Independence Day, July 4th, is coming up. Many of us put up American flags on this occasion. We might have learned about “flag etiquette” in elementary school, but, like many other things we learned back in the day, those rules are probably a little hazy. Flying the flag is a solemn duty, and it never hurts to review how to do it properly.
- The flag should be flown between sunrise and sunset. However, it can be flown at all hours if it’s illuminated. (I’m personally guilty of leaving my flag out overnight, but it really should be taken down when it gets dark.)
- Don’t fly the flag in rainy, stormy, or windy weather – basically, any weather conditions that could damage your flag. We’re unlikely to encounter this problem on the 4th of July in Irvine, but if you’re spending the 4th with your relatives in another state, you might have rain or hail.
- The flag should never touch the ground or anything else beneath it. (Trim those bushes!)
- Don’t place anything on the flag such as signs, letters, etc.
- Don’t use the flag to hold anything.
- The flag itself should never be worn as clothing. There’s a difference between flag-themed clothing and the actual flag. The ALI thrift shop always has a big selection of flag-themed T-shirts and party goods for the 4th, but those aren’t real American flags.
- When your flag is worn out, you should dispose of it in a dignified way. The traditional method is to burn the flag, but this isn’t practical today. Irvine’s Northwood Community Park, at 4531 Bryan (Bryan & Yale), has a red flag retirement box where you can dispose of your used flag. The box is located next to the door into the community center building, that faces the playground.
ALI wishes all of you a happy, safe, and patriotic 4th of July!