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Have you ever wondered? Facts for Flag Day

By #NAME? | | June 7, 2005

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Editor Note: Article is published in honor of Flag Day, June 14.Red, white and blue make a striking color combination, but have your ever wondered if there us any special meaning associated with these colors or with the five pointed white stars on our “star spangled banner?”On June 14, 1777, Congress adopted a resolution calling for a flag with 13 stripes, alternating red and white, and with a blue canton or “union”, with thirteen white star. The resolution defined the significance of the colors: “White signifies purity and innocence; red, hardiness and valor; blue, vigilance, perseverance and justice.”The thirteen stripes and thirteen stars represented the original thirteen colonies. The five pointed stars used as a symbol in flag design was relatively rare until it was incorporated into the American flag. It has since been used in many state flags and in foreign flags, including Puerto Rico, Uruguay, and the once sovereign nations of the Republic of Texas and the Kingdom of Hawaii. Based on the American usage, the star has come to be associated in flag design with unity, independence, or to represent the constituent parts of a nation.Until 1818, an additional star and stripe was added as each new state was admitted to the Union. By 1816 it had become evident that the practice was not practical, and on April 4, 1816, a new scheme was made official. The Flag of the United States would have 13 stripes, alternating red and white, and a blue canton on which a white star would be added for each state. Each star would be added to the flag on the July 4 following the admission of the new state to the Union.Although the scheme of the flag was official, the law was vague about the exact layout of the flag. This, throughout the nineteenth century, a variety of star arrangements was in existence. The flag was very popular, and since it created a sense of unity among the states, the variations in its appearance were deemed unimportant.In 1912, however, the government specified official patters, proportions and colors, giving us the flag we know today.Displaying the flag correctlyIt is the universal custom to display the national flag from sunrise to sunset on buildings and on stationary flagstaffs in the open on all days that weather permits, but especially on national and state holidays and other days that may be proclaimed by the president of the United States. On Memorial Day, the U.S. flag should be half-staffed until noon.The U.S. flag may be displayed 24 hours a day if properly illuminated during hours of darkness. The U.S. flag should be displayed daily on or near the building of every public institution, during school days in or near every schoolhouse, and in or near polling places on election days. Always hoist the U.S. flag briskly. Lower it ceremoniously.The U.S. flag always leads in a procession. The U.S. flag, when carried in a procession with other flags, should be either on the marching right (the flag’s own right) or, if there is a line of other flags, in front of the center of that line. Never display the U.S. flag from a float except from a staff, or so suspended that its folds fall free as through staffed.Saluting a flag: When the national flag is raised or lowered as part of a ceremony, or when it passes by in a parade or review, all persons, except those in uniform, should face the flag and stand at attention with the right hand over the heart. When not in uniform, a man should remove his hat with his right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being on the heart. Those in uniform should give the military salute. The flag should be saluted at the moment it passes in a parade or in review. Citizens of other countries stand at attention, but need not salute.When displayed from a staff in a church or public auditorium, the flag of the U.S. should be in the position of honor at the clergyman’s or speaker’s right as he faces the audience (the left of the audience). Any other flag so displayed is to be placed at the speaker’s left as he faces the audience (the right of the audience).If displayed flat against a wall on a speaker’s platform, the U.S. flag should be placed above and behind.The U.S. flag, when displayed with another flag against a wall from crossed staffs, should be on the U.S. flag’s own right, and its staff should be in the front of the staff of the other flag.When displayed outdoors with other flags, the position of honor for the U.S. flag is the U.S. flag’s own right which is normally the extreme left position as the flag are more frequently reviewed.When the U.S flag is displayed on a pole projecting from a building, the union of the flag should be place at the peak of the staff unless the flag is at half staff. When suspended from a rope extending from the building on a pole, the flag should be hoisted out union first from the building. When flags of two or more nations are displayed: in this circumstance, all the flags including the U.S. flag, are to be flown from separate staffs of the same height. The flags should be of approximately equal size. International usage forbids the display of the flag of one nation above that of another nation in time of peace.When other flags are flown from the same halyard: the U.S. flag should always be at the peak. When other flags are flown from adjacent staffs, the U.S. flag should be hoisted first and lowered last. No flag may fly above or to the right of the U.S. flag.When flown at half staff: the U.S. flag should be hoisted to the peak for a moment and then lowered to the half staff position. The flag should be again raised to the peak before it is lowered for the day.The U.S. flag should form a distinctive feature at the ceremony of unveiling a statue or monument, but should never be used at the covering for the statue or monument.When the U.S. flag is used to cover a casket, it should be placed so that the union is at the head and over the left shoulder. The flag should not be lowered into the grave or allowed to touch the ground.
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