July 2023 - It’s a Grand Old Flag – Treat It Well
Certain holidays, like the upcoming Fourth of July, tend to bring out our patriotism. One way of expressing that patriotism is by displaying the American flag.
Sometimes referred to as Old Glory, the Stars and Stripes, or the Star-Spangled Banner, the American flag has stood as a symbol of our country since 1777. The original design featured 13stripes – 7 red and 6 white in an alternating pattern – and 13 white stars on a blue background representing the original 13 colonies. Now, of course, the number of stars has increased to represent all 50 states. The colors in our flag have meaning, too; red for valor and hardiness, white for innocence and purity, and blue for justice, perseverance and vigilance.
Before flying a flag this July 4th or anytime, familiarize yourself with the rules for doing so.
- When you have more than one flag on a staff, the American flag should be at the top above all others. If displaying a group of flags on separate staffs, place the American flag to the right.
- Fly the flag only from sunrise to sunset; alternatively, make sure the flag is properly illuminated during the dark hours.
- Raise briskly, lower ceremoniously.
- Never let the American flag touch the ground.
- Don’t fly the flag in inclement weather unless it’s an all-weather flag.
- Never fly the flag upside down except in extreme emergencies.
- Don’t tie or fasten the flag back; let it fall free.
- Don’t wear the flag as clothing or use as decoration (choose patriotic bunting instead).
- Never toss old flags in the trash.
Typically, worn, tattered flags are disposed of by burning and then burying the ashes. Organizations like the VFW, American Legion and the Boy Scouts often collect retired flags for disposal at their flag ceremonies. For your convenience, the Hunterdon County Library has receptacles for retired flags at both its Flemington and Clinton locations.
Wishing you a happy July 4th celebration and a safe summer season!