My favorite holiday, July 4th, is next week, bringing with it all of the picnics, fireworks, outdoor concerts, parades and top of the summer fun that Americans associate with the occasion. It’s a red, white, and blue long weekend of food and festivities to celebrate the birth of our country. Flags will be everywhere. That’s great on one hand, but it’s also important to remember what the flag symbolizes and treat it with respect. The Stars and Stripes are the sacred symbol of our country and represent the ongoing successful evolution of the greatest experiment in government the world has ever known. Thousands of people have died for our flag and the freedoms for which it stands.
In our exuberance to celebrate America, we often unintentionally disrespect the flag by using it in ways that diminish its meaning.
The flag is not a decoration. Instead, it should be displayed as a symbol of patriotism. If you need a holiday-appropriate decoration, use red, white, and blue bunting instead.
The flag should not be printed on disposable paper products such as paper plates, napkins, or tablecloths. “Patriotic Party Ware” kits are advertised in this week’s circulars and include everything from plastic silverware to flag beer cups. It’s hard to imagine why covering the flag with beer, bar-be-cue, and baked beans would be a fitting way to show love of country.
The flag should not be represented on swim trunks, flip flops, tee shirts, beach towels or used to cradle your behind on a flag-festooned folding umbrella-style chair while you watch the fireworks.
The flag should not be draped over the hood, top, sides, or back of a car or boat.
If you and your family don’t own an American flag, now is a great time to purchase one and display it proudly at your residence throughout the July 4th weekend. Just remember to bring it inside when you get home from the fireworks so it’s not left outdoors in the dark.
A comprehensive guide to properly displaying the American flag can be found in a pamphlet called, “Our Flag,” available from the U.S. Government Printing Office at http://bookstore.gpo.gov.
Information about flag protocol is posted on my web site http://correctoncampus.com under the Etiquette and Protocol tab.
Happy 241st Birthday, America!