No Furling Around
What every gentleman should know about flag etiquette
Nestled between Memorial Day and its promise of a bright new summer and the firework-laden mania of the Fourth of July, Flag Day typically comes and goes with little fanfare. In the spirit of things all gentlemen should know, we decided we’d commemorate Old Glory with a short primer on flag etiquette from the experts at Annin Flagmakers, who have been making flags since 1847 – which means they’re almost as old as these guys…
• Falling on the anniversary of the June 14th adoption by the Continental Congress of an official banner of the republic, President Woodrow Wilson first established Flag Day in 1916.
• The flag as we know it, with 50 stars and stripes, was not adopted until July 4, 1960, following the admission of Hawaii into the union.
• We all know that the cardinal rule of flag etiquette dictates that a flag must never touch the ground. However, it is also poor form to allow your flag to sit furled around the pole for any length of time… After all, she is meant to wave.
Worthy of the Next Trivia Night
• If a flag is hung through the evening, it must be individually illuminated by a dedicated source such as a floodlight. A simple porch light, though welcoming, will not suffice.
• A flag must never be hung upside down, with the blue stars at the bottom. This is only to be used as a sign of extreme distress.
Proper Care of Ole Glory
• Clean her regularly with warm water and a mild soap. If you find your outdoor flag is beginning to fray or rip, promptly bring it to a trusted dry cleaner or seamstress to address the damage.
• If it is torn irreparably, a flag must be properly destroyed, not discarded. Your local chapter of the VFW or American Legion will happily take it.
• Flags may not be used to festoon the exterior of a house. In such instances, opt for decorative bunting along your porch or railings.
We’ve got a lot to be proud of (the invention of the telephone, the light bulb, the personal computer, mobile phone and perhaps even the ready-made suit), but sometimes dignity speaks more than patriotic bombast.
So on June 14th, let’s celebrate the flag with a measured dose of propriety, if not a star-spangled barbeque.
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