No. 174



The famous American, General Douglas MacArthur once said, "The American flag is the embodiment of our ideals and it teaches us not only how to live but how to die." The other day I got some correspondence in the mail from The Veterans Of Foreign Wars of The United States and it contained a little brochure titled, "HOW TO FLY THE AMERICAN FLAG." After reading it, I decided it was something I wanted to share with you in this column.

If you are someone who already knows the information it contains, please understand that I do not wish to insult your intelligence. After doing a little survey however, I find that most people do not know there is a right way and a wrong way to fly our nation's flag. I hope you will join me in helping to enlighten some of the citizens of this great country. Before sharing this information I want to go a step further. If you do not own a flag with a holding bracket or a flag and pole like we have, why not purchase one at your earliest convenience and display it at the appropiate times and in the proper way?

First, here are ten rules on how to properly fly the flag. No.1-The flag should be hoisted brinkly and lowered ceremoniously. No.2-The flag is never allowed to touch the ground or the floor. No.3-When hung over a sidewalk on a rope extending from a building to a pole, the union stars are always away from the building. No.4-When vertically hung over the center of the street, the flag always has the union stars to the North in an East/West street, and the to East in a North/South street. No.5-The flag of the United States Of America should be at the center and at the highest point of a group when a number of flags of states or localities or pennants of societies are grouped and displayed from staffs. No.6-The flag should never be festooned, drawn back, nor up, in folds but always allowed to fall free. No.7-The flag should be displayed at half-staff until noon on Memorial Day then raised to the top of the staff. No.8-Never fly the flag upside down except as a signal of distress in instances of extreme danger to life or property. No.9-The flag is never flown in inclement weather except when using an all-weather flag. No.10-The flag can be flown every day from sunrise to sunset and at night if illuminated properly.

The flag should be displayed on all days, especially on New Year's Day, January 1st; Lincoln's Birthday, February 12th; Washington's Birthday, 3rd Monday in February; Easter Sunday, variable; Mother's Day, 2nd Sunday in May; Armed Forces Day, 3rd Saturday in May; Memorial Day, Last Monday in May (half staff until noon), Flag Day, June 14th; Independence Day, July 4th; Labor Day, 1st Monday in September; Citizenship Day, September 17th; Columbus Day, 2nd Monday in October; Navy Day, October 27th; Veterans Day, November 11th; Thanksgiving Day, 4th Thursday in November; Christmas Day, December 25th, and such other days as may be proclaimed by the President of the United States; the birthdays of states (date of admission) and on state holidays.

And lastly, here is the Pledge Of Allegiance to our flag. When you pledge, please stand reverently, face the flag, remove your hat or cap, place your right hand over your heart and begin, "I PLEDGE ALLEGIANCE TO THE FLAG OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, AND TO THE REPUBLIC FOR WHICH IT STANDS, ONE NATION UNDER GOD, INDIVISIBLE, WITH LIBERTY AND JUSTICE FOR ALL." When it comes to patriotism and love for our country, this is something we have to teach, especially to our young people who have never fought a war to preserve our freedom. When the opportunity presents itself, why not talk with your children and grandchildren about why it is so important to respect and honor our Nation's Flag? (Jim Davidson is a motivational speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034.)