For more than 200 years, American flags have served as a symbol of liberty and unity. Many people have found and still find the flag to be a great source of personal strength. This is because it represents what all Americans have tried to be since Betsy Ross stitched together the first banner for our country.
It’s worth noting that, according to the Flag Code of Conduct, the flag should be handled as if it were a living entity because it represents a live country. Many people have fought to safeguard not only our country but also the American Flag’s purity.
As such, handling and displaying the American flag should be done with caution and respect. A Flag Code of Conduct has existed since the early 1940s, and it lays forth fundamental standards for how a flag should be treated.
This article highlights how to fold a flag for display and other flag etiquettes you should know.
The American Flag Etiquette
Flag etiquette stipulates that unless your flag is properly lighted, you should only fly it between dawn and sunset. In the event of adverse weather, you should also take down Old Glory, unless it made of a non-absorbent fabrics like nylon. Only fly your Stars and Stripes flags in good condition.
Taking Down the Flag
The United States flag should be folded in a very exact manner when not on full display on a staff or flag pole. The way the flag is folded is steeped in history and custom.
It should not be crumpled up and stuffed in the corner of the garage, but rather folded neatly and locked in a location where it will not come into contact with anything that could soil it.
The triangular fold is not required for regular flag storage but is designated for exceptional flags, such as those presented in a burial or a flag used on a noteworthy occasion, which would then be stored in a particular frame, container, or flag case. A rectangular fold is advised for flags that are presented and stored at home. Here’s how to fold the american flag.
How To Fold A Flag For A Display Case
Step 1: The first step to fold the flag properly, start by holding it waist-high with another person so that the surface is parallel to the floor.
Step 2: Fold the stripe section’s lower half lengthwise over the blue field of stars, securing the bottom and top edges.
Step 3: Fold the flag lengthwise once more, this time with the blue part on the outside.
Step 4: Bring the striped corner of the flag’s folded edge to the top edge to create a triangle fold.
Step 5: To make a second triangle, turn the outer (side) point inward, adjacent to the open edge.
Step 6: Repeat the triangle folding until the full width of the flag has been folded.
Step 7: Only the blue field ought to be visible for a fully folded flag.
Step 8: Place your historical flag in a high-quality American-made flag display case to preserve its quality. Use laser engraving or a custom engraved plate to personalize your flag case. You can also add a service medallion or a laser logo to it.
American Flag In Triangle Box Meaning
The flag cases displayed were created in America to honor the country’s achievements and sacrifices. During a military funeral, a folded American flag is given to the next of kin or another family member as a keepsake.
The flag is folded into a triangle to look like the hat that George Washington and other soldiers in the Continental Army wore during the Revolutionary War.
It was customary at the time to give a military tri-corner hat to the next-of-kin of a deceased service member instead of a properly folded national flag. Since tri-corner hats are no longer a regular part of the U.S. military uniform, the “new” way to honor a fallen soldier is to properly fold a national flag into a triangle, just like the “original” way, which was a tri-corner hat.
Most flag display cases have a removable back with button closures that keep the flag in place regardless of the weather. These cases also include a sealed glass front that prominently displays the American flag.
The major flag display case rule is that there should be no red or white stripes visible, only a blue field with stars.
The United States Flag Code
The United States Flag Code contains detailed guidelines on how to properly care for and respect the flag. The following are some of them:
- The U.S flag should never be waved in front of anyone or anything. When displaying the flag in typical circumstances, it should be done such that it can fly freely.
- The flag should not be used as a drapery, to cover a speaker’s desk, to drape a platform, or for any other type of decoration. Instead, red, white, and blue-striped bunting should be used for these occasions. The bunting’s blue stripes should be presented on top.
- The U.S flag should never be used for advertising purpose to promote anything. It should not be embroidered, printed, or otherwise imprinted on items like cushions, napkins, handkerchiefs, boxes, or anything else that will be thrown away after a short period. The staff or the halyard should not have any advertising signs affixed to them.
- No mark, insignia, letter, number, word, figure, or drawing of any sort should be placed on or connected to the flag.
- Never use the flag as a container for receiving, conveying, holding, or delivering anything.
Other Aspects of the Flag
How to Treat the Flag in Parades
The American flag is traditionally carried to the right or in the center of the procession, ahead of all other marchers. As the parade passes, everyone in the audience is expected to stand at attention in front of the American flag.
A military salute is generally given to the flag by someone in uniform. Men who wear non-religious headdresses are required to take them off with their right hand and place them over their left shoulder, with their left hand over their hearts.
Non-military people should also salute the flag by placing their right hand over their hearts. Those who are not citizens of the United States can show their respect for the flag by standing at attention or participating in the appropriate salute.
How To Store An American Flag
Many people believe that once a flag lands on the ground, it is no longer appropriate for display and should be discarded. This is incorrect, according to the Flag Code of Conduct. If a flag touches the ground, it should be hoisted immediately so that it does not come into contact with anything below.
If the flag becomes filthy, it should be cleaned by hand using a mild soap. In the past, flags that were too torn or worn to fly were burned in a ceremony to show that they were no longer useful.
However, modern flags are made with long-lasting materials like nylon or other petroleum-based materials, which can be dangerous to burn since they discharge harmful fumes into the atmosphere.
While it is true that faded or tattered flags should be burned respectfully, it is no longer suggested that the flag be burned. Instead, anyone who needs to get rid of a worn flag should contact their local VFW chapter, Boy or Girl Scout troop, or American Legion Post, which all hold flag burning ceremonies on Flag Day.
Guidelines on How to Store Flags
When you’re ready to put your American flag away, make sure to do the following:
- Keep the flag in a dark, cool location. Fabrics can fade and deteriorate when exposed to bright light, such as sunshine. Humidity and rooms with a wide range of temperatures can also harm your flag.
- Avoid putting your flag in basements, garages, or attics because the risk of fabric damage is high.
- Never use pesticides in areas where your flag is stored since they contain chemicals that can be harmful to flag fabrics.
- When your flag is in regular use, only fold it the official way because storing it that way will result in permanent creases.
Why is the American flag completely flat?
When your flag isn’t being shown too often, store it entirely flat. You could also roll up the flag and store it in an acid-free storage unit. To avoid damage, avoid using wood or cardboard containers.
When storing your flag, use acid free material, acid free paper, acid free tissue paper, or a clean, unbleached cotton cloth.
Can the flag be used for a costume or athletic uniform?
The flag should not be worn as part of a costume or athletic outfit, except for military personnel, police officers, firefighters, and members of patriotic organizations, who may wear a flag patch on their uniform.
While these flag “rules” are not a legal requirement that must be followed, they are still a valuable source of information that any responsible American should be aware of and follow whenever possible when handling the flag.