Summer is filled with patriotic holidays, from Memorial Day to the Fourth of July, to Labor Day. With the worst days of the pandemic behind us, you might be gearing up for a fun and festive holiday spent catching up with family and friends and honoring the United States of America. But, in doing so, don’t overlook these rules regarding the American Flag and how it should be displayed respectfully. Here are 4 actions you should refrain from taking this Memorial Day and beyond.
You use American flag napkins for your picnic.
Disposable cups, plates, and napkins with an image of the American flag may seem patriotic, but according to the U.S. Flag Code, you shouldn’t buy these types of products. According to the Code, “[The flag] should not be … printed or otherwise impressed on paper napkins or boxes or anything that is designed for temporary use and discard.”
You burn a flag that’s touched the ground.
We’ve all heard that a fallen flag – as in, one that has touched the ground and is now dirtied – should be burned. But, according to the American Legion, a nonprofit organization of U.S. war veterans, there’s no need to destroy a flag that can be easily cleaned. Save your flag by gently washing it or dry-cleaning it. Check the material of the flag to determine the best course of action.
You throw away an American flag in the trash.
The American flag has no place in your garbage bin. The Flag Code clearly states that “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.” But, what if your flag is made of nylon or another synthetic material? Bury it instead. Burning these materials could be hazardous and even illegal in some areas.
You sew an American flag patch onto an article of clothing or sports uniform.
You may think that adding an American flag patch to a sports uniform or other article of clothing is a good way to show your love for our country. However, the Flag Code may convince you otherwise. The code states that “No part of the flag should ever be used as a costume or athletic uniform.” That also goes for your future Halloween costumes!
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