole on which it is displayed.

Never in any way should disrespect be shown the U.S. flag. The U.S. flag should never be dipped to any person or thing. Regimental colors, State flags, and organization or institutional flags are dipped as a mark of honor.

The U.S. flag should never be displayed with the union down except as a signal of distress in instances of extreme danger to life or property.

The U.S. flag should never touch anything beneath it--ground, floor, water or merchandise

The U.S. flag should never be carried horizontally, but it should always be aloft and free.

Always allow the U.S. flag to fall free--never use the U.S. flag as wearing apparel, bedding or drapery, festooned, decoration in general, use blue, white, and red bunting. Always arrange the bunting with blue above, the white in the middle, and the red below.

The U.S. flag should never be fastened, displayed, used or stored in a manner which will permit it to be easily torn, soiled or damaged in any way.

Never use the U.S. flag as a covering or drape for a ceiling.

Never place anything on the U.S. flag . The U.S. flag should never have placed upon it, or on any part of it, or attached to it, any mark, insignia, letter, word, figure, design, picture or drawing of any nature.

Never use the U.S. flag for receiving, holding, carrying or delivering anything. The U.S. flag should not be embroidered on such articles as cushions, handkerchiefs and the like, printed or otherwise impressed on paper napkins or boxes or anything that is designed for temporary use or discard. Advertising signs should never be fastened to a staff or halyard from which the flag is flown.