When I was a little girl in elementary school, we pledged to the flag every single day. My classmates and I would stand next to our desks as the voice over the intercom brought us to attention and told us to rise for the Pledge of Allegiance. Obediently, we placed our hands over our hearts and recited The Pledge.
When Fridays rolled around, weather permitting, the whole student body would line up in the schoolyard to watch the raising of Old Glory. Two boys, usually scouts, would be in charge of the ceremony. Once the flag was carefully raised up the flagpole, faculty and students would recite the Pledge of Allegiance and sing one of my favorite patriotic songs.
Let freedom ring!
As a child, I gave no thought to such inculcation. Then in the 1970’s, I saw a skit on Saturday Night Live. The skit portrayed the American Flag speaking in God-like fashion much the same as God does in movies when handing down the Ten Commandments to Moses. The skit was hilarious and also food for thought. As satire is meant to do, it made me ponder the absurdity of pledging allegiance to a flag.
As Americans celebrate Flag Day I see big flags, little flags, new flags and old flags. Some are tattered, some are flying in the rain, and most have stayed up all night.
It seems some of our most jingoistic flag flyer’s don’t know the rules for flying a flag, or don‘t care to follow them.
Just some observations for Flag Day.
When to fly the flag
- The flag of the United States should be flown every day weather permits but especially on New Year’s Day, Inauguration Day, Lincoln’s Birthday, Washington’s Birthday, Armed Forces Day, Easter Sunday, Mother’s Day, Memorial Day (half-staff until noon, full-staff to sunset), Flag Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Citizenship Day, Columbus Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas day; the birthday of states, states holidays.
Hoisting and Lowering the Flag
- Joy is indicated by flying the flag at full staff. Hoist it briskly in the morning, but not earlier than sunrise. Lower it slowly in the evening, but not later than sunset.
- Mourning is indicated by flying the flag at half-staff. Hoist it to the peak first, then lower it to half-staff. When ready to take down, you raise it to the peak, then lower it.
- It takes two people to hoist or lower the flag correctly. In hoisting, hold the flag to prevent it from touching the ground. The other person attaches the flag to the line, preferably with snap fasteners. Raise the flag quickly, keeping it close to the pole by holding the line rather taut. Lower the flag slowly, then catch the flag, unfasten it, and fold it.
Taking care of the Flag
- The flag should be cleaned when soiled, mended when torn, and destroyed when beyond repair by privately burning .
- The flag never touches the ground, the floor, or water under it.