Collins' Comments
by Kelly Collins

I have noticed more flags being displayed these days. Some of them are not being displayed properly. I think it is wonderful that people are showing their patriotism by flying the flag.

There are urban legends that need to be dealt with such as, it is okay to display the flag 24 hours a day. The regulations say when a patriotic theme is desired the flag may be displayed 24 hours a day but should be properly lit. That means a light specifically for the flag and not incidental light from a street lamp.

Normally the flag is raised at sunup or after; and is brought down at sundown. There is a list of places that the flag flies all the time. If on a pole it is to be raised briskly to the peak at sunrise and lowered slowly at sunset.

Folding it after it is lowered is important as well. It takes two people. It is to be held flat with the star field in the left hand. Bring the right hand under and fold it in half. Fold it in quarters again with the star field in the left hand and folding it under. The person on the opposite end then does triangular folds until it is folded to the star field and the excess is tucked into the fold.

Those that are witnessing the raising or lowering of the flag are to stand facing the flag with their right hand over their heart. If you are wearing a hat or cap of any kind remove the hat. Only military personnel leave their hats on as they salute the flag as it is being raised and lowered. You do not salute bare headed.

Only the President and Governors can order a flag to be flown at half-staff. If such an order is given the flag is raised slowly to the peak of the pole then lowered to half-staff.

To display the flag on a vehicle it must be clamped to the right front fender of the vehicle. The radio antenna is not suitable. It should be removed at sunset.

The flag must never touch the ground. If it has touched the ground and gotten dirty a mild soap solution should be used to clean that area.

If you have a flag that is tattered, dirty or needs to be replaced, the old flag must be disposed of, preferably by burning. I was told that most local VFW groups will be happy to assist you in proper disposal of a flag.

You may display a flag that has fewer than 50 stars. Historic flags are acceptable.

Another urban myth is that Texas is allowed to fly its state flag at the same height as the American flag. This is untrue. All state flags will be at a lessor height than the American Flag. Only other nation's flags when displayed with the American flag can be the same height. The only time another country's flag is flown with lessor height is at a formal surrender.

The flag is flown upside down only as a signal. It means I am in trouble and need help.

When reciting the pledge of allegiance one stands facing the flag with their right hand over their heart. Hats are removed and held in the right hand with the hat at the left shoulder so the hand can be over the heart.

The American flag deserves our respect. It is the symbol of us all. Display it with pride and do it properly. To do otherwise is showing disrespect for all the people that have fought and died for this country. It disrespects us all.

There is a list longer than what I have given here that details the regulations for the displaying of the flag. It is on the Betsy Ross home page. http://www.ushistory.org/betsy/flagetiq.html .

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