Flag Day – Myths Debunked
In honor of Flag Day, we decided to fact check and debunk some myths. The American flag is a treasured symbol of American patriotism surrounded by a lot of history, interest and very often bad intel on flag etiquette.
Below you will read 8 myths we debunked and the facts we checked based on some of the most often repeated statements about the American flag. Of course we also provided a link to change your profile picture for Flag Day on Facebook to the American flag overlay.
1) You must destroy the flag if it touches the ground! FALSE
According to the The Flag Code section 176(b), it states that the flag should not touch anything beneath it, including the ground. This does not mean that it must be destroyed if touching the ground. but it does not require the destruction of a flag when this happens. In section 176(k) it states:
“The flag, when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning.”
Therefore as long as the flag is a fitting emblem for display you don’t have to burn or destroy the flag even if it touches the ground, but it shouldn’t be touching the ground!
2) You cannot wear American flag-themed clothes! FALSE
As long as the clothing is not physically made from an American flag you can wear clothing with the flag printed on it or American Flag-themed items like hats and shirts. The American Legion answers this question clearly about wearing American flag-themed clothing.
3) You cannot fly the flag at night! FALSE
Back to the Flag Code again this time section 174, as long as the American flag is properly lighted so that you can recognize it, you can have your flag flying 24/7 365! This means a porch light, spot light, candle light or any other form of illumination just as long as the casual observer can recognize it is the American flag you can keep it flying.
4) It’s a violation to fly the American flag horizontally before a sports game! FALSE
Section 175 (h) and (i) address horizontal flag flying and they are allowed as long as the union, the blue part with the starts, is located in the top left corner. Meaning if you are looking directly at the flag the top left would be the blue with white stars. Like below:
5) A flag that covers a casket cannot be used for display anymore. FALSE
There are no rules or provisions in the Flag Code suggesting you can’t use the American flag for another display after it has been used in a funeral or draped over a casket. However, it is ceremonial and traditional to give the flag used during a funeral to the spouse, mother or father of the deceased solider.
6) All flags are supposed to be the same height no matter the country. FALSE
The American flag is always flown the highest except during church services conducted by naval chaplains at sea, when the church pennant may be flown above the flag during church services for the personnel of the Navy (Flag Code Section 175(c). The Flag Code said no other flag or pennant should be placed above or, if on the same level, to the right of the U.S. flag, except during church services conducted by naval chaplains at sea, when the church pennant may be flown above the flag during church services for the personnel of the Navy. The code also states, “No person shall display the flag of the United Nations or any other national or international flag equal, above, or in a position of superior prominence or honor to, or in place of, the flag of the United States at any place within the United States.”
7) The American flag can be used in advertising. FALSE
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 (Flag Code 176i).
8) You have to destroy the flag by burning. FALSE
The flag, when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning. (Flag Code Section 176k) Notice it say preferably by burning, but it is not required.
Did you learn something? Comment below and why not change your profile picture on Facebook to the American flag while you are at it!