On June 14, 1923, or Flag Day, a federal code was put in place that would serve as a guideline for how to handle the American flag. There are several sections in the code about proper national anthem conduct, how to display the flag, and yes, even how to respect the flag.
The code does state that everyone should stand at attention facing the flag during the national anthem, but standing or kneeling isn’t actually covered in the respect portion of the code.
Here are some things that Americans do on a daily basis, however, that are disrespectful:
American Flag Clothing
“The flag should never be used as wearing apparel, bedding, or drapery. It should never be festooned, drawn back, nor up, in folds, but always allowed to fall free.”
That means every American flag swimsuit, button-up shirt, and even those famous Old Navy flag shirts, are disrespectful.
The Flag Shouldn’t Be Carried Flat
“The flag should never be carried flat or horizontally, but always aloft and free.”
Most people know the flag should never touch the ground, but few know that it has to be displayed vertically. Maybe it’s a nod to the lyric that had the flag “gallantly streaming” in the air. Whatever the case, an unfurled flag that sits flat is a disrespect to the flag code.
Drawing On The Flag
“The flag should never have placed upon it, nor on any part of it, nor attached to it any mark, insignia, letter, word, figure, design, picture, or drawing of any nature.”
This one seems pretty self-explanatory. Most people understand that drawing on the symbol of the country will probably be seen as disrespectful. But freedom of expression is a constitutionally protected right, so artists are still free to make that choice
Disposable Flag Products
“It should not be embroidered on such articles as cushions or handkerchiefs and the like, printed or otherwise impressed on paper napkins or boxes or anything that is designed for temporary use and discard.”
Sorry to put a damper on probably every Fourth Of July cookout ever, but the paper plate supporting that juicy burger better not have a flag on it.