Do you know proper flag etiquette?


COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — It’s time to celebrate America’s independence, but what are the guidelines to follow when it comes to showing off your American pride?

“I know that the U.S. flag is not supposed to be used for advertising purposes,” said Jody Ilette, owner of Affordable Flags and Fireworks. “It is not supposed to be cut up and used to make something else, like a pillow or clothing, or something like that. There are some issues with the design being on clothing. It’s kind of a grey line there, but some people really think it’s disrespecting the flag.”

Then comes the issue of properly disposing of a damaged flag.

“The problem becomes, if you have the U.S. flag all over your clothing, do you burn it when it wears out?,” Ilette said. “Because the U.S. flag is supposed to be properly destroyed when it becomes unusable when it’s too worn out, faded, dirty, torn.”

According to the United States Flag Code, you must treat flags with respect.

That means keep them clean, don’t hang them outside in inclement weather, repair them when damaged, and destroy them properly when it’s time.

“There’s different versions of that,” Ilette said. “Some people believe cutting out the flag, cutting out the star field, that kind of thing, renders it not an American flag anymore, then you burn it. Some people burn them whole. There’s different groups in town willing to do that if you’re unsure: The Disabled American Veterans, the VFW, American Legion, Boy Scouts.”

What about wearing the flag itself?

“You’re not supposed to drape anything with the flag,” Ilette said. “You’re not supposed to wear it like that. I know there was that controversy with the Olympics with the athletes draping it over their shoulders. It is not appropriate according to the Flag Code. Don’t let it touch the ground, don’t walk on it.”

When it comes to kids?

“They tend to start flapping it all over the place,” Ilette said. “You should teach them right away, that that’s not appropriate for the U.S. flag. If they’re going to do that, give them something else. Give them a Colorado flag.”

If you hang your flag outside, make sure it’s lit well enough, so that’s it’s recognizable in the dark.

“Treat the flag with respect,” Ilette said. “It is our country. If we disrespect our flag, we disrespect our country.”

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