As holidays go, Flag Day is often overlooked. It falls about halfway between Memorial Day and July Fourth, and no one gets the day off.
On June 14, 1777, the Continental Congress passed the Flag Act, making the stars and stripes the official flag of the United States. Two centuries later, Congress established Flag Day as a national holiday to memorialize Americas most prominent symbol.
The flag represents all of us, said Frank Stancil, adjutant of North Carolinas chapter of the American Legion. We encourage people to display the flag not just on Flag Day, but year round.
Four years after its founding in 1919, the American Legion hosted the First National Flag Conference and established itself as the authority on the flag and its handling, said Mike Buss, the national deputy director for the organization. The conference and a second one a year later established the ground rules for flag etiquette, better known as the Flag Code.
The code is a series of guidelines, not law. But here are some of its dos and donts:
• Its OK to fly an old flag with fewer than 50 stars, because, according to American Legion, the American flag never loses its relevancy.
• Dont use the flag in advertising. According to the Flag Code, using the flag for advertising purposes is considered mutilation.
• The appropriate time to display the flag is during the day. To display the flag at night, it must be illuminated with artificial light.
• Flags cannot be draped over motor vehicles. Instead, they must be affixed on a staff firmly attached to the vehicles right side.
• When several flags are on a single staff, the American flag must always be at the top. When there are several staffs holding different flags, the American flag must always be raised first and lowered last.
• If a flag of another nation is being flown with an American flag, both flags must be on separate staffs and flown at equal heights.
• When flown at half-staff, the flag must first be raised to its highest point briefly, and then lowered to the middle of the staff.
• When a flag is placed across a casket, the area containing the stars, known as the union, must be located at the head and over the left shoulder of the body inside the casket.