Honoring the Flag

As we prepare for our Independence Day celebrations, it is a great time to review the flag of the United States of America and how to display it. 

The American flag is a symbol of liberty and freedom for all Americans. The flag has had 27 different versions since it was first adopted in 1777. The current 50-star flag was adopted July 4, 1960.

The blue field of the flag stands for the union of all states; the 50 white stars upon the blue field represent the 50 states. The 13 red and white alternating stripes-7 red stripes, 6 white stripes- represent the 13 original colonies.

The colors of the American flag have meaning, too.

  • Red: valor and bravery
  • White: purity and innocence
  • Blue: vigilance, perseverance, and justice

The American flag can be flown every day, especially on national and state holidays. If the flag is flown at night it should be properly illuminated. When displaying the flag from a flagpole, the union (blue field) should be at the peak of the pole. If displaying the flag vertically or horizontally on a wall or other flat surface, the union (blue field) should be to the observer’s left in the top left corner. The flag should not touch anything below it including the ground.

When an American flag is worn out or otherwise no longer fit for display, it should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning. Several national organizations hold flag ceremonies for retired flags throughout the year: American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Girl Scouts and Scouts BSA. You can call the local chapter of any of these organizations to find out when and where to take your worn out flag.

Tidelines Editors 

(Image credits: Old Farmer’s Almanac and USA.Gov)